About Community Foundations

What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a public grantmaking charity that raises funds from a variety of sources, with the aim of building an endowment as a permanent resource for a local community.

In the Global Status Report 2008, WINGS articulated that the principal characteristics of a community foundation were:

  • to seek to improve the quality of life for all people in a defined geographic area;
  • to be independent from control or influence by other organizations, governments or donors;
  • to be governed by a board of citizens broadly reflective of the communities they serve;
  • to make grants to other nonprofit groups to address a wide variety of emerging and changing needs in the community;
  • to seek to build a permanent resource for the community, most often through the creation of endowed funds from a wide range of donors, including local citizens, corporations, governments, and other foundations and nonprofits;
  • to provide services to donors to help them achieve their philanthropic goals;
  • to engage in a broad range of community leadership and partnership activities, serving as catalysts, convenors, collaborators and facilitators to solve problems and develop solutions to important community issues;
  • to have open and transparent policies and practices concerning all aspects of their operations; and
  • to be accountable to the community by informing the general public about their purposes, activities, and financial status on a regular basis.

Not all of these characteristics are necessarily present at the same time for all community foundations.

Saffa Women's Committee

Association of Slovak Community Foundations

Bratislava Community Foundation supports neighbouring Hungarian citizens to start a Community Foundation by offering learning and site visits.

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The best predictor of new community foundations in a country in the years between 2008 and 2010 is the number of support organisations in that country in 2003.

Community Foundation of Euro-region Labe

This community foundation in the Czech Republic ran a project whose goal was to provide professional skills and knowledge development to NGOs in the pioneering stage in small communities. A capacity-building seminar series, tailored individual development plans, and individual consultative and advisory services were offered.

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