What is a Community Foundation?

Community foundations are independent philanthropic organizations working in specific geographic areas which, over time, build permanent collections of endowed funds contributed by many donors. With nearly 700 community foundations nationwide holding roughly $35 billion in assets, these foundations are one of the fastest growing sectors of philanthropy in the U.S. today.

Community foundations offer donors a myriad of important services and benefits to ensure that philanthropy is as successful as possible. We routinely work with families, individuals, businesses, attorneys, accountants, and estate and financial planners to design gift plans that fit every economic situation, ensuring that donors receive the most benefit from their charitable contributions and that their philanthropic dollars are used wisely.

In addition to awarding grants that benefit the area, the community foundation empowers donors by creating customized funds that are aligned with the values of each donor. Donors also get the resources and expertise of a professional staff, and the exceptional service that could only come from a community foundation.

Community foundations accept gifts of various sizes and types from private citizens, corporations, government agencies, and other foundations. Whether it is a monetary contribution, real estate, stock, or artwork ├▒ you can make a significant impact by working with a community foundation. Gifts are also made from bequests and by living donors through various types of funds and deferred giving vehicles.

Gifts are invested for growth and income, and a set amount is designated for grants which will strengthen the community. Once a gift has been made, the donor may choose to stay actively involved with the grant-making process, or simply leave that function to the foundation.

All community foundations share the common goal of serving donors, nonprofit organizations, and the broader region. In addition, one of a community foundation's special functions is to evaluate and help coordinate the needs and services in its communities, so that charitable gifts are used effectively to fulfill a community's most critical needs.

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