What is a Community Foundation?

Inspiring local and lasting change. Together.

Just as you wouldn’t want a town without a library, you wouldn’t want Park City without a thriving community foundation. These tax-exempt, public grantmaking charities are dedicated to improving the lives of people in their local regions. Their true brilliance and success lies in their ability to leverage the giving of many to make the greatest possible impact.

Created by and for the people in a geographic region, community foundations enable anyone with philanthropic interests to support the needs of their community. By bringing together the resources of individuals, families and businesses, community foundations create a permanent source of community capital that can benefit a local region forever. Whether it’s lending a helping hand when times are tough or bolstering resources to make good times better for everyone, grants from a community foundation’s permanent endowment can be awarded to deserving nonprofits through ongoing competitive grant processes.

Community foundations play a vital role in solving a community’s most challenging problems. By constantly identifying gaps and issues within their geographic areas, they have a keen understanding of their regions’ most pressing needs. To address these issues and fund solutions, they bring together local nonprofits, caring donors and community leaders to contribute both financial resources and innovative ideas that effect lasting change.

In addition to building permanent philanthropic endowments for their regions, community foundations enable donors to establish their own charitable funds and contribute a variety of assets to them, so they can support the specific issues and organizations they care about. And because community foundations are intimately knowledgeable about the nonprofit activities of a region, they’re able to advise donors on the specific organizations that are doing the most meaningful, high-impact work. At the same time, they’re continuously serving as advisors to the full range of local nonprofits, so that every organization can be strengthened for the greater good of the community.

By building donor and nonprofit relationships, community foundations can dramatically increase philanthropic impact for their geographic areas. They have a long tradition of helping bring about thoughtful, effective change, with the first one being founded in Cleveland in 1914. Today, there are more than 700 community foundations throughout the United States.