Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities. Community foundations vary widely in asset size, ranging from less than $100,000 to more than $1.7 billion. Community foundations play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. In 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in fields that included the arts and education, health and human services, the environment, and disaster relief.

Quick Data

  • 734 community foundations in the US
  • Total Giving $ 4.3B
  • Total Assets $55.5B
  • Gifts Received $ 4.7B
  • Community foundation giving represented about one-tenth of total foundation giving
  • Compared to independent and corporate foundations, larger community foundations are more likely to provide funding for arts and culture, education, and religion.
  • Community foundation giving primarily benefits the economically disadvantaged and children and youth—consistent with independent and corporate foundations.

Value Add

A community foundation is a vehicle for people of all means to make a lasting difference in their community. The central purpose of a community foundation is to serve the needs and philanthropic aims of donors who wish to better their community, now and in the future. Community foundations do this by providing donors with flexible, efficient, and tax-effective ways to ensure their charitable giving achieves the greatest possible impact.

Gifts to a community foundation benefit the the community forever – philanthropy in its broadest sense. In addition to the value of expertise in investing, tax deductions, and legacy planning, community foundations are staffed with experts in your local community, ready to share knowledge on specific and current critical issues and needs impacting your region. Because community foundations represent a wide variety of ideas and interests of individual donors who have united in a common purpose, the end result is the bettering of the community both now, and in the future.

Triangle Community Foundation

In addition to the hundreds of funds created at the Foundation for the overall benefit and legacy of the Triangle, and causes dear to our donor’s hearts,  we focus our discretionary dollars (13% of our grantmaking), on direct funding, research, and convenings in these four areas: the arts, community development, the environment and youth literacy. Our donors believe in the power of community giving, and make this work ultimately possible.

Still not sure exactly what it is we do? Watch this short video about our work.

Source: Council on FoundationsFoundation Center Report, 2012, Community Foundation Partnership


Robin Barefoot

General Counsel
Phone 919.474.8370 ext:4013
Email [email protected]