Community Foundations

Community foundations are charitable organisations dedicated to improving communities in specific geographic areas. They do this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create endowment funds and using the investment income to make grants. Community foundations also provide leadership — monitoring their area's quality of life and convening people, ideas, and resources to help build stronger and more resilient communities.

History of Community Foundations

To ensure the long-term success of his community, banker and lawyer Frederick Goff founded the first community foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, in 1914.

His vision was to pool the charitable resources of Cleveland's philanthropists, living and dead, into a single, great, and permanent endowment for the betterment of the city. Community leaders would then forever distribute the interest that the Foundation's resources would accrue to fund "such charitable purposes as will best make for the mental, moral, and physical improvement of the inhabitants of Cleveland."

The Winnipeg Foundation was Canada's first community foundation, established in 1921. Today, there are more hundreds of community foundations around the world.