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Community Foundations


Community foundations are non-profit organizations that use local resources to meet local needs. For more than three decades, the Mott Foundation has supported developing and strengthening community foundations as local leaders of positive change. Today, Mott supports the field domestically and abroad. This work is funded through the Foundation’s Civil Society program.


Mott's new annual report celebrates centennial of community foundations worldwide

Mott Foundation 2012 Annual Report — Community Foundations: Rooted Locally. Growing Globally.The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s new annual report, Community Foundations: Rooted Locally. Growing Globally., celebrates the 100th anniversary of the community foundation movement — an American contribution to local philanthropy — as well as the Foundation’s long-standing commitment to the growth and vitality of the field.

The publication was timed for release as the field begins a year-long commemoration in 2014 of the phenomenal spread of the concept. From a single community foundation begun in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914, the field has mushroomed to 1,750 today, with these local philanthropic institutions existing on every continent except Antarctica and in more than 50 countries.

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Featured Multimedia

The Cluj Community Foundation is one of a dozen such organizations located throughout Romania. It is recognized as a local leader that engages residents to raise funds that support a variety of community causes that improve lives and Cluj society overall. The video is in English with Romanian subtitles.

Berks County Community Foundation, like many throughout the world, plays a key community leadership role in helping improve the area's economy, education, health and other important issues.


Association for Community Relations, Romania: Cultivating the charitable impulse countrywide

Association for Community Relations, Romania: Cultivating the charitable impulse countrywide [PDF]The many years needed by Romania to transition from decades of communism to a modern-day democracy have helped influence the country’s more long-term approach to philanthropy work.

“We have learned to celebrate incremental changes in attitudes and behavior about giving instead of expecting one dramatic transformation,” said Alina Porumb, the community foundation’s program director at the Association for Community Relations (ACR) in Cluj-Napoca, a northern Romanian city.

“In the last years, however, the rhythm of change in Romanian philanthropy has picked up, and what was only hope five years ago is now reality.”

With Mott’s help, there are now 12 community foundations nationwide. These grantmaking institutions are spreading because they incorporate an inclusive style of decisionmaking that involves residents in all aspects of community projects — vastly different from how things were done under the former communist system, Porumb says.

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Publications for the Field

The Case for Community Philanthropy: How the Practice Builds Local Assets, Capacity, and Trust—and Why It MattersThe Value of Community Philanthropy: Results of a ConsultationThe Balancing Act: The Roles of a Community FoundationSowing the Seeds of Local Philanthropy: Two Decades in the Field of Community Foundations


Mott showcases community foundations

Community foundations seriesThe Mott Foundation created a multi-part series examining the field’s growth and development. The series reports on what is occurring and how the field is expanding globally. It also highlights the work of grantees in Mott's key funding regions.


Community Foundations Global Timeline


Additional Resources

  Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland   Association of Slovak Community Foundations   CFLeads   Community Foundations of Canada   Comunalia   Council on Foundations Community Foundations Leadership Team
  Czech Association of Community Foundations   Global Fund for Community Foundations   Ibero-American Network of Community Foundations   Russian Community Foundation Partnership   UK Community Foundations   WINGS' Community Foundation Global Status Report 2010