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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.

Jenny Hodgson: Can community philanthropy drive sustainable development projects?

Jenny HodgsonEarly 2015 is a good time for the international aid community and its civil society partners to think creatively about the role community philanthropy can play in future sustainable development projects worldwide, says Jenny Hodgson (pictured), executive director of South Africa-based Global Fund for Community Foundations.

Read her recent blog on the topic.

Learn more about GFCF's work through a case study featured on Mott's Community Foundations website.


Community Foundations: “A place where hope can bloom”

Community Foundations Microsite

The Tuzla Community Foundation, based in Bosnia-Herzegovina, supports activities that encourage residents to work together for common goals.


Photo courtesy of the Tuzla Community Foundation

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation joined more than 700 community foundations — operating in urban, suburban and rural areas in every state in the nation — in celebrating Community Foundation Week November 12-18.

For more than 35 years, Mott has provided funding to help develop and strengthen community foundations and their support organizations at home and around the globe. “Community foundations are an ideal place for diverse interests and different voices to come together, a place where hope can bloom,” said Mott Foundation Chairman, President and CEO William S. White.

To commemorate the community foundation’s 100th anniversary in 2014, Mott recently launched a website that allows visitors to explore key lessons, case studies, interactive maps, and other multimedia features highlighting what the Foundation has learned by working in the field.


Mott annual report celebrated centennial of community foundations worldwide

Mott Foundation 2012 Annual Report — Community Foundations: Rooted Locally. Growing Globally.The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s 2012 annual report, Community Foundations: Rooted Locally. Growing Globally., celebrated 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 began 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 more than 1,750 today, with these local philanthropic institutions existing on every continent except Antarctica and in more than 50 countries.

Click to learn more.


Featured Multimedia

The formal community foundation concept celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, but for centuries people around the world have pooled their resources to help neighbors in need. This short video shows the vibrancy of local giving — then and now.
Mott Program Officer Nick Deychakiwsky discusses in a short video how community foundations bring important partners to the table to help improve and enhance people’s lives and their local communities.



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.


Additional Resources

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