About Community Foundations

A community foundation is a tax-exempt, charitable nonprofit organization established to serve a specific geographic region. Community foundations build funds that support community needs, with a focus on creating endowment funds for the long-term benefit of local charitable projects and programs.

Community foundations are trusted and valuable resources for individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations and professional advisors. Community foundations work to build local philanthropy and are a vehicle for people of all means to make a lasting difference in their community.

These three roles guide the work of community foundations:

  1. WORKING WITH DONORS A community foundation grows assets through contributions from donors. A variety of fund types allow donors to make contributions to the causes they care about most. These funds are invested by the community foundation and, over time, grow to produce greater philanthropic good.
  2. PROVIDING GRANTS Community foundation funds annually distribute grants to support nonprofit and charitable causes in the community. These grants support a broad range of community needs such as arts and culture, health, human services, the environment, education and community development.
  3. SERVING AS COMMUNITY LEADERS Community foundations engage in community leadership work to help address some of their region’s most pressing issues. This often involves working with other leaders from the business, education and government sectors to align efforts and leverage resources.

Iowa is fortunate to have at least one community foundation in each of our 99 counties. We encourage you to learn more by contacting your local community foundation.