What Is a Community Foundation?

Endowment builder, community connector, grantmaker

Community foundations are grant-making public charities 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 play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. More than 750 community foundations operate in urban and rural areas in every state in the United States. Illinois Prairie Community Foundation is a member of the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, comprised of 32 community foundations within the State of Illinois, each representing a distinct geographical area.

The Community Foundations National Standards Board confirms operational excellence in six key areas Рmission, structure and governance, resource development, stewardship and accountability, grantmaking and community leadership, donor relations, and communications. Foundations that comply with these standards can display the official National Standards Seal. Illinois Prairie Community Foundation is proud to display this seal.

A community foundation plays a key role in addressing community needs and opportunities – now and in the future. At Illinois Prairie Community Foundation we:

  • Provide tools and resources which help individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations achieve their charitable and financial goals.
  • Help donors create charitable funds to support the issues and groups they care about most.
  • Provide an attractive alternative to starting a private foundation by handling all record keeping, reporting to the IRS, accounting and investment management. (Foundation Comparison)
  • Conduct grantmaking due diligence.
  • Build endowments to ensure that funds will always be available to support our community. (Power of Endowments)
  • Allow donors to benefit from the highest available tax deductions for charitable contributions.
  • Accept a variety of assets and facilitate complicated giving strategies.
  • Foster greater giving and volunteering in our community.
  • Are governed by leaders with strong ties to the community. (Board of Directors)
  • Provide grants to nonprofit organizations for programs that address important community needs. (Grants Program)
  • Serve as a community catalyst, convening diverse voices and groups to work on solutions to local issues.
  • Provide fiscal sponsorship of new nonprofits that seek to address unmet needs in the community while they pursue achieving nonprofit recognition from the IRS
  • Ensure that future generations learn the value of giving back to their community. (Youth Engaged in Philanthropy) (Emerging Philanthropists)
  • Pool the assets of individual funds, thus providing economies of scale to work with top investment managers.

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