Community foundations serve a vital role as an enabler of good works. They encourage individuals, organizations and companies to fund community activities in areas where donors live and work. They also can disburse funding to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and around the world.
Donors to the East Bay Community Foundation benefit from the Foundation’s unique expertise in the programs and organizations serving their community. The Foundation issues grants to support activities which will have the most positive effect on the lives of the residents of that community while also serving the interests of each donor. Finally, community foundations bring community leaders and others together to address social and regional challenges.
The Council on Foundations in Washington D.C., a professional association of the nation’s foundations, has outlined these six characteristics that define a community foundation:
- A flexible, yet permanent collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors.
- The relative independence to determine the best use of those funds to meet the community needs.
- A governing board of volunteers, knowledgeable of their community and recognized for their personal involvement in civic affairs.
- A commitment to provide leadership on pervasive community problems.
- A commitment to assist donors to identify and attain their philanthropic goals.
- Adherence to a sense of “community” that overrides individual interests and objectives.