What is a Community Foundation?

The Council on Foundations, the national professional association serving grant making foundations, defines a community foundation as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, non-sectarian philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds established by many separate donors for the broad-based charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area, typically no larger than a state.

Like all community foundations, Greater Toledo Community Foundation:  

  • has an independent governing body broadly representative of our community
  • informs and educates individuals, families, businesses and nonprofit organizations about community issues and grant making opportunities
  • actively involves individuals, families and businesses in identifying and responding to community issues and opportunities
  • keeps all information obtained with respect to donors, funds and prospects for new fund creation confidential to the fullest extent possible
  • honors the charitable intentions of its donors consistent with community needs and applicable laws and regulations
  • is a steward of charitable funds, investing and prudently managing funds and maintaining accurate financial records, and is accountable to our community and regularly disseminates information on its programs and finances
  • ensures that its financial resources are used solely in furtherance of our mission

Greater Toledo Community Foundation’s adherence to these national standards is your assurance that as your local community foundation, we are, and will remain, accountable to donors and the community.

Community Foundations and Philanthropy
When most people think of charities, they envision a group of people interested in making a difference in a particular aspect of people’s lives. One charity may dedicate itself to curing disease or helping the sick, while another might focus on protecting the environment. One group might work with children to help them improve their education, and still another could try to solve the problems that the elderly face. It’s easy to categorize different charitable organizations by the mission that they seek to accomplish.

However, any given community, no matter how large or small, has many different needs that various charities can address. To foster the sense of community in charitable giving, charities known as community foundations have come into being. As the nonprofit equivalent of locally based businesses, community foundations can give donors the flexibility to pinpoint their philanthropic efforts on whatever needs their community may have over time.

Click here to learn more about how community foundations work and the advantages of community foundations.