About community foundations

Community foundations ensure charitable giving makes a lasting impact on local causes that the donor cares about most. They create a powerful community spirit by bringing together all types of people to tackle important social issues in their area.

They manage funds donated by individuals and organisations, build endowments, and match donors’ giving criteria to local needs, enabling them to achieve their full philanthropic potential. Each community foundation is unique and develops information on local priorities – including community development, children and young people and disability.

Community foundations use their expertise to ensure that money invested in local organisations makes the lasting difference donors want and expect, by providing meaningful feedback and evaluation. Importantly, they are independent and cause-neutral, providing expert advice and thorough local knowledge.

Although a concept established in the United States in 1914, community foundations now span over 50 countries.

Community foundations in the UK

There are 46 community foundations across the UK; the umbrella body is UK Community Foundations. The total endowment held is around £500 million (September 2016) with £70 million awarded in grants combined a year.

In addition to County Durham Community Foundation, there are other community foundations across the region. 


Community foundations internationally

WINGS-CF is made up of organisations that develop and support community foundations around the world.