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International Giving by U.S. Community Foundations: Local Communities with Global Reach

This report, a joint effort by the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center, examines the current state and recent trends in international giving and engagement by large U.S. community foundations. The first-ever analysis of this type suggests that many community foundations are beginning to adopt a broader, more nuanced definition of “community” than they have in the past.





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National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

The Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, an accreditation program created by community foundations for community foundations. They are peer-driven, voluntary, and self-regulatory.  





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Community Foundations and Advocacy

As public charities, community foundations can participate in and support lobbying. Unlike private foundations that are generally restricted from lobbying, community foundations can themselves participate in and fund a limited amount of lobbying. Learn how community foundations may engage in and support advocacy and lobbying.





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Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

The philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more





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Stories and Lessons from 35 Years of Supporting the Community Foundation Field

The goal of this microsite is to share what the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has learned in more than 35 years of supporting the field, offer key insights, and highlight our legacy of partnering with community foundations in a way that advances the vital work they do to strengthen their communities. The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation in the U.S. This milestone brings with it both increased attention to the field of community philanthropy and the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of these institutions to the communities they serve.  





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What’s Next for Community Philanthropy?

This essay serves as the centerpiece of the What’s Next for Community Philanthropy initiative. We have produced a suite of short essays, tools, exercises, and provocations aimed at helping community foundations and other community philanthropy organizations begin to challenge old assumptions, understand the full menu of options that are available to them, and generate new thinking so that they can make smart, forward-looking choices about their strategies and approaches for the future.







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Center for Community Foundation Excellence Series

These courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field in short order. You’ll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field, to help you work more effectively.







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Community Leadership Stories

Leadership in Action Stories provide insight into how community foundations are approaching their community leadership work and putting the community leadership building blocks into practice. These stories illustrate the pathways and elements contained in the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation. Want to go more deeply behind the scenes at a community foundation as it builds its capacity to build a thriving community? Check out a community leadership case study.





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CFLeads Executive Leadership Institute

The Executive Leadership Institute is a year-long learning opportunity focusing exclusively on community leadership for community foundation CEOs and community foundation Vice Presidents (VPs). As local needs grow, community foundations are stepping up and using their many assets to work with residents and partners across sectors to tackle tough issues. They are taking on a community leadership role. ELI reflects a growing recognition in the field that the practice of community leadership requires specific skills and strategies.







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Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing

Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations welcome you to the “Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing: Reflections from the Field and Resources for Moving Forward.” You will discover all the resources and connections that it has to offer community foundations interested in learning about, designing, and activating an impact investing program.  





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Investigating the Roles of Community Foundations in the Establishment and Sustainability of Local College Access Networks in Michigan

This article uses the collective-impact model as a framework to examine the role of community foundations in the creation and establishment of local college access networks across the state of Michigan. The findings illustrate that community foundations have played a variety of roles, from fundraising to convening to cheerleading. The challenge for most communities is how to develop a plan for sustainability while allowing others to provide leadership for these evolving organizations for social change.





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Promoting Community Leadership Among Community Foundations: The Role of the Social Capital Benchmark Survey

This article examines the Social Capital Benchmark Survey organized by Robert Putnam and Lew Feldstein and funded by 34 community foundations. Six years later, 12 of the community foundations participated in the National Social Capital Learning Circle and reported that the survey results supported their community leadership work.