What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a publicly supported, philanthropic institution composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate and diverse donors who wish to focus their long-term philanthropy on a particular geographic area. Typically, a community foundation serves an area no larger than a state (i.e. Delaware) or no smaller than a county. Donor funds can also support philanthropy outside the geographic area.

The first community foundation was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Within five years, community foundations formed in places like Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Rhode Island and Buffalo.  In the years that followed, other local community foundations were established, and hundreds of thousands of individuals across the United States joined with their local community foundations to create permanent charitable funds to meet the needs of their communities.

Today there are more than 650 community foundations serving urban and rural communities throughout the United States. Collectively, Community Foundations hold approximately $31 billion in combined assets and make local grants of approximately $2.6 billion annually.

Community foundations provide an array of services to donors who wish to establish endowed funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting an independent foundation.

The Delaware County Community Foundation (DCCF) encourages and develops sustainable philanthropy for a broad range of community needs. DCCF adheres to national standards as defined by the Council on Foundations, thereby assuring donors that their investments and charitable giving are safe, well managed, and reflective of their charitable interests. Special benefit to area organizations or groups wishing to engage in community- focused philanthropy, but not having a 501(c)(3):

Why use a community foundation?

  • DCCF is a non profit 501)c)(3) organization so donors will receive all tax benefits allowable by law.
  • It’s Easy and Efficient: You can manage your philanthropy quickly from one account and focus on the causes you care about.
  • You have the Freedom to Choose: You decide which causes and organizations to support and how the dollars in your fund are invested.
  • We Provide information You Can Use: Every day our research department is assessing community needs and the effectiveness of non-profit organizations.
  • We Offer Professional Advice and Personal Attention: Strategies and resources targeted toward your unique philanthropic journey are available.
  • We’re Local: Because we’re involved in the issues facing our community, and are committed to its future, we are a resource you can trust.
  • The use of the Foundation’s 501(c)(3) status when a group becomes part of the foundation saves the incorporation fees.
  • Contains the benefits of audited financial processes/reports, investment management, planned giving programs, gift processing, acknowledgement, and database services.
  • Fees will vary depending upon administration services required.

“The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.” ~ Henry Ford

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