What is a Community Foundation?

Community Foundations are embedded in the communities they serve.

With deep local knowledge and networks, they are ideally placed to partner with people seeking to support positive social change in local communities, especially in rural and regional areas, to build social equity in Australia and ensure the success of community development initiatives.

Local empowerment, community ownership and leadership, and a focus on place are central to the work of Community Foundations.

There are 40 independent, community-owned Community Foundations in Australia. Find one near you.

Key Statistics for Australian Community Foundations

$ 0 m
Granted in the 2018/19 financial year
Local Government Areas with access to a Community Foundation
$ 0 m
Aggregate funds under management
Independent, community-owned Foundations in Australia
0 %
Asset growth from 2014 to 2019
0 m
Australians served by Community Foundations


How do Community Foundations work?

This video is part of a series developed by the former Office for the Community Sector in the Victorian Government Department for Health and Human Services in collaboration with Community Foundations.

ACP acknowledges the Department’s support and kind permission for sharing this video.

(Credit: State of Victoria)


Community Foundations around the World

Australian Community Philanthropy is part of an international network of Community
Foundation support organisations. We thank our colleagues everywhere for generously
sharing knowledge and resources.

Community Foundations of Canada is building a movement that connects 191 community foundations with partners and Canadians in the pursuit of a bright, just and sustainable future.

UK Community Foundations works to promote the vital work of the 46 accredited Community Foundations around the UK with government and other national stakeholders.

European Community Foundation Initiative (ECFI) is a collaborative initiative committed to strengthening and promoting the community foundation movement in Europe.

Community Foundations of New Zealand is the national body supporting and uniting Community Foundations across Aotearoa New Zealand to enable every New Zealander to affect lasting change wherever their home or heart may be.

International Perspectives


Community Foundations of Canada

United States

The Council on Foundations has several arms that support Community Foundations:

Center for Community Foundation Excellence
The annual Fall Conference for Community Foundations

Community foundations and community funds are a great way for everybody to participate in philanthropy and give back to their local community.

If you’re thinking of starting:

  1. Research what foundations or other philanthropic vehicles already exist in your community and consider whether you want to create your own or contribute to one of them.
  2. Think about what vehicle might suit you best – an independent community foundation, opening a sub-fund with a larger community foundation or trustee company, establishing a Donation Account with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)
  3. Talk to other community leaders and organisations in your community who might want to join your efforts and be part of a foundation or fund. Get in touch with your city council, and perhaps local corporate leaders to see if they would like to collaborate with you.
  4. Investigate the intricacies of the Australian Not-for-Profits taxation system, and make sure you understand what kind of entities you need to set up in order to achieve your objectives. This can be complicated, so seek help from other established community foundations, and from specialised legal eagles.
  5. Contact with Australian Community Philanthropy. While you will need professional advice to establish a community foundation, we can assist you with preliminary questions and help you to tap into the right advisors.

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