Community Foundation Atlas Project – Share Your Work with a Worldwide Audience

What does meaningful change look like for your community foundation? Participate in the Community Foundation Atlas project and add your voice to a growing picture of the global importance of community philanthropy. The Community Foundation Atlas, an invaluable new website to be unveiled this fall, will provide the most detailed picture presented to date of the importance of community philanthropy the world over.

As part of its contribution to the 100th anniversary of the community foundation movement in 2014, the Cleveland Foundation (the world’s first community trust) is collaborating with the Foundation Center, the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) and the C. S. Mott Foundation to gather and publish on a single online platform comprehensive information about the locations, resources, roles and achievements of community foundations everywhere. Preliminary analysis of responses to the Atlas project’s online survey has revealed a rich and diverse landscape of community change that is being driven by community foundations and community foundation-like organizations in almost every region of the world.

Over the last century—and at an accelerating pace in recent decades as citizen activism has flourished—community philanthropies have taken root on every continent except Antarctica. There is still time for your community foundation to share highlights of your work with a worldwide audience of peers and interested government officials, policy makers, journalists, potential philanthropic partners and citizen leaders.

Join the Community Foundation Atlas project and add your voice to this growing picture of global leadership! If you haven’t already participated in the survey, please do so at The survey, which takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Some early findings:
● Half of the respondents are relatively new, having been established in the last 25 years.
● Twenty-eight have no paid staff members while eight have more than 50.
● Ten percent reported assets of more than $130 million.
● Forty percent have endowments of $1.5 million or less.
● Respondents span the grantmaking spectrum: Ten percent reported total grantmaking of less than $2,600 in their last fiscal year, while ten percent exceeded $11 million.

Another indicator of the movement’s vigor: More than three-fourths of the respondents say their organization’s financial condition is improving. These placed-based philanthropies have something else important in common. More than 95 per cent of them see their main accountability being to local people. From fostering economic development in depressed or rural areas to fighting for human rights, the respondents’ collaborations with local partners to address their communities’ urgent needs are wide-ranging. Yet there are similarities of interest as well. Nearly half (49 percent) of the foundations surveyed say they are deeply engaged in the field of education. One fourth of them report extensive involvement in health, and almost a fifth strongly support arts and culture.

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION ATLAS Share Your Work with a Worldwide Audience The Atlas survey also provides an opportunity for respondents to describe in their own words the “most meaningful change” their organization has brought about. Here is a selection of responses: From Kenya Our community development foundation is a unique organization. In a landscape where many not-for profits look to external donors for their sustenance, we look within Kenya and ensure it has its own investments to finance its activities. In a context where most donors and grant makers impose their agendas on communities, we support communities to be drivers of their own development agenda.

From South Africa We have worked tirelessly and consciously for the past 11 years to bring about an awareness and consciousness of the value of community assets as the starting point for funding support and an appreciation that the poor have assets and value and that there is a need to unlock those resources and to place communities at the centre of all our interventions. We are now seeing the fruits of our work in that this approach is taking root in national government pro-poor programmes. From Ghana In November 2005, we instituted an Education Day for all junior high schools in Akuapem. The Day concentrated on looking for solutions to the problems affecting the delivery of quality education such that for many years many basic schools scored 0% pass at the Basic Education Certificate Examination.

In 2011, on our seventh Education Day, there was an evaluation of what had been done so far. Outcome was the realisation of the remarkable improvement in the pass level in Akuapem schools, currently well above the national average. This year’s Education Day, the ninth, was about the health needs of our mothers. Their wellness is basic to the well-being of the children we hope will be our future leaders. From Tanzania Supported municipality cleaning women groups who started with brooms and now have wheelbarrows and uniforms. Supported floods victims in Kilosa area with food and health care to the tune of U.S.$20,000. Provided grants for rehabilitation of municipal mortuary buildings and to hospital units for 400 bed sheets, 200 blankets and 20 wall fans. Provided seed funds to a group of youth involved in waste collection and recycling, enabling them to purchase tools to produce organic fertilizers from wastes. From Palestine We are working to raise the local (community-level) standard of knowledge and understanding of human rights as “rights”—not privileges—and to demand them constructively. From Turkey We are the only community foundation in Turkey and one of the few grantmakers as well. We have supported local civil society organizations in our city as they built capacity in a way that other organizations couldn’t by providing grants and networking support. In the rural areas, we created awareness of organic agriculture, conscious use of fertilizers and soil analysis. Our work revivied the long-forgotten industry of apple production, benefiting both the farmers and the entire economic sector.

In addition to sharing illustrative stories of community service and change, the Atlas will feature a detailed profile of each community foundation that participates in the survey. Furthermore, the collective survey responses will be professionally analyzed and interpreted by Barry Knight, director of CENTRIS (the United Kingdom-based Center for Research and Innovation in Social Policy and Practice), allowing the Atlas to present compelling evidence of the many ways in which community foundations worldwide are making a critical difference to their societies. Thank you so much for joining this effort to document for the first time the worldwide impact of the community foundation movement.

Cleveland Foundation : Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the larg¬est today, with assets of $2 billion and 2013 grants of $87 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit

Foundation Center Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy world¬wide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the re¬sources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, in¬creasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. For more infor¬mation, please visit

Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) WINGS is a global network of grantmaker associations and philanthropic support organizations formed in 1999. WINGS strengthens, promotes and provides leadership on the development of philanthropy and social investment around the world. WINGS gives voice to the many cultures of giving and provides its members and other participants with information, knowledge, and peer exchange. Its vision is to create a strong, global philanthropic community that strives to build more equitable and just societies around the world. For more information, please visit

Global Fund for Community Foundations The Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) is a grassroots grantmaker working to promote and support institutions of community philanthropy around the world. GFCF works with individual community foundations and other local grantmakers and their networks around the world, with a particular focus on the global south and the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Through small grants, technical support and networking, GFCF helps these local institutions to strengthen and grow so that they can fulfill their potential as vehicles for local development and as part of the infrastructure for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and citizen participation. For more information, please visit

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation The Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four pro¬grams: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with 2012 year-end as¬sets of $2.28 billion, made 439 grants totaling $91 million. For more information, visit


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