What is a Community Foundation?

Connecting philanthropy with community needs

The first community foundation was created in 1914 in Cleveland to encourage generosity and build permanent charitable assets for that geographic area. Today more than 750 community foundations connect people from all walks of life with causes and nonprofits in specific geographic regions. The Hampton Roads Community Foundation has been doing that in southeastern Virginia since 1950 when we formed as the Commonwealth of Virginia's first community foundation

What is a community foundation?

Over the decades charitable people have partnered with community foundations to start permanent, named funds to do good works forever. Please visit our history to get a sense of how our community foundation has helped support nonprofits, send students to college, convene community leaders around key issues and incubate new initiatives.

Because a community foundation is a nonprofit with permanent endowment assets, it is one of the few institutions you can count on to be here forever and to keep pace with changing community needs.

The Council on Foundations names six key characteristics of a community foundation:

  1. A flexible, yet permanent collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors.
  2. Relative independence to determine the best use of those funds to meet community needs.
  3. A governing board of volunteers, knowledgeable of their community and recognized for their personal involvement in civic affairs.
  4. A commitment to provide leadership on pervasive community problems.
  5. A commitment to assist donors to identify and attain their philanthropic goals.
  6. Adherence to a sense of "community" that overrides individual interests and objectives.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation is among 30 community foundations in Virginia. We are accredited by the Council on Foundations for meeting its national standards for community foundations. We also maintain a four-star Charity Navigator rating and have a GuideStar platinum rating.

Your community foundation is here forever. We're not moving out of state, not going out of business, not forgetting your legacy