Going All In

CFLeads’ community foundation survey report homepage

Community foundations are going all in on community leadership.

Building on their unique attributes—including their local relationships, independence, permanence, broad community betterment missions and public charity status—community foundations are stepping up to serve as vital partners, problem-solvers and leaders in the local landscape. This momentum was becoming clear even before the COVID-19 pandemic, global protests against police brutality and calls for racial justice. It has only accelerated since then, with an increasing pace and growing commitment.

We have documented this shift to community leadership with Igniting the Future of Community Foundations, a research project through which we set out to understand the environment in which community foundations are working and where they can add further value.

The key finding:

98% of community foundation leaders plan to deepen or expand their community leadership over the next few years.

How likely is it that your foundation will be expanding or deepening its work in the area of community leadership in the next few years?

Chart showing that 75% of respondents by likelihood to deepen or expand their work in community leadership in the next few years.
Source: Candid

This astonishing finding demonstrates the universal recognition by community foundations of their important community leadership role. No longer focused solely on good grantmaking and serving as charitable banks, community foundations from coast to coast are leaning into the many other actions they can take to help build strong communities and push for better outcomes for all.

With this Going All In web portal, we are lifting up three interdependent areas in which we see momentum in the field. Community foundation leaders have identified these focus areas that, taken together, are critical to creating resilient, equitable and prosperous communities where all can thrive.

Insisting on Racial Equity

Community foundations focus on achieving racial equity in all aspects of community by reorienting their missions and strategies, taking a leadership role, and striving for greater equity in their internal operations.

Amplifying Community Voice

Community foundations convene community conversations, elevate resident engagement and power, invest in local journalism, and support the systems and processes that fuel a healthy democracy.

Influencing Public Policy & Systems

Community foundations disseminate local research, mobilize stakeholders across sectors and advocate for comprehensive public policy and systems changes that lead to widespread significant results.

We have designed this portal not only to highlight the momentum we are seeing but also to lift up promising illustrations from community foundations who are already committed to this work, and to share tools and resources that community foundations can use on any step of their journey.

To learn more about our research and the Going All In portal, visit our Overview page.