What We Do

What We Do
Our community foundation network spans from coast to coast, from large cities to rural communities. Pictured here, Paul Grogan from The Boston Foundation and Shelly O'Quinn from the Innovia Foundation in Washington State share a conversation.
CFLeads is the only national network of community foundations committed to community leadership.

What is Community Leadership?

Community leadership happens when community foundations move beyond grantmaking and act as valuable partners that drive positive change in the area(s) they serve.

When community foundations are community leaders, they:

  • pursue the community’s greatest opportunities and address the most critical challenges; 
  • inclusively unite people, institutions, and resources from throughout the community; and 
  • produce significant, widely shared and lasting results. 

To become community leaders, community foundations must be intentional about manifesting the values, developing the relationships, accessing the resources, and building the understanding and skills needed to do this important work.

Community foundations have unique attributes including:

  • local relationships
  • independence
  • permanence
  • broad community betterment missions
  • public charity status

How Does CFLeads Help?

As a network of peers, we help individual community foundations access the tools they need to become community leaders by creating learning opportunities and resources that build the capacity of community foundations to lead change. We also help community foundations develop responses to critical issues in their communities that are centered on the needs of their residents. 

Our tools, resources and learning opportunities are designed around a Framework for Community Leadership and the five competencies for community leadership that are critical for effective practice. We work alongside a national network of supporters that are serious about embracing community leadership roles to make a real, ongoing difference in their communities. 

The Framework for Community Leadership

The Framework serves as a foundational document on community leadership for the field, incorporating levels of building blocks essential to consistent, effective leadership.

Two women sit in front of a screen with the five competencies displayed

The Five Competencies

As a part of our ongoing community leadership work, we have identified five competencies that are critical to effective practice.