Community Leadership

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.

With their local relationships and broad community betterment missions, community foundations make ideal community partners. Their independence, permanence and public charity status make them uniquely positioned to take on a leadership role in their communities.

CFLeads has created a number of tools, resources and learning opportunities to help community foundations embrace this role and make a real, ongoing difference in the communities they serve.

Community Leadership Compass

The Community Leadership Compass is a visual representation of how CFLeads’ Framework for Community Leadership, Five Competencies for Community Leadership, and Going All In project work together to help community foundations advance their work.

Community Leadership Field Guide

The Community Leadership Field Guide contains the resources visualized in the Compass and details how community foundations can measure their community leadership progress using Candid’s Community Leadership Assessment Tool

We also offer a short version of the guide, which provides a high-level overview of the Framework for Community Leadership without the building blocks and metrics. 

History of the Framework for Community Leadership

The Framework was developed by the National Task Force on Community Leadership, a group of 36 community foundation leaders assembled by CFLeads in 2008. It was updated in 2013 by the Cultivating Community Engagement Panel to place a greater emphasis on the importance of resident engagement

We updated the Framework again in 2021 to integrate it into the Community Leadership Field Guide and connect its building blocks with the relevant metrics found in Candid’s Community Leadership Assessment Tool.