Community Foundations

A follow on to the post about Family Foundations.

Community Foundations are usually set up for the benefit of a particular community, generally based on geography – for example the Melbourne Community Foundation, the Sydney Community Foundation, the Queensland Community Foundation and the Tasmanian Community Foundation.

What they have in common is that they are made up of endowed funds, provided from a great many donors. Usually they can only make grants to organisations which have both tax charitable concession status and deductible gift recipient status and only to organisations within their geographic area of interest. This unfortunately excludes individual arts practitioners most of the time, unless they can demonstrate a partnership with a not for profit organisation which would meet the community foundation’s eligibility criteria.

They usually focus on areas of disadvantage such as health, minority groups, community development and advocacy, arts and culture, training and employment, environment and disability.

Community foundations encourage donors to participate either by contributing to the overall endowment, or by setting up their own sub-funds (which may be in their own name and may focus on their own area of interest). Sub-funds can be seen as a perpetual investment in the community, but donors should consider whether a community foundation sub-fund is the most effective way to invest philanthropically – as there are many philanthropic advisory services these days which offer different rates of investment, flexibility around choice of recipients and management fees.

While community foundations are not often on the radar of arts organisations and artists for grants, they can be a good source of support if cultivated appropriately.

Have a look at the Community Foundations Gateway (managed by Philanthropy Australia) for some extensive information on Community Foundations both in Oz and elsewhere.

What is your experience with community foundations? Have you supported one by making a donation? Have you received funds from one? Do you find them easy to deal with?

I look forward to your comments.


About ozphilanthropy

#Philanthropy. #arts Posts by Sharon Nathani, PhD candidate at the Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne focussing on philanthropic funders of the arts. Sharon's study is supported through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
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