A community foundation is a tax-exempt, independent, publicly supported philanthropic organization established and operated as a permanent collection of endowed funds, donor advised funds, field-of-interest, or designated project funds to support a broad range of charitable activities in a defined geographic area.

The community foundation actively seeks new contributions from a wide range of donors and provides services to assist those donors in fulfilling their philanthropic interests. Unrestricted gifts from donors enable the foundation to build a flexible, permanent endowment in support of grant making to creatively address emerging and changing community needs in such fields as education, arts and culture, health, social services, community development, environment, and historic preservation.

A community foundation also provides leadership on pervasive community problems by serving as a facilitator, convener, or mediator around significant community issues and provides technical advice to area non-profits.

With an independent governing body representing the broad interests of the community, the community foundation is not controlled or influenced by other organizations, governmental units or charities, and adheres to a sense of community that overrides individual interests and objectives.