Giving Back – Why Foundations Are Key to Community Development

There are many ways to give back, and we must find a way that fits our ideals and lifestyle. We must also encourage our family and friends to support community organizations.


Foundations are Key to Community Development

Community foundations like those established by Ehsan Bayat are a special force that can help shape local opportunity structures, allowing nonprofits to serve their communities better. They also have a long-term commitment to assisting local nonprofits in building leadership and infrastructure and a willingness to take risks that the government might not.

They can catalyze various activities, including creating community development strategies and building the capacity for community leaders to identify and address critical issues in their regions. Giving back can be as simple as volunteering your time or as grand as financially supporting a cause you believe in. Understanding what drives you to give and finding a way to connect your passions to a need in your community is essential.

They Help Build Community

Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that focus on improving life in a specific geographic area. They connect people of all kinds to resources that can improve their community through various programs, including donor-advised funds, endowments, field of interest funds, and giving circles.

To build a more just, equitable, and inclusive society, philanthropy must move beyond traditional grants and find new ways to finance community development. This includes investing in equity and incorporating more risk-tolerant financing like longer-term loans and forgivable products. This also requires foundations to support collaboration and partnership between community organizations, residents, and community development practitioners.

They Help Build Capacity

Community foundations provide donors with ways to achieve their philanthropic goals and make a difference in their local communities. Their expertise in understanding the complexities and unique opportunities that shape their communities helps them create community investment solutions that meet the needs of their donors, their community stakeholders, and their communities’ broader social and economic fabric.

Fortunately, many community foundations are responding to these accountability challenges by supporting capacity-building for their nonprofit grantees. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, five elements can help foundations and their nonprofit grantees build capacity together.

They Help Increased Community Awareness

An awareness campaign can significantly boost the success of an organization’s activities and fundraising events. This is because when people are more aware of your group’s work and how it directly impacts society, they are more likely to get involved in helping you achieve your goals.

Community foundations are public, philanthropic organizations that support communities in specific geographic areas by pooling donations and creating permanently endowed funds to address current and future community needs through nonprofit projects. They are a newer construct, but they are rapidly gaining popularity and recognition as the best way to facilitate and manage charitable giving.

Community foundations house a variety of grantmaking programs, including donor-advised funds, endowments, field-of-interest funds, and giving circles. Many funds are designated to fund a single organization or project, but donors can also choose to benefit multiple entities with a gift to the community foundation. This allows donors to express their deepest values while cultivating family traditions of philanthropy or honoring a loved one.


When businesses take the time to sponsor local events or organizations, they can create a bond with their community and also gain brand awareness. Whether supporting little league teams or contributing to national and international causes, businesses that give back are helping their communities in ways big and small.

Some community foundations act as conveners, bringing diverse stakeholders together to address local issues. They may also organize forums, workshops, or other events that foster collaboration and collective problem-solving.