What is a Community Foundation?

We love where we live.

Community Foundations are local, independent and not-for-profit. They run a well proven model of place-based philanthropy which has been growing across the world for over 100 years, and they are now established in most regions of New Zealand.

Community Foundations focus on a place and its people, strengthening communities from within and enabling local's aspirations for their community to take shape. They are governed by super passionate and skilled local volunteer Boards.

Community Foundations are connectors between local philanthropy and community needs and opportunities. Many convene impactful projects and all are building long-term, reliable funding streams for their local communities by investing and growing the gifts they receive. So, you’re not really giving to a Community Foundation, but through it. And the invested model means your generosity will have benefits, forever.

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Why choose to give through a Community Foundation?

  • Being local we know where our region's greatest needs are and, crucially, who is doing impactful work
  • We make giving to your community easy and fulfilling
  • You can choose how your donation is used and you can tap into our local knowledge to help you to guide your decisions to have more impact
  • You will be investing in long-term community transformation by helping build permanent funds
  • Our low, transparent fee structure gives confidence and allows us to protect your gift from being eroded by inflation over time
  • It’s a smarter way to give that makes your generosity go further and it will last forever (see our fund calculator here >>)
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How do we know what our communities need?

First and foremost, we are close to our communities, working in partnership with generous local people and charities and causes. We know who is doing great work in our communities and we connect generous people with causes that are making a difference. To assess priorities for funding many of our Community Foundations undertake extensive research into the health of their communities with Vital Signs® research reports, which gather data and provide a community check-up, identifying significant social and economic trends and supporting action on issues that are critical to our quality of life. These reports not only assist Community Foundations in establishing granting priorities, but they also encourage collaboration with other local stakeholders and help to channel funding into areas of greatest impact.

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Are Community Foundations different from NZ's Community Trusts?

In New Zealand, Community Trusts have similar models to ours in that they have an existing pool of assets, which are invested on behalf of the local community with the income given out as grants. But Community Foundations are different because we are constantly growing a local fund through the generosity of local people. Further, we enable locals to be involved with assessing community priorities and where the funding will go.

Our model is tried-and-tested and has proven to be successful across the world for over 100 years.
Read more about CFNZ's history here >>

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Got questions? See our FAQ page or

Contact Us

“Community Foundations are set up to encourage personal philanthropy at a local level, playing a crucial role in helping people give back where communities need it most. We help people realise their philanthropic goals by matching their interests with community needs and finding innovative ways to make every donation count.”

Raymond Key Raymond Key – Chairperson

Sir Stephen Tindall talks about why it's good to give through your local Community Foundation.