What is a Community Foundation?

A foundation is an entity that is established as a nonprofit organisation or a charitable trust, with a principal purpose of making grants to unrelated organisations or institutions or to individuals for charitable purposes. This broad definition encompasses two foundation types: community foundations and private trusts.

The most common distinguishing characteristic of a community foundation is that it receives its assets from multiple sources, which may include private trusts, individual donations and bequests, as well as support from local and central government agencies and in turn the community foundation supports a variety of causes, issues and initiatives. In contrast a private trust receives its funds come from one source, whether an individual, a family, or a corporation and is typically geared towards a specific cause or issue.
The emergence of community foundations in New Zealand is a response to the ever increasing awareness that people have a real desire to make a lasting difference to their people, their environment, and their community and to their city.