Impact of Community Foundations

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What is a community foundation?

Community foundations are the best way to help your hometown flourish, forever. Community foundations positively impact community well-being by investing gifts from donors, supporting local projects, and engaging in leadership initiatives.

How do community foundations work? 

Community foundations are public charitable trusts, built by community, for community. Your gift to a community foundation is invested in an endowment fund and the interest earned is granted back to charitable projects and initiatives in the community each year. Learn more about types of endowment funds below.

Thousands of donors choose to support their communities through their local community foundations each year! Each community foundation is governed by a volunteer board made up of local representatives. 

Quick stats about Manitoba’s community foundation network

The Canadian community foundation model began in Manitoba in 1921. Today, Manitoba has more community foundations, per capita, than anywhere in North America. Each one is committed to supporting its community’s unique needs and opportunities. 

Endowment Funds

Endowment funds are investments established by community foundations to provide grants to their communities.

Gifts to a community foundation are held in endowment funds and invested. A portion of the income generated by that investment is distributed as grants into the community each year. The initial gift is never spent so it will continue to support and benefit your community forever.

Types of endowment funds

Community Funds

Community or unrestricted funds allow community foundations to support their community’s current needs and emerging opportunities. The community foundation accepts and reviews grant applications, and makes grants to local charitable charities and municipalities. Your gift to a community fund is a long-term investment that will have the greatest impact in your community.

Give to the community fund at your local community foundation

Donor Advised Funds

Donor advised funds combine the benefits of making a gift that will help your community forever with the ability for you to determine where you want your grants to have an impact. You work with the community foundation to choose the grants to local charitable organizations and municipalities.

To learn more, contact your local community foundation.

Agency Funds

Agency funds are endowment funds, administered by the community foundation, dedicated to a specific charitable organization. Anyone can make a gift to an agency fund. Your gift is pooled and invested, and a portion of the generated income is distributed as grants to the charitable organization to be used at their discretion.

An agency endowment fund is a tremendous asset for any organization providing them with a stable, annual revenue stream.

To learn more, contact your local community foundation.

Scholarship Funds

Scholarship funds are endowment funds that provide financial assistance to students instead of making grants to local charitable organizations. Establishing a scholarship fund with a community foundation will allow you to distribute scholarships or bursaries to deserving students in your community year after year.

To learn more, contact your local community foundation.


Community foundations are able to accept gifts on behalf of other qualified organizations. Community foundations do not hold these gifts in endowment funds but transfer them directly to the qualified organizations.

Recipients of flow-through gifts must meet the requirements of a qualified organization.

To learn more, contact your local community foundation.