Jen Bokoff
Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Foundation Center
communications@foundationcenter.org

New York, NY — June 21, 2017. CF Insights, a service of Foundation Center, announces the launch of the Columbus Survey Dashboard – the most up-to-date, comprehensive dataset reflecting the current financial state of community foundations in the United States. The research, which has been conducted annually since 1988, is available for the first time in an online, interactive format at columbussurvey.cfinsights.org

The data show that community foundation assets reached a total of more than $76 billion in 2016, after a year of negligible growth in 2015. While there was asset growth, it remained comparatively modest compared to previous survey periods. Grantmaking across community foundations remained relatively consistent with previous years at nine percent of assets.

Community foundation staff and donors, as well as organizations who support them, can explore the data through the Dashboard, which allows users to: 

  • Follow the growth trajectory of the field's asset, gift, and grant growth over the past eight years
  • Understand the breakdown of community foundation revenue sources
  • Compare community foundations of varying asset size in several different ways

Larry McGill, Foundation Center's vice president for knowledge services, said, "The annual Columbus Survey has long been an important touchstone for monitoring the vitality of the community foundation field. With the launch of the Dashboard, the field now has the ability to interact directly with the data in ways that will increase its utility to each foundation." The Dashboard helps organizations learn about the community foundation field and understand where partnerships and communities of practice could advance knowledge. It also can inspire additional research and analysis focusing on strategic questions the field is facing.

As more foundations contribute data and their IRS Forms 990 become available, CF Insights will continue to build on this snapshot through analyses based on the growing data set. The 253 community foundations who contributed to this research (and who collectively manage over 90 percent of U.S.-based community foundation assets) can go to www.cfinsights.org to access a wider range of comparative and longitudinal reports, and CF Insights members additionally have access to over 90 online reports comparing their 2016 performance to peers of their choosing. Soon to be released research by CF Insights and CFLeads, a national network of community foundations, will provide additional insights on the infrastructure needs of the sector. Additionally, research by Foundation Center on internationally-focused grantmaking by U.S.-based community foundations is also coming soon.

We encourage those community foundations who have not yet contributed data to share 2016 results and use the resources at www.cfinsights.org to create custom reports to put your own foundation's performance in context.

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About Foundation Center

Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional hubs and its network of more than 400 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230, or tweet us at @fdncenter.

About CF Insights

The idea behind CF Insights is simple: What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know? CF Insights, a service of Foundation Center, responds to a hunger for shared knowledge and greater impact among U.S. community foundations. Community foundations grow stronger when their decisions are based on timely, accurate, and complete information. Through CF Insights, community foundations improve performance and sustainability – individually and collectively. For information about CF Insights membership, consulting services, and free tools and research, visit cfinsights.org or tweet @cfinsights.