Key Points

Community foundations claim to play an integral role in fostering philanthropy at a local or regional level across the United States, seeking to improve the quality of life for community residents. Their business model has three main components: grantmaking, fundraising, and community leadership.

As the newest addition to the community foundation operating model, community leadership remains the least examined component in terms of how these foundations define and pursue it. This article seeks to contribute to the literature on the challenges and benefits community foundations encounter in pursuit of a community leadership role.

Utilizing an exploratory design, interviews with leaders at 11 community foundations were conducted. The findings indicate that taking a community leadership role has a positive effect on fundraising outcomes for community foundations and elevates a foundation’s local or regional profile.

Open Access