Annual Survey Shows “New Heights” in Benchmarks for Community Foundations

The Council on Foundations and CF Insights have released Guideposts to New Heights, the field’s most comprehensive report on community foundation assets, gifts and grants. The data was collected from 276 community foundations including those representing more than 90 percent of total estimated community foundation assets.

For the first time since the recession, the analysis shows asset, gift and grant amounts reaching new heights.

Highlights from the study include:

The community foundation field represents $58B in assets, $6.9B in gifts, and $4.5B in grants. Between 2011 and 2012, average growth rates were:

  • Assets – 9%
  • Gifts – 15%
  • Grants – 6%


  • 79% of community foundations have 2012 asset levels that exceed 2007 asset levels
  • Donor advisors increased assets held in DAFs by 22% on average, representing faster growth than assets overall; these funds represent a significant amount of gift and grant activity at many community foundations
  • Almost 3/4 of community foundations increased their operating budget in 2012