What is a Community Foundation?

Community foundations are tax-exempt public charities dedicated to improving the communities they serve. As trusted stewards of local charitable assets, they both accept donations and make grants. Their wealth of community knowledge enables them to guide strategic philanthropy that responds to community needs. By partnering with civic leaders, nonprofits, donors, governments, and businesses, these unique organizations develop and implement strategies for systematic change in the regions they serve.

Mission and Vision

The Greater Washington Community Foundation works to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in our community. We are a community of givers, dedicated to inspiring and creating change across greater Washington and beyond.

The Community Foundation, which serves the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, and Prince George’s County – is part of a network of some 700 community foundations nationwide, each a tax-exempt, public charity made up of charitable giving funds established by individuals, families, corporations, and other organizations. We manage hundreds of donor funds, with assets totaling more than $300 million. We are the largest funder of nonprofit organizations in the metropolitan Washington region – we have granted over $1 billion to over 8000 nonprofits in our 43 year history.

Our Values

Community is at the center of our work, but how we do that work stems from five very important values: 

  1. Listen to, be a champion for, and make a difference in our community.
  2. Deliver amazing customer service.
  3. Do the right thing — by our donors, our partners, and each other.
  4. Incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work.
  5. Work hard. Be kind.


In 1973, a group of now-legendary Washington-area leaders – Katharine Graham, Robert Linowes, and Hank Strong among them – came together to form The Community Foundation. Their goal? To make community change through charitable giving easy, flexible, tax-smart, efficient and, above all, personal.

Since that time, The Community Foundation has grown into one of the largest foundations of any kind in the United States. Today, we manage charitable giving funds of all sizes. We may have expanded over the years, but our commitment has never wavered. We are here to help people who want to make an impact in their community and on the issues that matter most to them. We changed our name in June 2017 from The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region to the Greater Washington Community Foundation.