Why create a community foundation?
Community foundations and community funds are a great way for everybody to participate in philanthropy and give back to their local community.
- respond quickly to critical community issues
- address community needs in a particular location or cause area
- enable collaborative philanthropy by making powerful connections between donors and community organisations for the long-term benefit of the community
- make it easy for people to give back to the community and support the causes they care about
- provide knowledgeable and effective grants to community organisations and projects
- provide leadership by advocating for and supporting important social issues.
How can we set up a community foundation in our town, suburb or region?
- Research what foundations or other philanthropic vehicles already exist in your community, and consider whether you want to create your own or contribute to one of them.
- Think about what vehicle might suit you best – an independent community foundation, opening a sub-fund with a larger community foundation or trustee company, establishing a Donation Account with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)
- Talk to other community leaders and organisations in your community who might want to join your efforts and be part of a foundation or fund. Get in touch with your city council, and perhaps local corporate leaders to see if they would like to collaborate with you.
- Investigate the intricacies of the Australian Not-for-Profits taxation system, and make sure you understand what kind of entities you need to set up in order to achieve your objectives. This can be complicated, so seek help from other established community foundations, and from specialised legal eagles.
- Contact with Australian Community Philanthropy. While you will need professional advice to establish a community foundation, we can assist you with preliminary questions and help you to tap into the right advisors.
- Look at the list of community foundations in Australia to see what community foundations and geographic sub-funds already exist.
- Read ACP’s What is a Community Foundation? booklet for more information on the benefits of the community foundation model
- Our Community is a hub for community organisations and includes information on establishing an organisation, governance structures, template policies
- Herbert Smith Freehills’ Community Foundations Structure & Compliance Overview
- The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the independent national regulator of charities. Their website is jam packed with relevant information from setting up a charity, to your ongoing obligations.
- FRRR (The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal) Community Foundation 101 video series takes you through various aspects of community foundations from their role, structure and tips on getting started
- The Not-for Profit Law Hub has legal information for community organisations in all jurisdictions in Australia
- This ASIC information sheet from provides general information on the differences between a company structure and an incorporated association.
- Visit the ATO for information on Public Ancillary Funds and download this Public Ancillary Funds requirements information booklet from Herbert Smith Freehills
- Download ‘A Guide to Giving for Australians’ from Philanthropy Australia to help you work through a list of questions and considerations.
- Use the ATO’s Not-for-Profit portal to clarify taxation and legislative issues.
- The Public Ancillary Funds Handbook from Philanthropy Australia is essential reading for all community foundations with a Public Ancillary Fund.
- Queensland based Community Door has information on staring a community organisation (many of the materials are relevant to organisations based in other states)
- Better Boards has information is a resource for Boards and information on governance
- Centre for Community Services has resources and information on establishment issues, governance, strategic planning, finance, technology.