Strengthening our community through philanthropy

About the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps you invest in the organizations and causes you care about most. The Foundation manages about 1,000 charitable funds, with assets of approximately $469 million. These funds are established by individuals, families, and organizations. Together with our donors, we fulfill our mission to strengthen our community through philanthropy.

Established in 1969, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis is one of nearly 800 community foundations in the United States. We serve West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi, offering a variety of ways to make an impact in our community through charitable giving.

Since the Community Foundation began, we have made grants of $1.3 billion. Last year alone, we granted $178.5 million to 1,882 nonprofit organizations. Most of these grants are advised - or directed - by the people and organizations who established funds. Their gifts benefit many areas of community life, including education, human services, arts and culture, and religious organizations. Donors are able to maximize charitable gifts during their lifetimes and to provide perpetual gifts through endowments.

What is a community foundation?

In legal terms, a community foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) publicly supported foundation governed by its own board of directors and created to serve a specific geographical area. The first community foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914. Today, nearly 800 U.S. community foundations collectively grant more than $6.5 billion each year and manage more than $82 billion in charitable assets.

A community foundation typically serves its community in three ways. It:

  • raises funds for charitable purposes,
  • makes grants to nonprofit organizations, and
  • acts as a catalyst to improve the quality of life in its community

Learn more about becoming a donor at the Community Foundation.