About the Survey

The idea behind CF Insights is simple: What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know?

The Columbus Survey is known by many as the “census of the community foundation field,” started by the Columbus Foundation in 1988, and administered by CF Insights since 2008. The Columbus Survey collects data to uncover financial trends and operational activity among community foundations in the United States.

Informed by the results of the Columbus Survey, CF Insights conducts field-wide research and helps individual community foundations across the country gain knowledge about their operations in relation to the rest of the field. This dashboard presents an annual snapshot of survey results.

Participants interested in detailed results for their foundation using additional metrics can visit cfinsights.org to gain access to a wider range of comparative and longitudinal reports via the CF Insights database. Members of CF Insights can compare their own current and prior year performance to custom peer groups using over 90 online reports.

For any community foundations who have not yet contributed data, you can still log on to cfinsights.org at any time to share your most recent fiscal year data, and query reports that put your foundation’s performance in context. As more foundations contribute and 990s are completed, more comparative data will be available and CF Insights will continue to build on this snapshot with analyses based on the growing dataset.

Created by Community Foundations

CF Insights responds to a hunger for shared knowledge and greater impact among U.S. community foundations. Community foundations grow stronger when their decisions are based on timely, accurate, and complete information. Through CF Insights, community foundations improve performance and sustainability—individually and collectively. CF Insights has operated under the auspices of Foundation Center since January 2015.

About Foundation Center

Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants—a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center’s website each day and are served in its five library/learning centers and at more than 450 Funding Information Network locations nationwide and around the world.


CF Insights would like to offer special thanks to The Columbus Foundation, which conducted the
hallmark community foundation survey on behalf of the field from 1988 to 2007. We are grateful for the opportunity to now manage this important work of collecting and reporting field-wide data. We would also like to thank the Council on Foundations for encouraging their members to participate in this important annual survey and for helping to share the results with the field. In addition, a wide range of community foundations contributed data to this report. We would like to thank all Columbus Survey participants for their contributions. We especially thank CF Insights members and funders for their continued support, which makes possible the growth and development of CF Insights’ knowledge base. Finally, we would like to express profound gratitude to FSG. It’s through their tireless dedication to the development of CF Insights that has allowed it to grow into what it is today: a respected and valuable resource for the community foundation field.

Copyright © 2018 Foundation Center. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

Advisory Board

Jean Adams
Senior Vice President, Strategy and Chief Operating Officer
Minneapolis Foundation

Rebecca W. Graves
Director of Strategic Investments
Perigee Fund

Neel Hajra
President and CEO
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Terri Johnson
Associate Director, GIFT Technical Program
Indiana Philanthropy Alliance

Jeff Sauter
Chief Finance and Administrative Officer
Arizona Community Foundation

Judy Sjostedt
Executive Director
Parkersburg Area Community Foundation

John Stremsterfer
President and CEO, Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln

Debra S. Watt
Chief Financial Officer
Foundation for the Carolinas

For questions or comments on this report, please contact:

David Rosado
Member Services Manager, CF Insights