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What Is a Community Foundation?

Ohio is the birthplace of one of today's fastest growing forms of philanthropy - the community foundation. In 1914, a Cleveland attorney and banker created an entity, that could pool community resources, with a view to maximizing charitable impact... providing the means for ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

The Ashland County Community Foundation is among more than 750 community foundations in the United States. Community foundations are tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charities that serve local donors who wish to take an organized approach to giving. Because community foundations are public charities, their donors enjoy increased tax advantages not available to private foundation donors. Community foundation donors also receive professional support without hiring staff. Unlike private foundations, community foundations invest and administer a pool of funds contributed by numerous donors. Together, these donors create an endowment - in essence the community's charitable savings account - designed to ensure the long-term health of the nonprofit community.

Ohio is home to more than 90 community foundations, including several recognized nationwide as innovators in the field. Individually and collectively they provide Ohio with a wealth of energy, ideas, leadership, and social and philanthropic capital. These resources help find new and effective solutions to the challenges facing our communities. Community foundations, in essence, represent trust and confidence in the community and a commitment to our future.

Like all community foundations, the Ashland County Community Foundation:

  • Has an independent, all-volunteer governing body broadly representative of its community.
  • Informs and educates individuals, families and businesses about community issues and grant making opportunities.
  • Actively involves individuals, families and businesses in identifying and responding to community issues and opportunities.
  • Keeps all information obtained with respect to donors, funds and prospects for new fund creation confidential to the fullest extent possible.
  • Honors the charitable intentions of its donors consistent with community needs and applicable laws and regulations.
  • Is a steward of charitable funds, investing and prudently managing funds and maintaining accurate financial records, and is accountable to its community and regularly disseminates information on its programs and finances.
  • Ensures that its financial resources are used solely in furtherance of its mission.


Donors who give through the Ashland County Community Foundation enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their gifts will be safely and efficiently administered for the charitable purposes they specify, as well as receiving the maximum tax deduction for their contributions.



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Dr. Lucille Ford
President Emerita


From the President Emerita

"A community foundation, to include the Ashland County Community Foundation, is a unique organization designated to encourage philanthropy (described by Webster's dictionary as "freedom from selfishness") and one to serve as a steward for donors' wishes. The management of this mission requires a particular combination of talent from both the heart and the head. This is a challenge as well as an exciting privilege. We are an "endowment house" where donor gifts are designed to provide an income stream to support their charities of choice. Our time horizon of ACCF is... far, far into the future."