The very first community foundation was created in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. According to the Council on Foundations, today there are over 700 community foundations in the United States, which administer more than $31 billion in charitable funds.

The Princeton Area Community Foundation is public charitable foundation with over $140 million in assets, designed to improve the lives of all who live, work and play in Central Jersey. In 2016, we made grants of more than $16 million. We help generous people give wisely and nonprofits work effectively.

We believe

  • our community flourishes as philanthropy thrives;
  • all of our children deserve opportunities; and
  • working together with people who care, businesses, and nonprofits, we can address our region’s most difficult challenges.

Founded in 1991 by a committed group of local citizens who cared deeply about the welfare of others, the Community Foundation began by awarding grants to nonprofits doing important work in the area.

Families established funds with us, realizing we could help make their giving more effective. They knew that our donor advised funds allowed them to invest in their communities with fewer hassles and less expense than through private foundations. They worked with our grant-making experts to get the most impact from every gift they made.

Corporations joined our growing competitive grants program, relying on our extraordinary knowledge of the local nonprofit landscape. Nonprofits began to partner with us – entrusting us with their endowments – to take advantage of our access to high quality investment managers. In Central New Jersey, we became philanthropy’s voice. But as we grew, we knew we needed to do more.

We began to study the needs of our community. Through commissioned research and anecdotal feedback, it was clear nonprofits wanted more than just grants from their Community Foundation. They wanted help solving their most difficult challenges – growing the next generation of leaders, building fundraising and marketing infrastructure, and incorporating technology to make their work more efficient. We have invested in strengthening nonprofits ever since.

Now, we continue to work with our region’s most generous people, establishing endowments that will forever provide for our community’s well-being.  As we grow, we partner with the region’s stakeholders – both large and small – to solve our most intractable problems. We have made a special commitment to support our children and adolescents living in poverty. Their potential is limitless, and it is our job to be their champions.

Below is a slideshow depicting some of the historic moments and key friends and colleagues who have helped to bring the Community Foundation to this milestone.