The first community foundation was created in the United States in 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio. A banker, Frederick Goff, looked around and realised that there were dozens of small trusts that had been placed at the banks of Cleveland, many of them having been created by people who had since passed on, and many of them serving causes that were no longer relevant.

Frederick Goff had the idea of collecting the trusts into one fund - a community fund guided by civic leaders. A fund that could grow over time, as he saw it, and by people leaving money to it in their lifetime as opposed to simply giving to a fund upon their passing; and, most important, to be a permanent and flexible asset for future needs.

There are now more than 1,440 community foundations in over 50 countries.

*Birmingham & Black Country Community Foundation
or Birmingham Foundation as it was first known was established with the Charity Commission in 1995, but officially launched in 1997 to promote philanthropy and the idea of ‘giving something back’ to the local community.

Birmingham & Black Country Community Foundation supports on average well over 700 community and voluntary projects each year; and in our financial year ending March 2010 we distributed over £4.2 million in grants to 924 grassroots projects. We continue to provide an invaluable service to enable companies, families, individuals and Government bodies achieve this goal that is now top of the corporate social responsibility agenda.

*In September 2010 the Birmingham Community Foundation became Birmingham & Black Country Community Foundation to better reflect the areas that we serve.

For more information on the UK community foundation history please click here.


  • What We Do

    Our two broad purposes are:
    To work with the community supporting local voluntary and community activity through a programme of constructive grant making; and
    To work with local donors by pooling the donations of philanthropically minded individuals and community-minded companies into an Endowment Fund...read more
    Case Studies

  • How to Give

    You can decide how much to give and make a secure on-line donation.

  • Apply for Grants

    Birmingham & Black Country Community Foundation is an independent charity that offers direct support to grassroots organisations within Birmingham and the Black Country.