Globally, various types of foundations are well-known, some of which already possess the funds they require at the time of their founding, whereas others attract them in course of their everyday work:
- private foundations are funded with the financial resources of a specific private individual and/or donations and bequests from private individuals;
- corporate foundations are funded by the donations of one or more companies or the investments they make in a specific sector of interest to them;
- thematic foundations which grant funds in support of a specific subject or to solve a problem;
- operational foundations implement projects themselves and do not allocate funds to other organisations implementing projects or initiatives (the majority of foundations in Latvia are operational foundations);
- community foundations, which operate within a certain territory, attracting the resources of the local community and support local initiatives.
Community foundations in different countries tend to operate according to different standards, however most community foundations tend to share the following attributes:
- community foundations award funds to the projects of other organisations, moreover to projects encompassing a wide range of social concerns;
- foundations’ funds are raised from diverse local sources, not just one donor;
- foundations are independent of any specific political, economic or other power; they are formed through broad partnerships and undertake a leading role in encouraging charity and dialogue;
- the majority of foundations are funded by inviolable capital and ensure its goal-oriented governance.
Community philanthropy is an international movement that facilitates positive changes within societies on almost every continent. Globally, there are 1,864 active community foundations, 670 of which are in Europe. Nine of these operate in Latvia – in Talsi, Lielvārde, Valmiera, Alūksne and Ape, Kandava, Limbaži, Mid-Latgale, Ķekava and Liepāja. They span 26 municipalities and almost 300,000 residents.