Our Story

Mobilizing generosity to improve the quality of life in our community

Our Visual Timeline


The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County (now Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville) was incorporated

  • Joe and Pam Alexander make initial donation to Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County
  • Receive our 501c3 letter of determination
  • Hosted first Summit on Philanthropy
  • Received over $3 million from Dynetics employees through their ESOP transaction
  • Created first corporate giving fund for Vector Wealth Strategies
  • Launched NonProfit University (now NAVIGATE Nonprofit Network Conference) to provide professional development for nonprofit leader
  • Hired Stuart Obermann as CEO
  • Launched Catalyst Endowment (now Compass Endowment)  with a generous gift from Torch Technologies, the Torchbearer Sponsor
  • Published first edition of Vital Signs
  • Awarded the Chamber of Commerce's Nonprofit of the Year
  • Awarded first grant from Catalyst Endowment (now Compass Endowment) for the SAIL program
  • Changed name to Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville
  • Received accreditation National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®
  • Received GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency
  • Launched Women’s Philanthropy Society
  • Moved to the current Park Plaza location
  • Exceeded $30 million in donations and $15 million in grants
  • Received 4-star rating from Charity Navigator
  • Appointed Melissa Thompson as CEO
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Emergency Relief Fund is reactivated and donors contribute over $840,000 to support local nonprofits providing basic needs and/or health and wellness resources
  • Racial Equity Fund is launched and seventy founding donors raise $373,135 to address racism and inequity in our community
  • Received Standard for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence
  • Community Foundation Park in downtown Huntsville opened to the public

Love this community? We do, too.

That’s why our vision is to be the trusted leader in mobilizing generosity, and our mission is to improve the quality of life in our community by:

  • Increasing community awareness

  • Deepening community investment

  • Maximizing community impact

Our Story

Shortly after the start of the new century, a small group of community leaders saw a need in the Huntsville/Madison County region – a need for stable, permanent, financial support that would promote charitable giving and increase the capacity of local nonprofits to meet the growing region’s critical community needs. An advisory board was formed to explore the idea further and to attract the necessary funding to turn the Community Foundation from concept to reality. Founding Benefactors Joe and Pam Alexander stepped forward to provide a generous donation to launch this new Community Foundation, which not only provided needed operational support but also funded part-time staff. The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County (now Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville) was incorporated in October of 2008 and received its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service on September 3, 2009.

In its first decade serving this community, the Community Foundation raised well over $32 million dollars of charitable assets and distributed, on behalf of our donors, over $17,000,000 in grant funding to nonprofit organizations. Although our donors can donate to any 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, many have chosen to invest their grant dollars locally, with over 70% of all grants remaining in Greater Huntsville to meet community needs.

In recognition of the positive impact the Community Foundation has had on our community's quality of life, as well as its support of the local nonprofit community, the Community Foundation was awarded the 2016 Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Awards Nonprofit of the Year.

In 2017, the Community Foundation changed its name to the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville to better reflect the growing nature of its business and to reflect the expanded region served.

Also in 2017, the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville received accreditation with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence, the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® which establishes legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere, requiring detailed documentation of policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration to provide quality assurance to donors and legal and financial advisors. Shortly after, in early 2018, the Community Foundation earned the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency - the highest level of recognition obtainable - which showcases key metrics to report progress against their missions in quantitative terms. The following year, nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator awarded the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville a coveted 4-star rating for financial health and commitment to transparency.

In 2021, the Community Foundation received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing their rigorous accreditation program which evaluates fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability.

The Community Foundation has become a valued resource for our nonprofit community through grantmaking, funds to provide financial stability, and networking and professional development opportunities at NAVIGATE Nonprofit Network Conference (formerly NPUHuntsville). In addition, the Community Foundation sponsors an annual Summit on Philanthropy to celebrate local philanthropists and provide an educational forum on smart and effective philanthropy.

The Community Foundation makes it easy to be generous, however that looks to you. We believe that this community has the resources to address our most pressing problems. Philanthropy is a powerful tool to create positive change. It not only allows donors to find more purpose in their lives and businesses, but also gives individuals and organizations the tools to make a difference. Generosity is simply investing in a dream.

What do you dream for your community, country, and world?  We can help.

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