The document examines the role of community foundations in local development, in particular, on the example of Slovakia. It justifies the relevance of the topic of local development, especially in post-socialist countries, where all development at the community level has traditionally been provided mainly by municipalities. However, under the further influence of various factors, this paradigm is changing, and one of the alternative driving forces of development is becoming local community funding. The purpose of this study is to assess the contribution of community foundations to local development and to discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

The document describes various approaches to local development: social, economic, environmental, and political. The most widespread among them is the “concept” of local economic development (LED), which involves raising living standards, reducing inequality between residents, and sustainable development of resources. Community foundations are seen as private legal organizations that operate at the local level, actively supporting community development.

The author conducted a questionnaire survey among the existing community foundations in Slovakia at the time, as well as a thorough analysis of the annual reports and financial statements of such foundations. Four out of eleven existing community foundations participated in the study. It also describes the territorial specialization of these foundations, which usually focus on certain cities or “micro-regions.” The main activity of local community foundations is to provide targeted grants, which is a good way to redistribute resources at the local level. There are other forms of activity, including social assistance, support for education and environmental protection.

The study concludes that community foundations play an important role in local development by providing much-needed additional sources of funding and facilitating cooperation between different sectors at the local level. Despite certain shortcomings, their activities have a very positive impact on the development of the territories where they are already operating.

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