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The Commonwealth Foundation is one of the Commonwealth’s three intergovernmental agencies alongside the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth of Learning.

This status is conferred by Commonwealth Heads of Government and requires the highest standards of accountability. We meet these standards through the effective and efficient servicing of our Board and the committees that it has established.

The Foundation is principally funded by assessed contributions made by our Member States. The assessed contributions, along with other income such as project-specific grants to the Foundation, provide the resources for the annual budget which is approved by the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Board of Governors.

Board of Governors

Annual priorities are determined by a Board of Governors, comprising representatives of Commonwealth governments and High Commissioners based in London, civil society representatives, and the Commonwealth Secretary-General. The Chair of the Foundation is a distinguished private citizen of a Commonwealth country appointed by Heads of Government.

Selected members of the Board of Governors meet on a quarterly basis as the Executive Committee to review resources and programmatic and financial affairs. A sub-committee of the Executive Committee, the Grants Committee assesses applications for grant funding three times a year.


The Directorate oversees all governance, strategic direction and planning as well as delivering critical functions relating to finance, operations and people.

Civil Society Advisory Governors

The Commonwealth Foundation has a tradition of involving civil society in its governance structure. The Foundation’s Board of Governors comprises representatives of its member states and five seats are reserved for representatives of civil society who provide guidance on all aspects of our programmes and long-term strategy. In 2015 the Foundation reviewed the terms of reference for civil society representatives on the Board.

Download CSAG terms of reference 2019