The level of community is considered to be vital for building disaster resilience. Yet, community resilience as a scientific concept often remains vaguely defined and lacks the guiding characteristics necessary for analysing and enhancing resilience on the ground. The emBRACE framework of community resilience presented in this paper provides a heuristic analytical tool for understanding, explaining and measuring community resilience to natural hazards. It was developed in an iterative process building on existing scholarly debates, on empirical case study work in five countries and on participatory consultation with community stakeholders where the framework was applied and ground-tested in different contexts and for different hazard types. The framework conceptualizes resilience across three core domains: (i) resources and capacities, (ii) actions and (iii) learning. These three domains are conceptualized as intrinsically conjoined within a whole. Community resilience is influenced by these integral elements as well as by extra-community forces comprising disaster risk governance and thus laws, policies and responsibilities on the one hand and on the other, the general societal context, natural and human-made disturbances and system change over time. The framework is a graphically rendered heuristic, which through application can assist in guiding the assessment of community resilience in a systematic way and identifying key drivers and barriers of resilience that affect any particular hazard-exposed community.