The May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust Has a New Strategic Plan. Here's What It's Funding

The May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, based in Sausalito, California, recently announced five new grants totaling $3.7 million to celebrate its 25th anniversary. But these weren’t just one-off random grants; they are a representative sample of the foundation’s new strategic plan.

The trust established a grantmaking strategic plan for 2014 to 2018 in support of the following types of program areas: foster youth, elders, veterans, people with disabilities, and discretionary grantmaking. The foundation describes its approach as “person centered” because it prioritizes giving to organizations that provide direct services to individuals. Self-sufficiency and preserving a person’s dignity are also at the heart of the trust’s strategic plan.

This is a Bay Area-based funder that regularly supports causes in the Bay Area and Northern California. Of the recent anniversary grants, $600,000 went to the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in Fremont, California and $450,000 went to support the newly opened Epicenter in Salinas, CA, for youth transitioning out of foster care. Recent grants from the Foster Youth program have gone to various organizations in Oakland and San Francisco. San Francisco Elder program grants have recently been awarded to Jewish Family and Children’s Services,, and the Community Living Campaign.

However, Smith grantmaking also benefits populations living all over the Western Region of the United States and even British Columbia, Canada. Smith defines “Western Region” as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington. Veterans program grants tend to be scattered across the U.S. and the same goes with the People with Disabilities grants.

Discretionary grantmaking sometimes extends even further. The foundation recently sent $1.5 million to the Churchie Foundation in Queensland, Australia for capital support to demolish and reconstruct the Roberts Centre at the Anglican Church Grammar School, Stanley Smith’s alma mater.

The trust recently made headlines by partnering with Autism Speaks, Kessler Foundation, New York Collaborates for Autism and the Poses Family Foundation on a $7.5 million collaboration to promote disability and inclusion in employment in 2014 and 2015.

The collaboration supports the Pepsi ACT (Achieving Change Together) initiative, which is a national, multi-year project will expand the number of people with disabilities that are employed by PepsiCo in all career and experience levels. With a goal of reducing the unemployment rate of adults with disabilities, this collaborative comes to the rescue of disabled veterans as well.

So not only is this a good foundation for Bay Area nonprofits to keep on their radars, but also nonprofits elsewhere in the West. This is a region-specific grantmaker that hasn’t forgotten about local causes. The foundation has a two-step grant application process that starts with a Letter of Inquiry submission. General questions about obtaining funding can be directed to the Grants Manager at 415-332-0166 or by email at