Three Things to Know About the Goldman Fund's Grantmaking

The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund has been making grants for over two decades, but it has recently revamped its grantmaking strategy and expanded its reach (Read Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund: Bay Area Grants). There are no deadlines for submissions and grant applications are accepted and reviewed throughout the year. These are a few things to keep in mind about Goldman Fund grantmaking.

The Goldman Fund Is Much Bigger These Days

According to a Message from the President, Douglas Goldman, this is a time of growth for the foundation. Not only has the foundation grown in terms of assets and staff, but it’s also expanded its grantmaking goals and redefined strategies.

After his father, Levi Strauss heir Richard Goldman, passed away, the assets of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund (approximately $280 million) were split into thirds and distributed to each of his three children’s foundations. The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund received about $95 million, nearly quadrupling its previous assets. At the end of 2012, the Goldman Fund reported $186,570,345 in assets and $8,088,040 in grants paid. Although the Goldman Fund isn’t new to the grantmaking scene, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on in the years ahead.

Geographic Focus Differs by Program Area

Although the overall foundation's focus is on the Bay Area, the Goldman Fund considers grant applications from national organizations for its democracy, environment, and reproductive rights program areas. However, the San Francisco Bay Area is given priority for pretty much all grants regarding education literacy, health and recreation, and the Jewish community. Some program areas accept grants from both local and national organizations.

On a separate note, the Goldman Fund makes specific invitations to San Francisco organizations for special projects and Bay Area institutions. Read through the Interests and Priorities section so you understand who you’re competing against for grants.

New, Progressive Jewish Causes Are a Top Priority

The Goldman Family has a long history of Jewish charitable giving. Douglas’ parents’ foundation, The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, gave out $12.6 million to Jewish causes alone. Douglas and Lisa have typically focused on giving directly to Jewish initiatives, although they do send a gift to the federal campaign each year too.

The Goldman Fund used to have a grantmaking category devoted specifically to Israel, but now that’s been combined into the broader Jewish Community program. This new program involves strategic giving to both Israel and Bay Area Jewish causes. In a 2012 interview with J Weekly, Douglas said that he was mostly interested in funding “new, progressive Jewish organizations that have popped up in the community.” A couple grantees' names that came up in that conversation were BlueStar and Moishe House, a network of residences for young Jews that began in Oakland and has spread globally.