The Silicon Valley Community Foundation gave a total of $474 million to charities in 2014, money that went to charities in the Bay Area, across the U.S., and all over the world. According to a recent press release, the foundation made 12,800 grants last year and administered another 52,700 matching gift grants on behalf of other companies.
We’d thought it'd be helpful to take a closer look at SVCF’s local giving, right in its homje turf of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to get a better understanding of what its highest priorities are in those nearby communities and neighborhoods.
Economic Security Grants
SVCF’s economic security program is focused on increasing the availability of financial education and reducing predatory lending. At the end of last year, the foundation awarded $237,000 to the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley to support the Coalition against Payday Lenders and $55,000 to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto to target payday lending in southern San Mateo County. Five other nonprofits received SVCF’s economic security support.
English as a Second Language Grants
In a continuing effort to help immigrants learn English, SVCF recently awarded 13 grants to enhance new immigrants’ civic participation and chances for economic success. An $80,024 grant was sent to the San Mateo Community College Foundation for a related award program, and a $60,000 grant went to the Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley for a work program. Current immigration RFP release dates are February 23 (legal services) and August 24 (adult education).
Out-of-Classroom Education Grants
However, the foundation’s greatest local support has been going towards out-of-classroom education programs lately. After-school and summer break programs have been catching SVCF’s attention, especially ones that focus on math and target low-income students of color. Recent SVCF grants include $75,000 to ALearn, which aims to improve middle school students’ math skills, and $85,000 to the Jose Valdes Math Foundation for a summer math program. Approximately $829,700 went to support 17 organizations in this funding category.
“Curbing payday lending increases the chances of long-term financial security for low-income families,” explained Manuel Santamaría, SVCF’s vice president of strategic initiatives and grantmaking. “Those who learn English become more productive workers and more integrated into Silicon Valley. And helping students to master mathematics in the middle-school years boosts their ability to succeed in academics and career for a lifetime.”
Of course, this quick look at some recent grantmaking barely scratches the surface of what SVCF is up to. The foundation awarded approximately $216 million to nonprofits in the nine Bay Area counties last year, sustaining its role as one of the most important grantmakers in the region. Most local SVCF grants have been between $20,000 and $237,000 lately.