Goldman's Funding Fell Last Year, But It's as Committed as Ever to the Bay Area

The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund has always put a high priority on funding causes in the San Francisco Bay Area; however overall grantmaking last year took a bit of a nosedive since 2014. That year, the Goldman Fund committed $12.4 million to grantmaking. Meanwhile, the 2015 grant total topped out at about $5.8 million. This is an interesting development because about a year and a half ago, we pointed out how the Goldman Fund had been growing in terms of assets, staff and grantmaking goals.

Related: Three Things to Know About the Goldman Fund's Grantmaking

Although grant totals were down significantly last year, support for the Bay Area was steady. The latest $5.8 million in grant dollars was spread across 211 nonprofit organizations, many of which are located in San Francisco and the surrounding areas. The main exception here is Goldman’s Democracy and Civil Liberties program, which supported the D.C.-based Americans for Responsible Solutions Foundation, Bellevue, Washington’s MomsRising Education Fund, and New York’s Brennan Center for Justice. The funder’s environmental program is generally broader in scope, as well.

Let’s take a closer look at what Goldman has been funding at the local level.

Education & Literacy Programs

Goldman’s education program has really been focused on local public schools and STEM studies lately. However, it takes a more unconventional and innovative approach to education funding than some other local funders.

In 2015, the fund awarded a $75,000 to the San Francisco Unified School District for a literacy program with computer tablets aimed at low-resource communities. What’s interesting about this program is that parents of first grade students are getting these tablets and training on using them to help their kids read at home. Another interesting Goldman education grant of $25,000 went to San Francisco-based Education Outside. This money is going toward a pilot program that connects engagement in outdoor science to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Local Jewish Community

The Goldman Family has a long history of Jewish charitable giving, and has largely given to both the Bay Area and to groups based in New York. In San Francisco, Goldman gave $80,000 to The Kitchen to engage local youth in Jewish programs. It also gave $75,000 to Urban Adamah in Berkley, which is a Jewish environmental education group, to help build a new site.

Reproductive Rights Issues

Access to safe abortions is a big issue for Lisa and Douglas Goldman, close to home and nationwide. Locally, the couple’s foundation supported the Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco with $75,000 to expand abortion efforts and Planned Parenthood Northern California with $75,000 to provide services to women in rural counties a bit beyond the Bay Area. On the national level, Goldman gave Planned Parenthood Federation of America $100,000 to fight defunding efforts.

Specific Bay Area Initiatives

Goldman Fund makes specific invitations to San Francisco organizations for special projects and Bay Area institutions. Although many grants go to Bay Area organizations, these are highly focused grants that fund specific local campaigns.

For example, in 2015, the fund gave the Randall Museum Friends $100,000 and WildCare in San Rafael $50,000 for these types of campaigns. Other grantees in this category include the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the California Historical Society, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, and Meals on Wheels of San Francisco.

You can view a full list of grantees by year, program area, and type of support in the foundation’s grants database. Overall, strategic priorities of the fund are reducing gun violence, strengthening K-12 public education, shifting manufacturing towards sustainable production practices, engaging young adults in Jewish life, combatting anti-Semitism, and protecting access to abortion. Today, the fund has about $240 in assets.