Inside the Milagro Foundation’s Bay Area Giving

Ten-time Grammy Award winning musician Carlos Santana established a charitable foundation in 1998 to serve disadvantaged youth, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the Milagro (Spanish for "miracle") Foundation gives nationally and internationally as well, a significant portion stays within the nine counties of the Bay Area, funding the field of education in particular. Santana has called San Francisco his home and is well known for his role in the area's hippie counterculture of the late 1960s.

Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation has not accepted unsolicited grant applications for the past decade because it was getting way more requests than it could fund. However, Milagro does have a staff and board that meets three times per year to distribute annual grants in the areas of education (college access and achievement gap) and health (mental health and disease eradication).

So let’s take a closer look at Milagro's recent Bay Area grants.

In 2015, the Milagro Foundation committed $135,000 to Bay Area nonprofits, all as grants between $10,000 and $25,000. Although Milagro’s education program is traditionally focused on the Bay Area, while the health program is broader, more health than education grants were awarded regionally last year.

The foundation awarded health grants to San Francisco’s Circulo de Vida for a professional therapy program that helps youth deal with a parent’s illness, and also to Larkin Street Youth to support programs for homeless youth in San Francisco. It gave other health grants to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Marin and Sonoma, Okizu in Novato, and the Mosaic Project in Oakland.

Meanwhile, it gave the sole education grant in Northern California last year to the Hannah Project Partnership for Academic Achievement in Marin City, for $25,000. And the only arts grant went to the Women’s Audio Mission in San Francisco, for $20,000. In total, the Milagro Foundation awarded $400,000 in grants in 2015, so it seems Bay Area giving remains a top priority for this funder.

Keep in mind that this is a funder that typically picks organizations that work with kids who are at risk for poor health, illiteracy, and insufficient educational and cultural opportunities. And it gives priority to programs that work with children for two or more years and that show collaboration among multiple agencies.

For other updates on what the foundation has been up to lately, check out Milagro’s news section or reach out to executive director Shelley Brown, at But first, to learn more about this funder, take a look at IP’s full profile of the Milagro Foundation: Bay Area Grants.