Wrapping Our Heads around the Rose Foundation’s Local Grantmaking

It can be a bit tricky to understand the focus of Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment for the the Bay Area and beyond. This is especially true if you’ve been following the news lately:

Rose Foundation in the News:

In fact, these headlines don’t make the Rose Foundation sound like a grantmaker at all. But they are, and they work through a variety of avenues. 

To start, check out IP's full profile of the Rose Foundation, which discusses its Bay Area support, in particular. As we point out, this is a grantmaking public charity that has to raise the money it gives away for grants each year, unlike many other foundations we cover that have an endowment. Rose’s funding comes from donations, grants from other foundations, legal restitution payments, and cy pres funds.

Environmental grants are the biggest part of this funder’s strategy, however, it also supports a variety of grassroots initiatives, consumer protection and privacy efforts, and community leadership efforts.

In 2015, the foundation awarded 36 grants as part of its California Watershed Protection Fund, with grants ranging from $500 to $276,000. Another big local effort is the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, which distributed 86 grants last year. But these grants tend to be a bit smaller, in the $3,000 to $5,000 range. Meanwhile, the foundation awarded 69 Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund grants last year, again, mostly in that $3,000 to $5,000 range.  

Grant opportunities that are specific to California are as follows:


  • California Watershed Protection Fund
  • Central Valley Disadvantaged Community Water Quality Grants Program
  • Kern County Air Pollution Mitigation Fund
  • Southeast Madera County Responsible Growth Fund


  • Anthony Grassroots Prize
  • California Wildlands Grassroots Fund
  •  Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund

You can read about recent grassroots grantees from 2015 and 2016 and new 2016 California Wildlands Grassroots Fund grantees in the foundation’s news section to learn more about the types of organizations that catch its attention. The consumer protection and privacy grants are national opportunities and not specific to the Bay Area or California.

A good site to bookmark for new grantseekers is the Rose Foundation’s Requests for Proposals page. It’s updated fairly regularly with new deadlines for letters of inquiry and full applications. Or better yet, sign up for the foundation’s newsletter to receive notifications about upcoming RFPs and grant opportunities. There are more than a dozen funds at this foundation, and each one has separate and distinct application processes, geographic focuses, and deadlines.

Still confused? Get in touch with Tim Little, the foundation’s executive director, at tlittle@rosefdn.org or 510-658-0702, and he can fill you in from here.