Three Things to Know about the Friedman Family Foundation’s Bay Area Grantmaking

Phyllis K. Friedman and her late husband, Howard A. Friedman, established the Friedman Foundation in 1964. This is a single-issue funder that aims to end the cycle of poverty in the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. (It should not be confused with the Friedman Family Foundation in New York City, which is the philanthropic vehicle of former Goldman Sachs Chairman Stephen Friedman and his wife Barbara.)

Here are three things grantseekers should know about this funder’s local grantmaking.

Most Grants Are About $10K

The Friedman Family Foundation makes up for its relatively small grant size ($5,000 to $10,000) by awarding general operating support grants to anti-poverty organizations that can decide how to best use FFF funds. In addition to general operating support, FFF also awards project support for specific programs.

However, keep in mind that this is not a funder to approach with your direct service needs. FFF is mostly interested in funding things like model program development and policy advocacy related to poverty solutions.

Past grants have gone to local organizations such as these:

  • California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) – San Francisco, CA
  • California Budget Project – San Francisco, CA
  • Causa Justa::Just Cause – Oakland, CA
  • Center for Responsible Lending – Oakland, CA

Funding Can Extend Beyond the Bay

The nine-county San Francisco Bay Area is the number one geographic priority, and the foundation has called this area home for five generations. However, it occasionally decides to fund a statewide or a nationwide poverty cause as well for projects that also offer lessons or benefits to the Bay Area. According to a foundation statement, “We recognize that poverty and opportunity in the Bay Area will be affected and effected by efforts at the state and national levels.”

Robert Friedman, a pioneer in the asset building movement and the founder of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, is a member of this same Friedman family, and closely involved in the foundation. (We've written about him here.) So it's not suprising this funder has long supported asset building work, including making grants to CFED. Other national grants have tended to track along the same lines. 

Past grantees outside the Bay Area have included:

  • Aspen Institute – Washington, DC
  • Association for Enterprise Opportunity – Washington, DC
  • Center for Community Change – Washington, DC
  • Asset Funders Network – New York, NY

Unsolicited Letters of Inquiry Are Always Accepted

Fortunately for grantseekers, you can submit a letter of inquiry of two pages or less to this funder at any time of the year. Make your request for between $5,000 and $10,000 for the best results. Just upload your information and file as a PDF or DOC file onto the foundation website. If invited to submit a full grant application, those are due three times per year in March, June, and November.

To learn more about this funder, check out IP’s full profile, Friedman Family Foundation: Bay Area Grants