Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of William Oberndorf and his wife, Susan. Much of the couple's philanthropy is focused in on the Bay Area, where the Oberndorfs have interests in education reform, health, policy, and more.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, environment, arts and culture, policy, human services

IP TAKE: The foundation does not have much of a web presence or provide a clear way to get in touch with the couple.

PROFILE: Established in 1993, the Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation is an independent foundation based in San Francisco, California. Raised in Cleveland, founder William Oberndorf graduated from Williams College in 1975 and received his M.B.A. from Stanford Business School in 1978. Oberndorf co-founded the Mill Valley, California investment firm SPO Advisory Corp. Oberndorf retired from SPO and manages Oberndorf Enterprises. William Oberndorf and his wife, Susan, move their philanthropy through the Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation, and their interest areas are education, health, environment, arts and culture, policy, and human services.

The foundation does not have a website or provide a clear way to get in touch with the Oberndorf couple. However, the Oberndorfs have a big interest in education reform. While this philanthropy is national in scope, grants have also gone toward education in the Bay Area. Education philanthropy in the Bay Area has involved SF School Choice Alliance, KIPP Bay Area Schools, Gateway Public Schools, and the San Francisco Education Fund. Millions have also streamed to various organizations associated with the University of San Francisco system, including the UCSF Foundation.

Another interest of the couple in the Bay Area is health. Money has gone to Gladstone Institutes, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Stanford School of Medicine, and Cancer Prevention Institute of California in Fremont. Cancer appears to be a particular interest of the couple. Also, grantmaking has involved the environment, and money has gone to California Trout, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, San Francisco Zoological Society, and San Francisco Parks Alliance. A component of the couple's philanthropy also involves arts and culture, and large sums have gone to California Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. As well, sums have gone to community and human services organizations, such as San Francisco 49ers Foundation, San Francisco Food Bank, San Francisco Free Clinic, San Francisco YMCA, and the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Foundation grants have ranged from approximately $10,000 to several million dollars each. Review the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about its local giving. Much of the couple's grantmaking is centered around the Bay Area in Northern California. The foundation does not publicly share its grantmaking guidelines.

This foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits, as it only funds pre-selected organizations. The phone number for the foundation is 415-500-6900.


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