Caldera Foundation (F/K/A Ayrshire Foundation): Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Ayrshire Foundation split into two separate foundations in July 2015. The Northern California directors adopted the new name, the Caldera Foundation. Caldera focuses grantmaking on environmental issues locally and globally.

FUNDING AREAS: Environment, water and air quality, climate change, renewable energy

IP TAKE: This small family foundation is still in its early stages, but Bay Area groups can get involved, even with its more global vision. Send the staff an email with your innovative idea to improve the environment in Northern California.

PROFILE: The Ayrshire Foundation split into two separate foundations in July 2015. The directors working on grantmaking in the Los Angeles area and in Michigan kept the Ayrshire name, while the Northern California directors adopted the new name, the Caldera Foundation. 

Prior to July 2015, Ayrshire supported the following causes: youth, the elderly and disabled, science and the environment, health care, and community culture. Back then, Ayrshire focused on three geographic locations for these topics, including the Bay Area.

Past examples of Ayrshire Foundation support in the Bay Area included youth opportunities, healthcare, community culture, science and the environment, and the elderly disabled—and combinations thereof:

  • $250,000 to the Urban School of San Francisco for its new athletic and performing art center
  • $50,000 to Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA) for its Steyer-Taylor Energy Policy and Finance project
  • $50,000 to College Track for its new Bay Area facility
  • $30,000 to Muttville (San Francisco, CA) to underwrite a new administrative position
  • $25,000 to Presidio Graduate School (San Francisco, CA) for its Cleantech Management Certification Program
  • $15,000 to the Ballet School of San Francisco for financial aid for low-income students
  • $15,000 to Pacific Forest Trust (San Francisco, CA) in support of renewable forest energy
  • $15,000 to Peer Health Exchange (San Francisco, CA) in support of its strategic plan development
  • $10,000 to the Chrysalis Foundation ((San Francisco, CA) for its publication of work on musical theory and mathematics.

Today, the Caldera Foundation is more interested in spreading good ideas, building connections, and pursuing practical solutions in a broader sense. It provides seed funding at early pivotal stages and attracts funding from large social investors. Areas of interest now include the environment, water and air quality, climate change, and renewable energy.

Much is still yet to be seen and understood from Caldera’s new grantmaking structure. This is still a relatively new foundation whose operations and strategy we're learning about. It's not yet clear, for example, which board members from the original Ayrshire Foundation are now directly working on the new Caldera project, or if they will be employing new staff members to handle day-to-day operations.

Yet it is clear that Caldera is taking a more global approach, even in its local giving, than it did while part of the Ayrshire Foundation. Local support from Caldera has gone to the California Academy of Sciences, the California Institute for Biodiversity, Golden Gate National Parks, the Pacific Forest Trust and the San Francisco School Alliance. Its broader geographic scope is shown in its funding for groups working on environmental issues in Israel and Palestine, for example.

Under its new structure, Caldera does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. But it does welcome the opportunity to learn about relevant initiatives. The only way to get in touch is by emailing the foundation at or filling out its online contact form. You can keep up with Caldera's activities and interests by following @calderafound on Twitter.


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