Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area and California

OVERVIEW: This Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation supports the environment, human health, education, and music in California.

FUNDING AREAS: Environment, human health, education, music

IP TAKE: Local arts and the local environment are the two biggest causes for this funder, so try to touch on these issues in other program areas too.

PROFILE: Established in 1982, the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation is a private foundation based in California. Upon establishment, Clarence Heller and his brother and sister served as trustees of the foundation. After Clarence passed away in 1988, the foundation filled the board with members of the Heller and Mandell families, hired a staff, and in 1990 began full-time operations. Grantmaking includes the environment, human health, education, and music.

Heller combines education and health causes into one category. It also seeks programs that prevent harm to human health from environmental hazards. This program supports planning and development projects that advance environmental and social goals with good environmental practices. It also supports sustainable agricultural and food systems. For its music funding, Heller tends to support programs that encourage the pursuit and accessibility of chamber and symphonic music. It funds community-based ensembles, community music center, schools, and institutes to increase and diversify audiences. The foundation’s education program priorities include helping educators improve teaching skills, and support for environmental and arts education programs. The education program is closely tied to the other two funding areas, but targets children and youth. The foundation trustees occasionally recommend special projects for funding, but these typically fall outside the three focus areas, so grantseekers cannot apply for them directly.

Foundation grants are often between $20,000 and $100,000. Grantseekers can view a list of grantees to better understand this funder’s past support on the Recent Grantees page. Grantmaking largely focuses on the Bay Area and the state of California in general.

The foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits and accepts LOIs throughout the year with no deadlines. There are two rounds of funding each year in May/June and November. Watch the video tutorial for the online application system before getting started. The staff may request a meeting with potential grantees to learn more about a project, and they will also grant access to the full application process if interested. For general questions, email or call 415-989-9839.


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