OVERVIEW: This Silicon Valley funder supports social justice and social entrepreneurship in the Bay Area and beyond. Other areas of interest are equity, poverty, film, and mindfulness.
FUNDING AREAS: Social justice, peace, mindfulness, poverty, equity
IP TAKE: Film is at the heart of this foundation. This isn’t a standard foundation with grantmaking cycles. But it doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself and your social justice cause if you’re in the Bay Area.
PROFILE: The Elfenworks Foundation is affiliated with Elfenworks Productions, LLC, a multimedia production company dedicated to awareness-raising projects in-house and for nonprofits. Its mission is to help hope grow by encouraging changemakers and supporting innovative solutions. Established in 2006, the foundation is based in San Mateo, California.
Although this foundation supports groups nationwide, it is based in the Bay Area and much of its grantmaking stays here. It has supported partners in education, law, media, policy, and grassroots organizations. Helping people cope with stress and social justice filmmaking are also of importance to this group.
The foundation makes the following statement on its website:
We’re doers, not financiers. Rather than a “fund this cause” model, we follow a “roll up our sleeves, join together, and innovate a solution” model. We also teach our methodology, and foster its adoption.
You can watch a video on the Elfenworks website to learn more about its approach to funding. In short, it has adopted a Seven Pillar methodology: follow your vision, use your special skills, address a chasm, work in partnership, share the credit, measure for feedback, and stay the course.
The foundation’s final major grant established the Elfenworks Center for Employment Justice at Golden Gate University. This solidified its shift from a donor-focused policy to a working-partnership-based one. Elfenworks is open to grant requests from researchers who want to study the impact of the Butterfly MBSR. MSBR stands for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and Breathing Butterfly is Elfenworks’ app to help young people relax and find calm.
Otherwise, this funder has a full roster of partners it’s already tied up with. Past support has gone to establish a social justice film award, various social entrepreneurship efforts, employment justice, and vulnerable populations, and poverty law. In the Bay Area, Elfenworks has recently funded the efforts of visionary local women working in the fields of youth entrepreneurship, minorities in the technology industry, and hygiene for the homeless.
- Lauren Speeth, CEO
- Kenneth Tam, Executive Director
- Kelly Madsen Shaw, Project Manager
- Marian Brown Sprague, Project Consultant