Fleishhacker Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Fleishhacker Foundation gives to visual and performing arts nonprofits and education groups focused on K-5 literacy in the Bay Area.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, pre-collegiate education

IP TAKE: This is a good funder to know for local artists because it provides money for artists’ fees for creative time, production costs, and exhibition and installation costs across a wide range of disciplines.

PROFILE: Established in 1947, the Fleishhacker Foundation aims to improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mortimer Fleishhacker Sr. was a banker and businessman who was active in the Bay Area philanthropic community. The only contribution that the foundation made for a period of 30 years was a building at Market Street and Van Ness Avenue that hosted ballroom dances and orchestra music above an auto showroom. After Fleishhacker’s death, the board of directors made grants in the fields of art and music to prominent San Francisco organizations. Today, there are two funding programs at Fleishhacker: arts and culture and pre-collegiate education.

These have been the two priorities since the early 1990s. Fleishhacker’s arts program primarily supports mid-sized organizations for artistic development activities. All disciplines of the performing and visual arts are considered for grants. Most awards are made through the foundation’s Small Arts Grants program. This program considers organizations based in and offering programming to the Bay Area with budgets between $100,000 and $750,000. Grant awards are typically between $1,000 and $10,000 and go toward artists’ fees for creative time, production costs, performances, exhibition and installation costs for visual, media, or interdisciplinary arts, post production costs for films, and projects that aid an arts organization’s overall artistic development. Special Arts Grants are made to organizations with budgets between $750,000 and $2.5 million, including film projects, artistic collaborations or commissions involving local artists, and upgrading facilities to benefit artists and audiences. Grant amounts are typically between $10,000 and $25,000. Again, only Bay Area groups are considered for these grants.

Meanwhile, the foundation’s education program supports very specific types of public education causes in the Bay Area. Some of the focal points of Fleishhacker education giving are stretched budgets, limited access to outside resources, and the achievement gap between high and low-income students. The funder is also interested in assisting English language learners and supporting K-5 literacy for disadvantaged students. The foundation has been almost exclusively focusing education grantmaking on the K-15 demographic for literacy programs for disadvantaged students. These grants are made once a year in the spring.

Overall, foundation grants are typically between $1,000 and $25,000. View lists of recent grants on the funder’s website. Foundation giving focuses on San Francisco and the Bay Area of California.

The Fleishhacker Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits. It requires these letters prior to submitting a full application. There are typically two grant cycles each year for spring and fall decisions. The grant application process is conducted entirely online. Direct general inquiries to Executive Director Christine Elbel at 415-561-5350 or info@fleishhackerfoundation.org.

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