James and Rebecca Morgan Family Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The James and Rebecca Morgan Family Foundation has a Northern California focus and primarily makes grants supporting children and youth, education, the environment, and stewardship. In a recent year, around $4.7 million went out of the door.

FUNDING AREAS: Children & Youth, Education, Environment, Stewardship

IP TAKE: Environmental causes in the Bay Area are a particularly big deal for this funder.  

PROFILE: The Morgan Family Foundation was established in 1993 by James C. Morgan, former chairman of the board and CEO of Applied Materials, and his wife Becky Q. Morgan, a former California senator. The foundation focuses its grantmaking on youth and children, education, the environment and stewardship. Grantees are primarily in California, and even more specifically in Northern California where the couple has strong roots.

According to Becky Morgan, the foundation president: 

Our shared goal is to see a return on our investments measured by lives changed and communities transformed. The impact of our philanthropy will be seen in young people reaching their educational goals and making responsible life choices, in natural resources protected to aid in the balance of nature and to bring enjoyment to people today and in the future, and to see issues thought to be intractable becoming manageable when addressed by regional stewards through collaboration.

Much of the Morgan couple’s grantmaking focuses on strengthening communities through collaboration and developing nonprofit leadership. This is not a funder that shies away from early-stage ideas.

The foundation's website is accessible, has a list of fairly recent grants, and even a document of guiding principles. Unfortunately, the Morgan Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals or LOIs.

The foundation's Youth grantmaking area "supports programs that address the developmental needs of youth and their families." A major grantee in this area is Teen Success, a Milpitas-based outfit which Becky chairs and played a role in founding. Teen Success has the goal of transforming "the lives of underserved teen mothers and their children by helping them become educated, self-sufficient, valued members of society." Other recent grants have gone to outfits such as Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), and Boy Scouts of America Santa Clara County Council. (Click here for a full list of recent youth grantees).

The Morgan Family Foundation's education grantmaking has involved such outfits as Eastside College Preparatory School, Teach for America Bay Area, and Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research(SIEPR). Becky Morgan has an MBA from Stanford. Philanthropy has also involved San Jose State University, and the foundation has provided multi-year funding for the San Jose State University Collaborative for Reaching & Teaching the Whole Child’s (CRTWC).The specific goals of the project are to "prepare new teachers with an understanding of how their own social-emotional needs and skills as educators impact their responses to students"; and to "prepare teachers who know how to embed social-emotional learning (SEL) skills into their curriculum and management of the classroom, helping their students become resilient and able to thrive in academic work and beyond." (Click here for a full list of recent education grantees.)

The couple has also been strongly interested in environmental issues and cofounded Northern Sierra Partnership, a "collaborative initiative to preserve, restore, and enhance the magnificent natural landscape of the Northern Sierra Nevada, and build the foundation for sustainable rural economies." The Morgan Family Foundation's environment program supports "efforts to protect wilderness areas and natural resources, preserve cultural heritage, and create lifelong stewards of the environment." Apart from Northern Sierra Partnership, money has also gone to Nature Conservancy, where Morgan sits on the board of Nature Conservancy of California. Other grantees include Environmental Volunteers in Palo Alto, and Outward Bound in San Francisco. (Click here for a full list of recent environment grantees.)

The Morgan Family Foundation also makes grants through its stewardship program area. By "stewardship," the foundation means supporting "efforts to strengthen communities and regions through existing and new organizations." Collaboration is key here and Morgan wants to "forge collaborative, multi-sector models of stewardship for economic, environmental, social, and governance improvements."

The Morgan Family Foundation launched the California Stewardship Network to "develop and support innovative regional solutions to California’s most pressing economic, environmental, and community challenges." Currently, twelve regions are participating in the California Stewardship Network (CSN). In Northern California, these include Sonoma County and Silicon Valley. (Click here for a full list of recent Stewardship grantees.) This Stewardship Network may be a way in for grantseekers. Since 2012, CSN has partnered with California Forward to launch a bi-annual California Economic Summit and in advance of these meetings are regional forums. 

Assorted grants have also gone to arts and culture efforts such as Asian Art Museum, and TheatreWorks and to health outfits in the Bay Area such as Bay Area Cancer Connections.

The general phone number is (650) 941-8802 and Program Officer Lisa Downey can be reached at Lisa@morganfamilyfoundation.org.

PEOPLE:

  • James C. Morgan, Chair, Treasurer & Director
  • Rebecca Q. Morgan, President and Director
  • Linda Verhulp, Executive Director

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