Laurel Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Laurel Foundation's Bay Area grantmaking focuses on health, education, and other select causes. A key component for this funder is supporting Lyme disease research, a personal cause.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, education and youth, environment and animals

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low-profile and does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. Networking will be key for getting on this funder's radar.

PROFILE: Established in 1995, the Laurel Foundation the philanthropic vehicle of Laure L. Woods, who has worked as a clinical researcher for Bay Area pharmaceutical companies such as like Matrix Pharmaceutical and Genelabs Technologies. Woods is on the board of the L.K. Whittier Foundation, a charity which focuses on Southern California. Woods is also president of the board of directors of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and she herself suffers from late-stage Lyme disease. The Laurel Foundation’s grantmaking areas of interest are health, education, youth, environment, and animals.

Woods, via her foundation, has directed millions of dollars to the Bay Area Lyme Fund. One $5 million grant helped fund scientific research related to Lyme disease, the preparation of educational and outreach materials about Lyme disease, and to help offset the costs of treatment for low-income people suffering from the disease. Woods has also supported places like Lymelight Foundation, Breast Cancer Action, and Ravenswood Family Health Center. This funder's Bay Area grantmaking also touches youth and education organizations. Grantees have included Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, Eastside College Preparatory School, Youth Alive, Youth Community Service, and California Family Foundation to support Beechwood School in Menlo Park. Woods also supports environment and animal organizations in the Bay Area and it is worth noting that she holds a bachelor's degree from UC Davis in animal science. Grantees have included Helen Woodward Animal Center, Environmental Volunteers, Marine Mammal Center, and Wildcare. Some of this work focuses in on environmental education. A grant to Victory Ranch, for instance, supported a horse education program. 

Most foundation grants are under $50,000 each, and the funder awarded approximately $2.4 million in grants in a recent year. Learn more about foundation giving by examining its recent tax records. Grantmaking is largely focused on the Bay Area including the cities of San Jose, East Palo Alto, Sausalito, Menlo Park, and Oakland.

The foundation has a minimal web presence, making it tough to ascertain exactly what Woods looks for in her grantees. However, it does not appear that this foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. The phone number for the foundation is 626-441-5188.

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