Morris Stulsaft Foundation

OVERVIEW: Morris Stulsaft Foundation has a strict focus on children and youth causes in the low-income areas of the Bay Area of California.

FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood education, participation in the arts, pathways to work, educational support for children

IP TAKE: MSF has historically supported young adults up to 24 years old and is an approachable grantmaker to know for Bay Area nonprofits.

PROFILE: Established in 1953, the Morris Stulsaft Foundation is a funder of child and youth causes in the Bay Area. Stulsaft was a European immigrant who arrived in San Francisco as a boy. He found success in the local real estate industry and funneled his fortune into foundation philanthropy. Between 1995 and 2015, the foundation made 2,450 grants totaling about $25 million to Bay Area groups that serve local youth. Grantmaking interests are early childhood education, participation in the arts, pathways to work, and educational support for children.

Some aspects of MSF youth funding extend to young adults as old as 24. The foundation’s top priorities include effective leadership and innovative programs that support low- income children and youth. MSF’s supports foster care programs that help young people between ages five and 24 who are or have been in foster care. The foundation’s job program focuses on youth and supports programs that lead youth to careers in high-demand fields, like health care and construction. The early childhood education program at MSF involves engaging parents and caregivers and supporting the professional development of early childhood teachers. Infant, toddler, and pre-school centers should pitch programs that encourage parent involvement and serve kids from birth to five years old. Teacher training programs should incorporate movement, sensory perceptions, creativity, and outdoor experiences. And finally, MSF’s arts program targets under-served youth, and grants are awarded to programs connected to a school or school district. The foundation considers both in-school and after-school programs.

Most foundation grants are between $10,000 or $20,000. Past grants have been as low as $1,000 and as high as $50,000. Learn more about past local giving in the funder’s 990 forms. As a general rule, grantmaking is limited to the five San Francisco Bay Area counties of Alameda, Marin, northern San Mateo (extending south to Redwood City), San Francisco, and west Contra Costa. Most funding is program support, but it considers capital requests on an invitation-only basis. It does not consider multi-year grant requests but it may consider subsequent requests for up to three consecutive years.

The Stulsaft Foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests, and each program area has its own deadlines. To apply for an MSF grant, nonprofits use an online grants management portal. To get in touch, contact the staff at 415-561-6540 or Executive Director Derek Aspacher at daspacher@pfs-llc.net.

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