Neda Nobari Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Neda Nobari Foundation promotes social and environmental justice through arts and education. The foundation has several different focus areas through which grants are given to Bay Area organizations, as well as organizations in other regions like Southern California and New York. 

FUNDING AREAS: Innovative Arts, Impact Cinema, Earth Advocacy, Holistic Education, Edge Media

IP TAKE: The foundation has a strong web presence and accepts LOIs. Those working within the Iranian-American community may have a leg up. 

PROFILE: Neda Nobari immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1978 when she was 15. She graduated from SF State in 1984 and went on to work at Bebe Stores, where she was once vice chair. She ended her long run at Bebe last decade, and has since turned to philanthropy, establishing the Neda Nobari Foundation, which aims to promote social and environmental justice through arts and education. 

Nobari gave a $5 million gift to SF State to establish the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies (CIDS). CIDS aims to be a platform for new academic programs that foster intellectual engagement with local and global Iranian communities across different disciplines.

One of the Neda Nobari Foundation's focus areas is Holistic Education, by which the foundation means "that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace." The foundation supports San Francisco State University’s Guardian Scholars Program (GSP),  a "comprehensive program of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), in collaboration with the School of Social Work which serves former foster care youth who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees." Other work in the Bay Area includes the Golestan Center for Language Immersion and Cultural Education in Berkeley, which teaches Iranian culture to children.

The foundation also supports Bay Area organizations through its Innovative Arts, Impact Cinema, Earth Advocacy, and Edge Media focus areas. For each focus area, the foundation describes in detail what animates its interest in the area. Part of its arts focus area, for instance, reads:

We at NNF believe that the beauty of art is both a right and a privilege, and our work focuses on democratizing access to the art projects that inspire us each day, bringing together cultures, disciplines, generations, and faiths.

Through these different areas, the Neda Nobari Foundation has supported Bay Area organizations like Beats Rhymes and Life, a community-based organization in Oakland that uses Hip Hop to help youth "heal, grow and lead"; Butimar Productions in Menlo Park, which makes media about the Middle East; environmental movement outfit David Brower Center; and Mother Jones

In a recent tax year, the foundation gave away under $630,000 to some 45 grantees. Of late, grants have rarely exceeded $50,000, and many are in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. For giving cycles, the foundation typically accepts Letters of Interest. Grantseekers should keep appraised of the foundation's contact page for more updates and details. 


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