Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment is an Oakland-based funder that supports environmental and health causes, as well as some civic interests. 

FUNDING AREAS: Environment, consumer protection, public health, youth leadership, environmental justice

IP TAKE: Many of the best opportunities here for Bay Area grantseekers are in watershed protection, local wildlands and environmental conservation.

PROFILE: Established in 1992, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment raises money for grants, works directly in local schools and the community, and engages at policy research and advocacy at all levels. This is the Oakland, California-based foundation of Jill Ratner and Tim Little, and they established it memory of Rose Ratner. The foundation’s grantmaking programs are organized into separate funds, each with its own mission and geographic scope. State and federal courts have appointed the foundation to be a trustee of over 300 restitution and cy pres funds that are tied to consumer and environmental issues. Grantmaking supports organizations that conduct work related to the environment, consumer protection, public health, youth leadership, and environmental justice.

This is a grantmaking public charity that has to raise the money it gives away for grants each year. Its funding comes from donations, grants from other foundations, legal restitution payments and cy pres funds. Pooled grantmaking is made in partnership with other foundations, such as the Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund. The Rose Foundation also works with individual donors to establish donor advised funds. Finally, fiscal sponsorship grantmaking funds fresh ideas, emerging projects and the creation of new organizations. Environmental grants are a huge part of this funder’s strategy. There are two grassroots funds in California: Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund and the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund. The foundation also supports groups that promote issues of consumer privacy and financial education. Finally, the Rose Foundation has partnered with the David and Lucile Packard, James Irvine, and the William and Flora Hewlett foundations on the Community Leadership Project to build the capacity of community organizations that serve low-income people and communities of color.

Foundation grants often range from $1,000 to $25,000. Grantseekers can learn about past grantees in the Grants Database and sort by grantee name, fund, or year. Grantmaking prioritizes the Bay Area of California. However, some support goes to Southern California, Washington state, and Oregon too.

The Rose Foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests from nonprofits at certain times for certain funds. Check out the How to Apply page for instructions for online grant submissions and how to use the foundation’s online grant system. Several of its grantmaking funds are on this system. Direct general questions to the executive director, Tim Little, at or 510-658-0702.


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