Rosenberg Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Rosenberg Foundation awards grants to organizations working to improve social and environmental conditions for Californians related to justice and public safety, immigrant and workers’ rights, and civic rights and engagement.

FUNDING AREAS: Justice and public safety, immigrant rights and integration, civic rights and engagement

IP TAKE: Criminal justice reform has been a top priority for the Rosenberg Foundation lately, considering the number of incarcerated Californian women and the high percentage of paroled inmates returning to jail.

PROFILE: Established in 1935, the Rosenberg Foundation is the foundation of Max L. Rosenberg, a San Francisco businessman who died in 1931. His foundation began under the direction of his relatives and business associates who were named trustees in his will. Rosenberg was the president and major shareholder of Rosenberg Brothers & Co., a successful company he and his brothers formed to pack and ship out dried fruit from California. Grantmaking interests are justice and public safety, immigrant rights and integration, and civic rights and engagement.

Some of the foundation’s early work included support to Japanese-American families returning from internment camps and reproductive rights for farm worker women in the Central Valley. Today, the foundation’s priorities have evolved to include justice for farm workers, immigrant rights and integration, and justice and public safety. However, grants are also occasionally made in the areas of accountable development, civil rights and civic participation, and effective philanthropy and nonprofit advocacy. The Rosenberg Foundation collaborates with other California grantmakers to expand impact. Rosenberg has worked with the Ford Foundation, the California Endowment, and others on criminal justice campaigns and the Haas Jr. Fund to support comprehensive immigration reform. The funder also has a Leading Edge Fund to seed and incubate bold new ideas.

Many of this foundation’s grants are between $25,000 and $300,000. Learn more about past giving on the funder’s Our Grantees page. Over the years, the foundation has provided grants to regional, statewide, and national organizations that advocate for social and economic justice throughout California. However, the Bay Area is a major focal point for Rosenberg grantmaking. Grantees should be based in and managing significant activities in California and requests for individuals, general fundraising, and endowment campaigns are not considered.

Although Rosenberg does accept unsolicited letters of inquiry via email, only a few of them receive funding. Most grantees are identified and contacted first by the foundation staff, which is looking for long-term relationships rather than short-term fixes. Rosenberg accepts LOIs at any time with no deadlines. Direct general inquiries to the staff at 415-644-9777 or


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