The San Francisco Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the nation and funds a broad range of equity-focused nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.

FOCUS AREAS: Community development, community health, education, arts and culture, environmental projects

IP TAKE: Equity is at the heart of everything TSFF does, especially as it relates to low-income communities and people of color.

PROFILE: Established in 1948, The San Francisco Foundation is an active funder of nonprofit organizations throughout the entire Bay Area. It is based in San Francisco, California and aims to mobilize “resources and acts as a catalyst for change to build strong communities, foster civic leadership, and promote philanthropy.” With an equity-focused agenda, TSFF supports community development, community health, education, arts and culture, and environmental projects.

In mid-2016, the foundation revamped its grantmaking strategy to focus on racial and economic equality. In recent years, the San Francisco Foundation made a push in its education and arts programs to support organizations that benefit full-service community schools. Education grant proposals should focus on early childhood programs and ways to increase parental involvement. The environmental program's framework has focused on responding to climate change in the Bay Area, increasing access to fresh foods, protecting clean water, providing access to nature, and ensuring a fossil fuel-free future. Art grants have supported the Bay Area Documentary Film Fund and the Art Awards program, as well as cultural hubs, art in schools, next generation artists, and amplification of underrepresented voices. Community grants are often focused on job training, and employable skill building. Foreclosure prevention and providing quality affordable housing are also key topics. Health support has gone towards disaster preparedness, access to healthcare, prevention, and health policy.

Typically, The San Francisco Foundation provides grants of $10,000 to $60,000. On rarer occasions, the Foundation will award grants over $60,000. Learn about past grantees in the funder’s press releases. TSFF provides support to San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo counties.

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications at specific times of the year. It indicates on its website whether a current grant cycle is open. In the past, equity awards have been made in October. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at programs@sff.org or 415-733-8500.

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