S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation: Grants for Northern California

OVERVIEW: The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation awards grants to California programs focused on education, with an emphasis on STEM topics, and the environment.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, environment, nonprofit capacity-building

IP TAKE: This foundation is spending down all of its assets by 2020, so now is the last opportunity to get involved with Betchel.

PROFILE: Established in 2005, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation is a private foundation based in San Francisco, California. The founder, Stephen D. Bechtel, always loved science, the outdoors, and California. He is the third generation in the family's global construction and engineering business, and he also established individual foundations for each of the children and grandchildren in his large family to keep the Bechtel tradition of giving alive for generations to come. Grantmaking focuses on education and the environment.

For education, Bechtel has targeted the youngest kids in its grantmaking, teaming up with Sesame Street to promote STEM education though interactive games, videos, and hands-on activities. The foundation has also joined forces with other area philanthropies to implement common core state standards for math in the K-8 demographic. For the environment, Bechtel has funded proposals that promise to improve management, stewardship and conservation of water and land in California through research, developing and scaling up model programs, supporting best practices, and sound policies. Water grants support scientifically backed decision-making, and in particular partnerships among stakeholders. Related to land management, priorities are split between bolstering state protection systems like the state parks and encouraging private land owners to be better stewards. Recently, the funder has also been focusing on nonprofit capacity-building efforts to strengthen local groups after the foundation closes its doors.

Annual grantmaking has been between $120 million and $160,000 in recent years. View information about past grants awarded on the funder’s website. Grantmaking is limited to California organizations for both of its funding areas of interest. Northern California and the Bay area are priorities, but Bechtel has funded groups throughout the state.

The foundation is no longer accepting unsolicited letters of inquiry, discouraging letters of inquiry and only accepting and reviewing proposals on an invite-only basis. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 415-284-8675 or information@sdbjrfoundation.org.

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