Silicon Valley Community Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is the biggest community foundation in America, and a major player on the Bay Area's funding scene, funding in a wide range of issues, including economic security, education, immigrant integration, regional planning, and community development. The foundation accepts unsolicited proposals at any time of year if they are submitted through its website.

IP TAKE: This is accessible funder with a grant application process that is straightforward. 

PROFILE: In San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, SVCF is one of the biggest funders of programs in the areas of education, immigrant integration, regional planning, and safety-net services. It works with donors and awards strategic and corporate-advised grants. The funder has begun to include San Francisco nonprofits in its grantmaking as well. 

In recent years, SVCF has made math education a priority, with thousands students benefiting from its education investments. Local school districts, teacher development, and undocumented immigrant familes have been in focus too. This is a funder that doesn't shy away from politics and getting involved in big local issues that align with its grantmaking goals.

The foundation puts up some big numbers — huge, even. What's interesting is that it often does not limit its funding the Silicon Valley or even California, for that matter. In the past few years, SVCF has awarded large grants just outside the Golden State. This is the nation's largest community foundation and it's also been dabbling in international grantmaking. Current financial data, including total assetes and annual giving totals, can be found on the foundation's financial page.

The foundation offers local grants based on its larger granmaking strategies: 

  • Economic security -  programs that provide people with financial education as well as opportunities to save, invest and protect family wealth
  • Eduation - programs that improve mathematics instruction in middle school through professional development of teachers and that provide students who are falling behind with high quality, extended learning opportunities after school and during the summer.
  • Immigration - programs that help immigrants learn English through high-quality vocational and English as a Second Language (V/ESL) courses
  • Building strong communities - programs that help shape land use and transportation plans and encourage residents to get involved in the design of their communities

SVCF offers a straightforward process for grant applications. It releases requests for proposals throughout the year, so it's important to keep an eye on those updates. This is also where you'll find other funding opportuniies from SVCF's partnerships, such as giving circles and special funds.

The application process is completed via online portal, so you'll need to register your organization on the foundation's webpage. Grant applications are no longer accepted through email or postal mail. You can view lists of past grantees on each funding area's program page.

General questions can be directed to the foundation staff at grants@siliconvalleycf.org. Keep up with what the leadership cares most about by following the CEO's blog and check out the foundation's calendar for upcoming events.

PEOPLE:

  • Emmett Carson, President and CEO
  • Manuel Santamaria, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Grantmaking
  • Gina Dalma, Special Advisor to the CEO for Public Policy
  • Rafael Morales, Program Officer (Economic Security)
  • Vu-Bang Nguyen, Program Officer (Regional Planning)
  • Navin Moul, Program Officer (Immigration)
  • Sarah Davidson, Program Officer
  • Valerie Cuevas, Senior Program Officer (Education)

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