Sobrato Family Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Sobrato Family Foundation supports education, health, human services, employment training, youth development, housing, capacity building agencies, and early literacy in the Silicon Valley of California.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, human services, employment training, youth development, housing, capacity building agencies, early literacy

IP TAKE: This is a metrics-driven foundation with a real estate investment mindset.

PROFILE: Founded in 1996 with a dedication to Santa Clara, San Mateo and Southern Alameda counties, the Sobrato Family Foundation is a place-based grantmaker that provides millions of dollars each year in general operating support, donates land and buildings to community nonprofits, and provides rent-free office and conference space to Bay Area organizations. The family’s history in this region dates back to the early 1910s. Real estate and development are Sobrato businesses. John A. Sobrato, founder and principal of the Sobrato Organization, was one of the most successful private real estate developers in California. Grantmaking funds education, health, human services, employment training, youth development, housing, capacity building agencies, and early literacy.

In 2013, the foundation revamped its mission and started making responsive and strategic grants. In 2014, SFF designed four grantmaking program areas focused on community impact. The 21st Century Education and Pathways for Success grantmaking program are responsive programs and the funder’s primary strategies. This funder is concerned with early academic language, quality school alternatives, charter growth and facilities, and new teacher and school leadership development. Meanwhile, the Pathways for Success category targets programs that develop career ladders to middle-skill jobs and expand middle-skill jobs available. The foundation also awards office space grants and conference center grants to help nonprofits access quality, affordable workspaces in Silicon Valley, where costs are among the highest in the nation. Past support has gone to InnVision Shelter Network, JobTrain Inc., Hands on Bay Area, and Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.

The foundation often awards several million dollars in grants each year. In the past, the bulk of foundation grants has gone to human services, with remaining sums going towards education, health, and public benefit organizations. View the funder’s articles and news section to learn about recent giving. Grantmaking focuses on Silicon Valley and the Bay Area of California.

The foundation accepts unsolicited requests for funding and has an form to complete to help nonprofits determine whether they meet the foundation’s criteria. For example, the foundation typically requires organizations to have a minimum renewable private cash contributed (locally raised) income three-year average of $300,000 and be able to show that more than half of the people serves with programs are economically, physically, or emotionally challenged and reside in the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo, or Southern Alameda. Direct general questions and questions about the grantmaking program to the staff at Grants@Sobrato.org or 408-446-0700.

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