Stuart Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Stuart Foundation was established upon the fortune of Carnation evaporated milk and awards education and child welfare grants throughout California and Washington. Most grants are between $50,000 and $100,000, and unsolicited Letters of Inquiry are accepted throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Public education, education reform, child welfare

IP TAKE: This foundation has a very targeted approach to grantmaking so anything outside the realm of public education and the foster care system won’t likely be considered.

PROFILE: When’s the last time you whipped up a recipe that called for Carnation evaporated milk? Elbridge Stuart was an industrialist who co-founded the Carnation Company and created this enduring product. With his fortune, he created the Stuart Foundation through the merger of three family trusts, transitioning to an independent family foundation in 1985. It’s a San Francisco-based private foundation that makes grants in both California and Washington to address issues affecting children, youth, families, the foster care system and public schools. Since that time, it’s contributed millions in grants to benefit youth in these two states.

Stuart's straties are focused on student-centered learning, professional and social capital, and state level alignment. In the past, the foundation has been particularly interested in funding programs for school leadership development and the use of youth and parent-serving organizations. At the end of a recent year, the foundation had $522 million in assets and awarded over $25 million in grants. The grant payouts have risen steadily from $11.3 million in 2004.

While the Stuart Foundation has traditionally accepted unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits, individual and capital campaigns are ineligible. You can learn more about the partnerships it invests in here.

Past Bay Area grants include $268,000 to the Teaching Channel in Alameda, $200,000 to the San Francisco Unified School District, $180,000 to the Oakland Unified School District, and $150,000 to First Place for Youth. Almost all grants are awarded for six months or two years and are between $20,000 to $200,000.

Curious about where the Stuart Foundation staff report to work? Architecture and design firm HOK revamped the foundation’s 12,500-square-foot office a few years ago with a “modern-traditional” vibe that encourages collaboration through public spaces that link private spaces together. The office was featured in several interior design magazines.

General questions about the grantmaking process can be called in to 415-393-1551. Check out the funder's latest reports on the Publications and Resources page.


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