Sakana Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW:  The Sakana Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Bay Area couple Bill and Sakurako Fisher. The foundation invests in arts and cultural institutions in the Bay Area.

IP TAKE:  The foundation keeps a low public profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education

PROFILE: The Sakana Foundation is an independent foundation based in San Francisco, California. Its founder, Bill Fisher, is a son of Gap founders Don and Doris Fisher. He attended Princeton and Stanford and has served in various roles at Gap, as well as managing partner of Manzanita Capital, a London based private equity firm. He and his wife Sakurako, also a Stanford graduate, conduct their philanthropy through the Sakana Foundation, which awarded around $2.7 million in a recent year. In a previous year, the foundation awarded more than $10 million, but the bulk of that went to a donor advised fund. The couple’s grantmaking interests include education and arts and culture.  

Preferring a low public profile, the Sakana Foundation does not operate a website. The couple’s Bay Area giving via the foundation heavily focuses on arts and cultural institutions. The Fisher family has deep ties to the San Francisco Symphony (SFS), on whose board Doris has served since 1980. Sakurako joined the SFS board in 1992 and is currently the board of governors’ president. Through the Sakana Foundation, the couple has supported SFS, as well as the Exploratorium, Museum of the African Diaspora, Asian Art Museum, and Counterpulse, which provides space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovation. The Fishers have also supported their mutual alma mater Stanford, as well as UC Berkeley.

Grant sizes in a recent year ranged from as low as $5,000 to $199,000. Learn more about this funder’s recent giving by examining its tax records. Grantmaking is largely focused on San Francisco and the Bay Area of California.

This foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits, as it only funds pre-selected organizations. The phone number to reach the foundation staff is 415-288-0540.


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