Zellerbach Family Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Zellerbach Family Foundation supports promoting culture, community arts, immigrants and refugees, and human services in the San Francisco Bay Area.

FUNDING AREAS: Promoting culture, community arts, immigrants and refugees, human services

IP TAKE: With the exception of Zellerbach's Community Arts Program, the foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. However, the foundation's website is accessible and provides a list of staff and contact information. 

PROFILE: Established in 1956, the Zellerbach Family Foundation was originally known as the Zellerbach Family Fund. The Zellerbach family traces its U.S. origins to Anthony Zellerbach, who immigrated from Bavaria to the U.S. in the mid-1840s and moved west to California during the Gold Rush. Zellerbach founded his own paper business. Today, the foundation's board consists of members of the Zellerbach family and others. The foundation's philanthropy focuses primarily on the San Francisco Bay Area and aims to be a "catalyst for constructive social change by initiating and investing in efforts that strengthen families and communities. Grantmaking supports culture, community arts, immigrants and refugees, and human services.

The Community Arts Program supports local artists who are creating new and innovative work that is representative of the diverse cultures and communities of the Bay Area. The foundation supports projects in areas such as music, dance, visual arts, festivals, and literature. Past Community Arts Program grantees include Alayo Dance Company, African & African American Performing Arts Coalition, and ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco. The foundation's Improving Human Service Systems program area, meanwhile, aims to improve the management, practice, and accountability of public systems serving vulnerable children and families. Current grantmaking program includes mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice service systems. The Zellerbach Family Foundation also makes grants through its Immigrants and Refugees program. Recent grantees Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach and Centro Legal de la Raza, and Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Finally, Promoting Culture grants go towards ensuring that artists and audiences have opportunities to further the vitality of the arts in the Bay Area.

Overall, this foundation’s grant amounts often range from $1,000 to $75,0000. The Zellerbach Foundation has an accessible website with a full list of recent grants by program area as well as a grants map. The San Francisco Bay Area is the sole geographic focal point of this foundation.

The foundation accepts unsolicited applications only for its community arts program. All other grants are made by invitation only. Historically, submission periods are scheduled for March, June, September, and December. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 415-421-2629 or to individual staff members via email.


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