OVERVIEW: The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation recently went through a restructuring process and now supports arts and culture, environment, reproductive rights and health, citizen participation, inclusiveness, and the strength of the philanthropic process and the nonprofit sector in the San Francisco Bay Area.
FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, environment, reproductive rights and health, citizen participation, inclusiveness, strength of the philanthropic process and the nonprofit sector
IP TAKE: Although Gerbode’s local arts program gets the most public attention, this funder has wide interests.
PROFILE: Established in 1961, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation is a San Francisco-based grantmaking foundation. This is the foundation formed by Martha Alexander Gerbode, a descendant of the Alexander missionary family, who helped create one of the biggest sugar companies in Hawaii, known as Alexander & Baldwin. Martha was a bold and passionate activist who supported new and sometimes unpopular ideas, and her foundation carries on that same traditions today. She named the foundation after her son, who was killed in an automobile accident as a teenager. The foundation’s areas of interest include arts and culture, environment, reproductive rights and health, citizen participation, inclusiveness, strength of the philanthropic process and the nonprofit sector, and other special initiatives.
In 1987, the foundation established a special grantmaking program specifically for San Francisco Bay Area artists. These grants are targeted at artists who are at critical junctures in their careers and programs that help nonprofit organizations premier new works and enrich Bay Area audiences. These award cycles are announced in May each year, with applications due in August and winners announced in January. Past arts and culture grantees include AXIS Dance Company, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Encore Theatre Foundation. Gerbode also partners with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to collaborate on arts funding projects.
Past community affairs grantees include the California Voter Foundation and the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network. Local environmental and conservation grantees include Baykeeper, Outdoor Circle Central Organization, and the Urban Habitat Program. Reproductive rights grants tend to go to national and worldwide organizations, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and the Global Fund for Women, Inc. Gerbode also sends funds to other local foundations like the San Francisco Foundation, Pacific Links Foundation, and the Hawaii Community Foundation. The foundation has funded programs related to death and dying and reproductive rights on a national and global scale as well. Public policy and advocacy efforts have been at the heart of Gerbode grantmaking.
Grants typically range from $1,250 to $100,000, with a majority of grants around $35,000. View a list of recent grants here. Almost all Gerbode grantmaking takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii. The primary geographical focus has been on Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. The foundation does not fund direct services, private schools, general operating support, fundraising campaigns, building and equipment funds, scholarships, or religious purposes.
Although the foundation used to accept unsolicited letters of inquiry on an ongoing basis, it no longer welcomes these funding requests. Direct general inquiries to the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 510-982-4788.
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