Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: Most Valley Foundation grants are awarded to education and Catholic organizations in the Bay Area. Proposals for health care, local parks, and youth programs are considered as well. Nonprofits benefiting Alameda and Contra Costa counties are given preferential treatment during the grant selection process.

FUNDING AREAS: Education at all levels, Catholic organizations, medical research, health care, parks and recreation, and youth programs

IP TAKE: Since the Valley Foundation is terminating in September 2018, the board of directors is approving larger grant awards than usual. Pitch a capital grant proposal to build your new facility or upgrade your equipment, because these are major components of the wind-down strategy.

PROFILE: You only have a little more time to get involved with the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation before its philanthropic involvement is a thing of the past. After Wayne and Gladys passed away, the board of directors unanimously voted in 2003 to terminate the foundation with a 15-year wind-down process. The wealthy couple made their fortune through success in the residential homebuilding market of the East Bay, so that's where a majority of the foundation funds are directed. To implement this wind-down process, the foundation is awarding grants that are larger than usual. And unlike many foundations in the area, Valley actually wants to fund your capital improvement project to construct a new facility and upgrade equipment.

The Valley Foundation is focused on making a long-term impact within a short span of time. The foundation is accepting proposals for a variety of educational programs, ranging from early childhood education, vocational schools, and public and private universities. As devout Catholics, Wayne and Gladys directed that a good portion of foundation funds be sent to Catholic organizations as well. Grants are sometimes awarded for programs aimed at improving medical research, health care, park recreation, and youth services in the Bay Area, although there isn't as much of a budget for these areas of interest. Nonprofits benefiting Alameda and Contra Costa counties are given preferential treatment during the grant selection process.

A tightly knit board and staff have been running the foundation since the couple's death, and they meet four times a year to consider grant applications. After submitting an application, you'll hear back within three to six months. Don't bother submitting an application for individual funding, fundraising, political lobbying, for-profit groups, labor groups, private operating foundations, or organizations outside the United States.

At the end of a fiscal period, the foundation reported over $454 million in assets and over $27 million in total giving. But the clock is ticking for the Valley Foundation, and huge capital building grants are being spread around the Bay Area. The Foundation emphasizes capital grants (bricks and mortar, facility, and equipment) as a major component of its wind-down.

When applying for a Valley Foundation grant, make it short and to the point. The board doesn't like to be bothered with lengthy applications that beat around the bush. The application process is pretty straightforward. The staff will review any application that comes its way, as long as it's submitted by mail. The foundation has a policy to not respond to email applications or meet with a non-profit organization before an application is reviewed. You'll need to mail your application to Executive Director Michael D. Desler's attention at the Oakland office to be considered. General inquiries can be directed to 510-466-6060 or info@wgvalley.org.

PEOPLE:

  • Michael D. Desler, Executive Director

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