Yelp Inc. and the Yelp Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: This San Francisco-based company gives back to the local community and beyond through corporate giving and its philanthropic foundation. Unsolicited grant requests do not appear to be accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Basic needs, children and youth, health, access to information, education, economic development, freedom of expression

IP TAKE: As with many corporate funders, it pays to know an employee at Yelp to get your nonprofit noticed. Children and youth causes often see Yelp’s support in the Bay Area.

PROFILE: Based in San Francisco, California, Yelp is a multi-national corporation that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses on its website and app. The company was founded in 2004 by two former PayPal employees. Like many tech companies in the Bay Area, Yelp gives back to its home community through corporate giving, employee commitments, and a philanthropic foundation.

For several recent years, Yelp was named one of the top corporate givers in the Bay Area. Topics of local interest have included basic needs, such as feeding the hungry, and child care. Yelp has supported efforts to build youth interest in the arts, through programs such as creative writing workshops. The company has historically preferred to support local nonprofits that do more than just raise money, but are deeply connected to the community.

The corporate giving program is a way for Yelp employees in all of its U.S. offices to feel more connected to their communities. Yelp employees are invited to be part of the grantmaking process and vote on where grants should go. But ultimately, the Yelp Foundation makes final determinations.

The Yelp Foundation was established by the company in 2011 with one percent of company equity. It is not exclusive to the Bay Area of California, but many grants go into the community. Funding areas include access to information, education, economic development, and freedom of expression. Support has gone to KIPP Bay Area, Great Hearts, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Room to Read, and the Citizens Engagement Lab Education Fund.

The foundation gave out at least $750,000 through the Yelp Foundation Gives Local community grant program. In addition to foundation grants, Yelp matches donations to charities supported by employees of up to $1,000 per person per year. Since 2011, Yelp Foundation has given over $3 million to charity. It has assets well into in the millions of dollars.

Keep up with the foundation at #YelpFoundation. News updates about recently awarded grants are published on the funder’s website. General questions can be directed to the foundation at Members of the foundation board are Miriam Warren (chairperson), Jeremy Stoppelman, Jed Nachman, Lawrence Wilson, and Lanny Baker. Unsolicited grant requests do not appear to be accepted, and there are no online application forms available for grantseekers.


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