Yelp Inc. and the Yelp Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Yelp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the San Francisco-based company, Yelp. The company and foundation have interests in basic needs, children and youth, health, access to information, education, economic development, and freedom of expression.

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 a nonprofit noticed. Children and youth causes often see Yelp’s support in the Bay Area.

PROFILE: Established in 2011, the Yelp Foundation is the philanthropic extension of the Yelp company, which is based in San Francisco. Yelp is a multi-national corporation that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses on its website and app. Two former PayPal employees founded the company in 2004. Like many tech companies in the Bay Area, Yelp gives back to its home community through corporate giving, employee commitments, and a philanthropic foundation. Grantmaking interests are basic needs, children and youth, health, access to information, education, economic development, and freedom of expression.

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. Yelp matches donations to charities supported by employees of up to $1,000 per person per year. The company established the Yelp Foundation with one percent of company equity. 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 typically makes between $675,000 and $1 million in grants per cycle. Grant amounts are often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is not exclusive to the Bay Area of California, but many grants go into the communities in this part of Northern California.

The Yelp Foundation and the company of Yelp do not appear to accept unsolicited grant applications, and they do not provide any application forms on their websites. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at info@yelpfoundation.org.

PEOPLE:

  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)