Amy Freeman, Bella Vista Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer, Infants & Families Connecting, San Francisco & San Mateo counties

FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood education and development, Bay Area

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Freeman is a program officer for Bella Vista Foundation via her role as a senior program officer for Pacific Foundation Services. She works closely in grantmaking for four Bay Area foundations that support children and youth.

PROFILE: Amy Freeman is a program officer who early education fundraisers in the Bay Area should know, but she’s kept a pretty low profile. In fact, as part of the senior program staff at Pacific Foundation Services, a philanthropic consulting and planning group, Freeman plays a vital role in the grantmaking process at several Bay Area foundations that have interests in education: Bella Vista, Morris Stulsaft, Margoes and William G. Morris foundations.

Bella Vista focuses on early learning (as does the Morris Stulsaft Foundation). Freeman's grantmaking at the William G. Morris Foundation and Margoes Foundation lack specific early learning guidelines, but their grant-making more broadly supports Bay Area children and youth in a variety of ways. So Freeman knows all about the opportunities and needs in this arena.

Not only do these four foundations have fairly substantial grantmaking footprints, each one has an open application process, and Freeman is the gatekeeper. She’s someone Bay Area nonprofit fundraisers should know, but not just because she works directly with four foundations. Freeman has a long history in Bay Area philanthropy, and she might be willing to offer guidance to nonprofits looking for a place to start.

Before joining PFS in 2011, Freeman was a program officer for the Stuart Foundation and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, both of which deal with youth services, child development and education in California. And Freeman was also the founding executive director of the Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance. In all, she has more than two decades of experience in philanthropy, primarily in the Bay Area.

Freeman’s work at the Bella Vista Foundation is important for child development fundraisers in San Francisco. The foundation’s Infants and Families Connecting Program commands the majority of their $2 million in grants each year to nonprofits in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara counties.

One recent grant, a $945,000 award to a San Jose-based family resource network called Somos Mayfair, came after the nonprofit and Bella Vista established a multi-year working relationship. After receiving modest grant totals in prior years, Somos Mayfair's quantifiable progress made the nonprofit a leading candidate for increased funding.

Clearly, Freeman and Bella Vista like to build partnerships with their grantees and work with them to set and reach goals.