Satterberg Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder mainly backs local organizations in Washington State, but California organizations that promote a just society and a sustainable environment also receive funding. Unsolicited applications are accepted for its core grants program.

FUNDING AREAS: Societal justice, environmental sustainability

IP TAKE:  This funder has been into capacity building in a big way in recent years. But it's a key foundation to know for Northwest environmental and activist groups.

PROFILE: The Satterberg Foundation is a family foundation in Seattle, Washington. It was first inspired by Virginia (Ginny) Satterberg Pigott Helsell, and the board came together in 1990 with a mission to improve Pacific Northwest communities through focused grantmaking. Grantmaking began in 1991 with $13,916 in grants and grew to $22 million over the course of 24 years. You can learn more about William A. Helsell and Ginny Helsell in their obituaries.

The foundation mostly backs causes in Washington, although some grants are awarded in California, as well. Satterberg promotes a just society and a sustainable environment in the Pacific Northwest. In a recent year, it gave $17.6 million to groups in Washington and $4.5 million to California. Current financial data is available here.

There are four grantmaking programs. The only one that accepts unsolicited inquiries is the core support grants program. These are multi-year, general operating support grants. However, it's recommended that you reach out to the foundation before submitting an unsolicited inquiry. These grants are up to $100,00 per year for up to three years.

The foundation typically hosts info sessions when opening up a new core grants cycle, and due dates are different for Washington and California groups. Approximately the same amount of money is awarded for Building a Just Society and Building a Sustainable Environment. To be eligible for these grants, your organization must have a current year annual expense budget under $5 million. Detailed information about how to apply for these grants and the deadline are available here.

In addition to these core support grants, Satterberg supports community partnerships, which represent multi-year funding for cornerstone organizations in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Invitational grants and family awards are single-year grants initiated by board members and family members. The foundation has given recent grants between $2,000 and $50,000. A list of past grants and amounts is available here.

The Satterberg Foundation’s founding executive director, Mary Pigott, now serves as the president of the Norcliffe Foundation in Seattle. Today, Satterberg is led by an executive director, grants manager and three program officers. General questions can be directed to the staff at 206-441-3045 or via online form. Keep up with the funder and its grants at its news section.  

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