Goal and Objectives

We believe that every family has a right to decent, safe, affordable housing in neighborhoods that offer quality amenities such as transit, parks, access to fresh food, schools and employment without having to pay more than half of their income, drive hours every day or double-up with other families to access housing.

We believe that low-income families, given the opportunity, will save and build assets to become more economically stable and secure.

The high cost of housing in the Bay Area and the mismatch of demand and supply of affordable housing leave low-income families with very few options to live in quality communities and in proximity to employment centers. One out of every five local households does not earn enough to make ends meet and faces damaging choices between paying for housing, utilities, childcare, and healthcare. And, the racial wealth gap is growing. Low-income families end up being trapped in a cycle of not being able to meet basic needs and not having a cushion for emergencies. They pay a higher proportion of their income for housing, financial and other services and, as a result, have a more difficult path to be successful and have a healthy, vibrant life.

Theory of Change
The San Francisco Foundation supports affordable housing because once families are in decent, affordable housing it helps them to feel emotionally secure, reduces stress, improves health, and gives them the stability to improve their employment and education outcomes.

We support efforts that increase savings and assets because they are the critical first steps for families as they seek to become economically secure, resilient and mobile.

The Community Development Program seeks to improve outcomes for low-income families in the Bay Area through affordable housing and increasing their savings and assets.

We invest in organizations and efforts that preserve existing affordable housing, expand the supply of new affordable units and increase the resources (policy, financing, land use and zoning controls) for affordable housing.

We invest in organizations and efforts that expand and scale programs and products that improve the savings, assets and financial behavior of low-income families.

Objective One: Preservation and Expansion of Affordable Housing

Support the expansion, preservation and long-term affordability of quality, affordable housing in location-efficient communities throughout the Bay Area.

Strategies include project support, systems change and innovation:

  • Increase the supply of affordable, location-efficient housing through preservation of existing affordable housing units and creation of new affordable housing.
  • Support innovation and advocacy to create new models for financing affordable housing.
  • Support community organizing and advocacy efforts that develop, protect and implement local, state and federal policies to expand affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, preservation efforts, land-use/zoning, and greater public support for affordable housing.

Objective Two: Increase Savings and Assets

Support the economic security, resiliency and mobility of low-income families by reducing debt, increasing savings, repairing or building credit, and offering low-cost financial services to assist families create a cushion to fall back on for emergencies and to save for other goals such as higher education/training, entrepreneurship and housing.

Strategies include support for expanding the distribution of asset building programs and products, integrating financial education and products and advocacy:

  • Support efforts that integrate asset building services with human services, use platforms such as community schools or family resource centers, etc. for scaling distribution of services and products.
  • Support efforts that integrate financial education and products to help families along the continuum as they move from economic security to mobility.
  • Support efforts that educate decision-makers and expand the resources for asset building programs.

Priority will be given to efforts that:

  • Are rooted in and/or serve residents of high-need neighborhoods, as defined by indicators of unemployment, foreclosure, high housing costs, high crime rates, lack of basic amenities, linguistic or geographic isolation, etc.
  • Specifically address disparities affecting communities of color
  • Use a culturally competent approach to build the self-sufficiency of high-need populations
  • Leverage funding and other investment
  • Integrate and co-locate services, reflecting a holistic approach and understanding of how housing and economic security connect with health, education, youth development, and other issues
  • Use evidence-based and innovative approaches to ending poverty and creating economic self-sufficiency

What we will not fund
The Community Development Program will not fund group homes or residential programs for people with special needs, emergency housing and shelter programs, efforts that are not targeted at lower-income families and individuals, or financial education curricula operating in isolation from other direct services.

Where we fund
All Community Development Program grants are made to organizations serving a majority of very low-, low- and moderate-income families in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, or San Mateo Counties.