Goal and Objectives

We believe that every person should enjoy a level of health that allows them to develop themselves fully.  Having good health is critical to being able to participate in learning, working, contributing to your family and community and reaching your fullest potential.  Neighborhoods filled with environmental toxins, high crime rates, minimal access to healthy food and exercise,  and barriers for educational attainment and employment have a dramatic effect on health.  Health insurance coverage and access to cultural and linguistically appropriate primary care are critical to diagnosing and treating disease and improving health.

We believe that the social determinants of health listed above and lack of health care put some communities at heightened risk and, in some cases, lead to shortened life spans.  These health disparities are fundamentally unjust and remediable.

We believe that the opportunities brought about by health care reform to cover uninsured Americans, increasing access to culturally and linguistically appropriate primary care, and having healthy food and opportunities to exercise can, over time, reduce health disparities and support people of color or low income communities to live fuller, healthier, life spans.

With over 6.8 million Californians lacking health insurance, Bay Area residents face multiple barriers to accessing affordable health care. The passage of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and it’s enabling legislation in the state of California have created  a unique opportunity to expand access to health care for low income individuals. Implementation of the sweeping legislation will require the collective efforts of the public and private sector, philanthropy, healthcare policy and advocacy organizations, and other nonprofit organizations to be sure that key provisions of the new healthcare law provide access to quality healthcare for underserved populations.

Health is more than access to health care. Low-income communities and communities of color bear the heaviest burden of disease and poor health status due to both individual behavior and the social determinants of health – environmental, economic, educational, and social factors – that contribute to these inequities in health status. Health providers and policy makers are increasingly focused on prevention and improving the health of underserved communities by going beyond the healthcare setting to address these root causes of health inequity.

Theory of Change
The San Francisco Foundation believes funding organizations that increase insurance and utilization of health care, combined with community based prevention, can reduce health disparities and promote equity among Bay Area residents.

Goal: We invest in efforts to reduce health disparities among populations experiencing the highest burden of chronic diseases by expanding access to services, promoting community-based prevention, and capturing the promise of health care reform by insuring more low-income Americans.

Objective One: Policy and Advocacy
Support policy and advocacy efforts to implement health reform to insure that underserved populations have access to culturally competent, quality, and affordable healthcare. Support collaborations that identify people who are, or will be, eligible for for insurance coverage due to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), provide culturally competent information on coverage options and assistance on how to qualify and enroll in newly available ACA-expanded health insurance.


  • Invest in education efforts to educate uninsured communities and individuals on how to understand and enroll in newly ACA financed health insurance.
  • Invest in advocacy efforts to eliminate barriers to effective implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Invest in collaborations between institutions that provide services to uninsured populations (i.e. food banks, job training programs, multi-service providers) and organizations that directly enroll, or enroll clients through the California Covered Exchange.

Objective Two: Community Investment
Invest in community clinics and other healthcare safety net providers to assure access to culturally competent, quality, and affordable healthcare for populations experiencing the greatest health inequity.


  • Invest in community-based clinics and other healthcare safety net providers to expand access.
  • Invest in the use of culturally and linguistically competent health workers to implement evidence-based strategies.

Objective Three: Community Investment
Invest in community-based organizations, community leaders, and public health departments to plan and implement community prevention activities to reduce chronic disease rates and reduce health disparities.


  • Invest in planning and capacity building efforts that engage community-based organizations, community leaders, and public health agencies to collaborate on community prevention strategies.
  • Invest in organizations that help communities with high rates of chronic disease to increase the volume and variety of culturally respectful fresh foods and vegetables that are consumed.
  • Invest in organizations that use peer and volunteer led models to increase physical activity in communities with high rates of chronic diseases.

Using restricted trusts, the Community Health Program funds organizations that serve the following special populations/programs on an invitation-only basis:

  • Cancer care for indigent patients
  • Mental health services
  • Services for amputees
  • Services for the visually and hearing impaired
  • Nursing students/education
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Seniors

What we no longer fund

  • Direct services for oral healthcare
  • Direct services for substance abuse either in the inpatient or outpatient setting
  • Clinics with limited hours of operation
  • Programs targeting single disease, such as arthritis, muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s
  • Complementary and alternative medicine and therapies
  • Community gardens, farm stands, and farmers’ markets (Our Environment Program funds related programs)

Where we fund
All Community Health grants are made to organizations serving residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, or San Mateo Counties.