Goal and Objectives

Our Goal

The goal of The San Francisco Foundation’s Environment Program is to improve the environmental health and well-being of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable communities, while protecting the region’s natural environment and creating a more equitable region.


Our Theory of Change

We believe that climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and that climate change will disproportionately affect low income communities and communities of color.

We believe that factors such as age, race, income and lack of access to transportation, shelter, energy, food or water will directly affect a community’s ability to prepare for and recover from climate impacts.

We believe that in addition to building sustainable neighborhoods and equitable food, water, energy and transportation systems, we must also address social and economic vulnerability to effectively build community resilience in the face of a changing climate.

We believe that we will not be able to effectively address climate change without correcting society’s inequities.

We believe that we must engage our youth and expose them to nature if we are to preserve our natural resources.


Our Funding Priorities

The following strategies and objectives were developed with the goal of making our communities more equitable and resilient to climate change. Priority will be given to organizations that work across objective areas, integrate climate resilience into their plans and projects, improve a community’s financial wellbeing, work on equity, engage the most vulnerable residents, and provide other co-benefits.


Our Strategies and Objectives

We are seeking proposals that address one or more of the following strategies:

  • Emphasize social, environmental and climate justice
  • Build organizational capacity
  • Reflect the communities they serve and prioritize communities most affected by environmental degradation
  • Work collaboratively with nonprofits, government, businesses and the public
  • Identify solutions and create opportunities
  • Engage in community organizing, advocacy and public policy efforts
  • Provide multiple benefits and advance multiple objectives
  • Leverage additional funds


Objective One: Water equity in times of drought

  • Build organizational capacity to address water quality and water access in vulnerable communities
  • Engage communities to advocate for and shape sustainable water policies, planning and management
  • Promote efforts to protect existing clean water supplies
  • Develop innovative drought solutions
  • Increase green infrastructure in vulnerable communities and engage community members in green infrastructure planning and projects
  • Expand training programs and economic opportunities for low and moderate income people in green infrastructure careers

Objective Two: Clean and affordable energy for all

  • Promote and advocate for clean, efficient, renewable energy
  • Implement energy efficiency, energy reduction and renewable energy programs in low-income communities
  • Advocate for clean, renewable energy programs and policies that are equitable and affordable
  • Develop or advance projects that leverage public agency activities and increase civic participation
  • Promote localized, renewable power generation and green jobs
  • Advocate for the equitable and effective implementation of AB32 and SB535

Objective Three: Food justice in a changing climate

  • Improve access to fresh, local and healthy food in “food deserts”
  • Create job opportunities in urban agriculture
  • Develop leaders and build capacity among low-income communities and communities of color in the healthy food movement
  • Develop economic and financial strategies that advance healthy food access for all
  • Advocate for and implement healthy food programs and policies

Objective Four: Sustainable land use, accessible public transit and affordable housing

In an effort to address climate change and build community resilience in the transportation and affordable housing arena, objective four will be addressed through our Great Communities Collaborative Initiative. By invitation only.

  • Invest in equitable transit-oriented development (TOD)
  • Advocate for transportation programs that reduce vehicle miles traveled
  • Invest in strategies that promote green affordable housing and infrastructure
  • Promote partnerships with the public sector regionally and locally that will reduce the impacts of climate change
  • Prioritize equity in transit oriented development


What we do not fund

The Environment Program does not fund:

  • Toxics
  • Habitat preservation or restoration
  • Research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies
  • The acquisition of land, other property or conservation easements
  • Individual community gardens unless they are part of a system-wide strategy
  • Environmental education programs or the development of curricula
  • Media projects unless they are tightly aligned with our grantmaking strategies and advance the work of our grantees
  • Capital or facilities projects
  • Individuals
  • Primary scientific research
  • International projects


Where we fund

All Environment grants are made to organizations in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco or San Mateo Counties.