Goal And Objectives

We believe that climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and that climate change will disproportionately affect California’s most disadvantaged and isolated communities. We believe that social and economic factors such as age, race, income, and lack of access to transportation, food or water will directly affect a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate impacts. Addressing social vulnerability and building community resilience in climate policies and response strategies will be critical to California’s future.

Theory of Change
We believe that vulnerable communities must begin developing and implementing climate adaptation plans and strategies to ensure better access to food and water, reliable, efficient, clean and affordable energy, accessible transportation, secure housing, and reliable urban infrastructure. As such, we have modified our environment program guidelines in an effort to best support healthy, self-sufficient, and resilient communities in the face of climate instability. We have added a new focus on food, water, and energy to reflect the need for additional efforts in this area.

The goal of the San Francisco Foundation’s Environment Program is to improve the environmental health and wellbeing of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable communities, while protecting the region’s natural environment. We will work to build community resilience in response to an increasingly volatile climate.

Objective One: Improve access to fresh, local and healthy food

  • Fund organizations working in “food deserts” to implement food systems that will provide healthy, local food
  • Support efforts to build replicable, scalable models for urban agriculture
  • Promote leadership development and capacity building among low-income communities and communities of color in the healthy food movement
  • Develop economic development and finance strategies that advance healthy food access for all
  • Advocate for and implement healthy food programs and policies

Objective Two: Increase and protect affordable, clean, and high-quality water

  • Invest in the capacity of organizations working on water privatization and access issues
  • Support projects that improve water access and water quality for vulnerable communities
  • Advance effective advocacy to shape sustainable water policies
  • Educate communities on water issues
  • Fund and engage in efforts to protect existing clean water supplies
  • Support green infrastructure to minimize stormwater runoff and flooding

Objective Three: Promote and advocate for clean, efficient, renewable energy

  • Invest in organizations that implement energy efficiency, energy reduction and renewable energy programs in low-income communities
  • Advocate for clean, renewable energy programs and policies
  • Support projects that leverage public agency activities, increase civic participation, and address the inequity of energy resource allocation within communities
  • Promote localized, renewable power generation
  • Address income, financing and other economic barriers
  • Continue to advocate for the equitable and effective implementation of AB32

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

Objective Four: Invest in equitable transit-oriented development and urban sustainability.

  • Support organizations working on accessible transit and affordable housing issues via the GCC initiative.
  • Advocate for fuel-efficient transportation policies and advance transit programs that reduce vehicle miles traveled.
  • Promote urban initiatives that will reduce the impacts of climate change.

The overarching strategies that we will use to meet our objectives will be:

  • Advance effective advocacy to shape environmental policies;
  • Invest in the capacity of leading and emerging environmental organizations;
  • Support those communities most affected by environmental degradation;
  • Invest in organizations that work collaboratively with nonprofits, government, businesses and the public;
  • Seek out projects that identify solutions and create opportunities for negatively affected communities;
  • Utilize place-based strategies and indicators;
  • Support community organizing and systems change efforts;
  • Identify and amplify innovative, game-changing ideas; and
  • Leverage additional funds to further our programmatic goals.

What we do not fund
The Environment Program does not fund:

  • Toxics
  • Environmental education programs or the development of curricula
  • Habitat preservation or restoration
  • The acquisition of land, other property, or conservation easements
  • 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
  • Research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies
  • International projects

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