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.


Our Theory of Change

We believe that climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and that climate change will disproportionately affect communities that are already struggling to make ends meet.

We believe that factors such as age, race, income, and lack of access to transportation, shelter, 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 must engage our youth and expose them to nature if we are going 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, engage the most vulnerable residents, and provide other co-benefits.


Our Strategies

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

  • Build the capacity of leading and emerging environmental organizations that reflect the communities they serve
  • 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
  • Emphasize social, environmental, and climate justice


Objective One: Champion affordable, clean, and high-quality water

  • Invest in the capacity of organizations working on water quality issues
  • Support projects that improve water access and water quality for vulnerable communities
  • Engage communities to advance effective advocacy to shape sustainable water policies, planning and management
  • Promote and fund efforts to protect existing clean water supplies
  • Develop innovative drought solutions and protections for existing clean water supplies
  • Support green infrastructure to increase permeable surfaces to minimize stormwater runoff and flooding in vulnerable communities
  • Expand training programs and economic opportunities for low and moderate income people in green infrastructure careers


Objective Two: 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 and financial strategies that advance healthy food access for all
  • Advocate for and implement healthy food programs and policies


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 that are equitable and affordable
  • Support 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 Four: Invest in equitable transit-oriented development (TOD)

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:

Support organizations working on sustainable land use, accessible public transit and affordable housing

  • 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


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.