Power Pathway: Nurturing Equity Movements


Our equity agenda aims to ensure that all people can live in a safe, affordable home and have a good job and a quality education. We also want to help create an inclusive democracy that allows all Bay Area residents to have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their families. We believe that economic and racial equity will only be possible if we commit our resources to expanding opportunities for full political as well as economic engagement for our increasingly diverse Bay Area community.

With rising income and wealth inequality and the ongoing under-representation of young people, residents earning low wages, and people of color in the political process, we see the critical importance of supporting movements that grow the voice and influence of those left out of decision making. We also believe that effective movements for social change have always been and must continue to be led by those most directly impacted by inequity, particularly low-wage workers and people of color. Thus we embrace the challenge of fostering and sustaining grassroots, community and political leadership that reflect the growing diversity of the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Foundation builds on a long history of working in this area. For decades we have played an important role in leadership development and movement building more broadly, including making grants for community organizing, helping to start and sustain community organizations, and supporting grassroots leadership development. We have done this work in partnership with community leaders and advocates, other philanthropic organizations, and our donors. In taking on the challenge of regional equity we recommit ourselves to this core mission and long-term work of building civic leadership and community engagement, and catalyzing changes that make our region one where all can thrive and meet their full potential.


In the Bay Area, grassroots social movements, and the diverse leaders that lead them, are driving important efforts to advance racial and economic equity. To effectively nurture these movements, The San Francisco Foundation will invest in community and civic leaders from diverse racial and economic backgrounds, and strengthen the region’s infrastructure to advance a shared vision of equity to build community power and a strong political voice for all.


To achieve this goal, we will focus initially on the following strategies:

  • Strengthen organizations that engage in constituent-led community organizing and integrated voter engagement to grow the power and voice of low-income residents, people of color, youth, and immigrants
  • Strengthen coalitions that build the ecosystem of community organizing and movement building across the region
  • Grow new organizing efforts that address population and geographic gaps in the region
  • Promote innovations that increase the effectiveness of movement building, e.g. through forging unlikely partnerships, piloting new technologies and/or integrating arts and culture strategies to shift the narrative
  • Develop the next generation of grassroots, community, and political leaders in low-income communities and communities of color
  • Support movement building research, data collection, and communications

Additional grant opportunities in the Power Pathway include our FAITHS program and the new Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building.

Grants Awarded

Review equity grants for the Power pathway.

Read about Suguey and Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, who are committed to helping low-income immigrant and refugee communities of color find their voice and increase their political power.