FAITHS Program

Photo of FAITHS Leadership Council

The FAITHS Program aims to enhance the work of faith-based organizations that deliver services or advocate for their communities. FAITHS achieves this by connecting faith-based organizations with support from nonprofits and foundations. FAITHS also provides technical and financial assistance to faith-based organizations and holds educational briefings and trainings for faith community leaders. FAITHS serves as a bridge between the philanthropic community and the faith-based community.

FAITHS was founded in 1993 on the premise that congregations and other faith-based organizations are among philanthropy’s strongest partners in the effort to build strong, healthy, and equitable communities. Since its inception, FAITHS has built an interfaith network of more than 600 congregations, faith-based agencies, and community organizations that address critical community issues in the five Bay Area counties that The San Francisco Foundation serves (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo). FAITHS provides organizational capacity building workshops throughout the year for congregations and faith-based organizations engaged in community-serving activities such as affordable housing, disaster preparedness, inter-group relations, job training, senior services, and youth development. Working with other foundation partners, FAITHS administers a small grant pool to complement its technical assistance and civic engagement work.

Join our FAITHS Leadership Council: Our FAITHS Program Leadership Council of clergy and lay leaders reflects the diversity of the Bay Area faith community, and helps to determine the direction of the FAITHS Program projects, grantmaking, and capacity building activities. Leaders also provide significant guidance to the FAITHS Program through working groups focused on issues such as healthcare reform, immigration reform, and disaster preparedness. To find out more about our FAITHS Leadership Council, and to get involved, please contact our program team.

Current Programs

FAITHS Community Partners Mini-Grants

Every year The San Francisco Foundation’s FAITHS and Arts and Culture Programs support congregations and faith-based organizations’ community service, civic engagement, or cultural and artistic programs.Faith-based organizations in the five Bay Area counties we serve (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo) are eligible to apply for a mini-grant of up to $5,000. The application will be open on January 15 through February 24, 2014. Learn more about this program.

Civic Engagement

FAITHS provides trainings and policy issue briefings for its grantees and broader network. Through these trainings faith and community-based organizations learn how to successfully engage in nonpartisan, voter registration, education, and policy advocacy work. Since 1998 the FAITHS Program has hosted a small grant and technical assistance program to assist congregations and faith-based organizations to promote service, dialogue, and action that will strengthen the economic, racial, and civic fabric of local neighborhoods. An advisory group of clergy and lay congregational leaders participate in the process by advising the FAITHS team on issues that are important to the faith-based and broader community. Through its grantmaking program, Community Partners, FAITHS promotes civic participation and community service.

Technical Assistance

FAITHS, in partnership with OCCUR, provides a free series of capacity building and technical assistance workshops for Bay Area faith-based organizations providing community services and development programs.  These sessions focus on key organizational issues critical to effective program delivery and organizational sustainability. For more information, contact OCCUR at 510.839.2440 or The “Model Built on Faith” workshop series information can also be found at

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Faith-based organizations are key providers of affordable housing for families and individuals in the Bay Area. Over many years FAITHS has trained and assisted congregation leaders to take action for the creation and preservation of affordable housing and ending homelessness. FAITHS has provided concentrated technical and financial assistance to congregations engaged in specific housing advocacy and/or development activities. FAITHS promotes long-term partnerships with nonprofit organizations and other public and private institutions that address the need for affordable, safe, and decent housing.

Immigration Reform

Since its inception, the FAITHS Program and its network have engaged in community dialogue and action on race and economic issues that often polarize and divide communities. FAITHS offers trainings and tools for educating faith and community organizations concerned about the humane treatment of immigrants, and community building between recent immigrants and long term residents. To this end, FAITHS supports several interfaith coalitions to enhance coordination among faith and community based partners working on immigrant issues.

The Civic Engagement Fund

Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities are among the fastest growing ethnic groups in California and in the Bay Area. The Civic Engagement Fund (CEF), initiated in 2006, is a capacity building initiative designed to support organizations, and to strengthen the civic participation, of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities within the Bay Area. Through capacity building, civic engagement, and leadership development, CEF is based on a learning model that creates avenues for shared learning and understanding on the part of our philanthropic partners and community partners. Through these partnerships, leaders and civic organizations work together to tackle issues of discrimination in schools and the workplace, racial profiling, selective immigration enforcement, detention and deportation and media stereotyping, to advance social change, and build toward a common and collective good. The Fund was developed through a strategic partnership between Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), an affinity group of the Council of Foundations, and The San Francisco Foundation, and has brought on a range of additional San Francisco Bay Area philanthropic institutions. For more information, please contact Laila Mehta at AAPIP at 415.273.2760.

FAITHS Program Staff

Tessa Rouverol Callejo
Tessa Rouverol Callejo
FAITHS Program and Civic Engagement Officer 415.733.8541
Michelle Myles Chambers
Michelle Myles Chambers
FAITHS Program Assistant 415.733.8539


For more information about the FAITHS Program at The San Francisco Foundation, please contact us at 415.733.8500.