2018 Equity Grants Open Cycle Funding Priorities

Please note that the 2018 Equity Grants Open Cycle is now closed. 

TSFF is pleased to support leaders in the Bay Area region working to create a more equitable future – where all people living in the Bay Area are economically secure, rooted in vibrant communities, and engaged in civic life.

We organize our work in three interrelated pathways. TSFF’s People pathway focuses on expanding access to opportunity through removing systemic barriers. The Place pathway focuses on anchoring communities, in ways that help people feel deeply rooted in their communities. The Power pathway focuses on nurturing equity movements to ensure a strong political voice for all. We believe that the combination of these approaches has great potential for moving the Bay Area region toward a more equitable future. For the 2018 Equity Grants Open Cycle, TSFF will focus specifically on:

  • People: Education, Work, Criminal Justice
  • Place: Housing, Art and Culture, Community Anchors
  • Power: Community Organizing, Civic Engagement, and Movement Building

We see intersectionality as a critical consideration, and so staff across pathway teams will review each proposal.  We recognize that we all have intersecting identities, and relatedly, that many of our applicants will be working with a cross-section of populations and focusing on a range of intersecting issues.



A positive school climate builds on students’ strengths, creates a sense of belonging, and enables students to achieve academically and socially. Too many students, however, face discrimination, excessively harsh punishments, and unsupportive school environments, and this can lead to push-out or negative academic and social outcomes.

TSFF is interested in supporting positive alternatives to the school to prison / school to deportation pipeline and punitive discipline by addressing root causes of behavioral issues. This includes efforts to address disproportional discipline, including trauma-informed strategies for both students and adults. The ideal applicant will demonstrate potential for impact beyond a single school, whether through policy change, creation of an innovative new approach, or development of a scalable model.

We are interested in supporting efforts focused on students of color and students from low-income families, in middle and high school, in three priority areas this grant cycle – Oakland Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, and West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Goal: People of color and low-income residents can send their children to schools that support their social, emotional, and academic and long-term success.  


  • Belonging and Protection:  Develop, strengthen, or expand approaches that foster a sense of belonging for students most likely to be pushed out or marginalized at school.  This includes approaches that increase students’ sense of security, such as those that help undocumented students and families feel protected and safe.  Approaches could include innovative direct services (if the approach is innovative and significantly disrupts the status quo, is scalable, and/or linked to organizing and policy change), policy change, and organizing.
  • Discipline Alternatives: Develop, strengthen, or expand innovative alternatives to punitive discipline.  Approaches could include innovative direct services (if the approach is innovative and significantly disrupts the status quo, is scalable, and/or linked to organizing and policy change), policy change, and organizing.


TSFF seeks to ensure that people of color and low-income residents have good jobs at family sustaining wages, so they can prosper and remain in the region if they desire. Workers are powerful advocates for change – identifying challenges, developing strategies to take action, sharing their stories, and advocating for needed changes. Supporting efforts that elevate the voice and power of workers can lead to important wins on workers’ rights policies, as well as meaningful enforcement and implementation of wins. TSFF is defining family sustaining wages via the financial self-sufficiency index. 

Goal: People of color and low-income residents have fair access to jobs, good working conditions, family-sustaining wages, and benefits.  


  • Improve Job Quality: Promote policy changes that improve job quality, such as family-sustaining wages, stable schedules, safe working conditions, and improved benefits. Applicants should describe how workers are involved in these efforts.
  • Access: Promote and enforce policy changes that ensure fair access to employment, such as Ban the Box, local/targeted hiring, and other efforts to shift employer policy and practice. These approaches can include activities supporting education about and enforcement of policy wins for both workers and employers. Priority will be given to efforts that increase access and hiring of formerly incarcerated people and/or undocumented people.

Criminal Justice

The Bay Area would benefit from investing more in the success of communities of color and less in the criminal justice system. Our government currently invests vast amounts of money in an unjust and ineffective criminal justice system that disproportionately targets people of color, while also under-investing in a strong social safety net and supportive services.  This leads to a vicious cycle of poverty and criminalization. Leaders are working to shift spending patterns so that our public budgets reflect the values of inclusivity and opportunity for those who are most marginalized.

Goal: People of color and low-income residents can access social supports that help them thrive, and do not face disproportionate criminalization.


  • Justice Reinvestment: Promote efforts to curb public spending on the criminal justice system, and increase spending on jobs, education, affordable housing, and other critical services for low-income people of color.



The Bay Area Region faces an affordable housing crisis. It is impossible to build our way out of this crisis. Producing housing is necessary, but it takes years and can sometimes cause gentrification or displacement. Existing residents must be protected from predatory displacement practices, and must have built-in affordability, such as rent control, to remain in their homes.  TSFF also supports organizations that work to eradicate barriers to housing access, including but not limited to immigration status, sexual orientation, or criminal background.

To ensure that long-time residents can stay in the Bay Area, TSFF seeks to support three primary approaches related to housing:

  • Protect: Support efforts that protect residents from displacement. TSFF has set a high priority on protection-oriented activities and policies.
  • Preserve: Preserve existing affordable housing opportunities by supporting organizations working to maintain or expand the stock of affordable housing.
  • Produce: Support organizations working to increase affordable housing stock through capital financing options such as bond measures and capital funds.

Note:  TSFF is defining affordability as housing that is accessible for families living 250% or below the federal poverty level (i.e., $61,500 or less annual income for a family of four with rents less than $1,538/month). 

Goal:  People of color and low-income residents are not displaced from their homes and live in housing that is affordable.  


  • Community Organizing and Housing and Tenant Stakeholder Education: Secure strong anti-displacement and affordable housing policies, with leadership from well-organized tenants and stakeholders.
  • Advocacy and Policy Promotion: Engage in direct advocacy to secure broad systemic change through specific public and institutional housing-related policies.
  • Organizational Technical Assistance: Educate organizations about housing issues, tenant rights, and affordable housing options.
  • Coalition-Building: Build coalitions with other organizations to broaden groups’ reach and increase effective actions advocating for related to affordable housing solutions.
  • Direct Services: Provide services that help residents remain in their homes and stay rooted in their communities, including housing-related legal services.

Art and Culture

Bay Area art and culture organizations can play a key role in helping residents thrive. Divested communities often have experienced trauma and isolation. To support healing, art and culture organizations can foster a sense of belonging and connectedness. Art and culture can also provide an opportunity to highlight and build power around community priorities, such as addressing gentrification and displacement.

Goal: People of color and low-income residents benefit from their communities’ rich cultural diversity through multi-disciplinary arts and culture activities that preserve community vibrancy, amplify diverse voices and build powerful Bay Area communities.  


  • Healing and Belonging: Promote community healing, sense of belonging, and cohesion through cultural activities and art.
  • Storytelling: Preserve the history of local communities through storytelling (spoken, written, visually represented, musical, theatrical, etc.).
  • Power though Narrative: Support narratives that build community power and voice of people of color and low-income residents to meaningfully advocate for their vision and shift mainstream perceptions.

Community Anchors

Bay Area communities benefit when there are “community anchors,” community-based, culturally relevant, trusted organizations across multiple sectors with strong leaders who reflect the communities they serve. Community anchors support pathways to social and economic opportunities.

Goal:  People of color and low-income residents feel rooted in their communities, connected to resources and opportunities, and have a clear path for self-determination.  


  • Connection and Gathering Place: All community anchor organizations should demonstrate the following characteristics:
    • Provide a range of support and services that connect residents to resources and opportunity.
    • Serve as a trusted gathering place or a refuge, providing a safe, respectful space for residents to feel self-determined and supported.
  • Alignment: Community anchor organizations will be prioritized if they show connections to other People, Place, or Power pathway funding priorities.



Achieving greater racial and economic equity requires an inclusive democracy in which all Bay Area residents have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their families and communities. To effectively nurture grassroots social movements and build community and civic leadership, the Power pathway focuses on supporting effective organizations and coalitions that grow the power and voice of people of color, youth, low income residents, and immigrants.

The Power pathway will prioritize organizing campaigns that show connections to People or Place pathway funding priorities, such as anti-displacement efforts, affordable housing, work, education, and criminal justice reform. We also are interested in supporting other priorities that emerge from the field, when applicants can demonstrate that these efforts will lead to increased power, organizing capacity, and civic engagement.

Goal:  People of color and low-income residents have strong political voice and power and can shape the decisions that affect their lives and their communities. 


  • Community Organizing: Support and strengthen the capacity of local and regional organizing groups that are constituent-led and build the power and voice of their base, particularly low-income people and people of color.
    • Campaigns: Support organizations to recruit, train, and engage community residents in policy advocacy campaigns, with priority given to youth-led and inter-generational organizations.
    • Base-Building and Leadership Development: Support community organizing efforts that build a membership base and develop a pipeline of leaders of color and low-income residents, with a priority focus on youth and young adult leaders.
  • Civic and Voter Engagement: Support the participation of low-income people of color, with a priority focus on youth and young adults, in nonpartisan voter registration, education, and turn-out for local and state elections, and strengthen the capacity of organizations to lead this work.
    • Integrated Voter Engagement: Support Integrated Voter Engagement efforts, which is year-round engagement that builds the capacity and infrastructure to sustain community organizing.
    • Scale: Support organizations that can demonstrate one or more of the following:
      • Strong or emerging partnerships in the region
      • The use of technological innovations to increase impact and scale
      • Participation in larger regional or statewide organizing efforts
  • Movement Building: Strengthen and expand the Bay Area’s long-term movement infrastructure and capacity.
    • Movement Infrastructure: Support regional and local coalitions, networks, and alliances that promote collaboration and shared practices, and that enhance the capacity and collective impact of member organizations to advance the equity agenda of TSFF’s pathways.
    • Expand the Base: Support organizations working with historically underserved populations, in priority neighborhoods. This includes direct service organizations that have a significant constituent base and a demonstrated organizational commitment to voter engagement and/or community organizing.

Please visit the Equity Grants Open Cycle page for additional details on funding criteria, the applications process, and available funding.