History of TSFF

The San Francisco Foundation’s History

The San Francisco Foundation reflects the vibrant philanthropic spirit of the Bay Area.

In 1948, a group of forward-looking civic leaders, led by the late Daniel Koshland, started The San Francisco Foundation with the help of a founding grant from The Columbia Foundation. The foundation was established to provide the community with “a contemporary agency sensitive to current social needs, and one which will help build a future which will magnify the opportunities of generations yet to be born,” according to the foundation’s first-ever press release.

From these visionary beginnings, The San Francisco Foundation has become one of the nation’s largest community foundations awarding grants totaling more than $1 billion since 2007. This growth reflects both strong fiscal stewardship and a vibrant philanthropic spirit in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

We believe change happens through people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy. We are an incubator for creative thinkers; our expert program staff uses their intimate knowledge of the region to cut quickly to the essence of issues affecting the community. As a catalyst for change, our mission extends beyond grantmaking. We harness our broad knowledge, local expertise, and extensive relationships to address complex issues facing the region. Through special projects and partnerships, we collaborate with community-based organizations, government, other foundations, and donors to create new approaches to meeting the Bay Area’s ever-changing needs.

We believe in funding bold, innovative ideas, and through our visionary approach, we’ve seeded organizations that are now cornerstones of Bay Area life. Join us, and together we will make a greater impact, and create opportunity for generations of Bay Area families and residents.