Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

We recognize that philanthropy has long been hampered by the sector’s failure to hire people who reflect the communities that its institutions serve. At the San Francisco Foundation, equity, inclusion, and diversity are core to the success of our internal operations, and to our external impact in the community.

We aim to establish a culture and workplace that is fair, inclusive and just; a culture where staff are recognized for their full selves; a workplace where our personnel policies and benefits are equitable for all staff.

But we are by no means done with this work. This is a journey, and we still have a long way to go. We welcome your feedback to help us along the way. Send your questions or comments to marketingandcommunications[at]sff.org.

2021 Diversity Data

We invite you to review our 2021 diversity data, which offers a snapshot of where we are with regard to our staff, our Board of Trustees, consultants, grantee leadership, and investment managers — the people who help bring our best ideas forward. Click on the sections below to learn more.


Since deepening our commitment to equity in 2016, we’ve been able to attract an increasingly diverse team that better reflects the communities that we serve. In July 2021, 85 percent of our 92 full-time staff members took part in our annual diversity survey, which showed that 70 percent of staff identified as a person of color. By comparison, 24 percent of staff at foundations across the country identified as a racial/ethnic minority, according to the Council on Foundations’ 2016 study, The State of Change: An Analysis of Women and People of Color in the Philanthropic Sector.

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In 2021, people of color made up 75 percent of our Board of Trustees. Nationwide, people of color made up 15 percent of board positions, according to BoardSource’s 2018 report, Foundation Board Leadership.

As part of our commitment to equity, the San Francisco Foundation contracts with diverse, mission-aligned vendors and consultants. Our 2021 survey of independent consultants showed that 54 percent identified as a person of color.

We make a conscious effort to fund grantees that are led by diverse leadership. In 2021, 74% percent of organizations (with available data) that received program grants were led by people of color.



In 2021, 64 percent of staff identified as a woman/womxn, 31 as a man, 4 percent as gender variant/non-conforming, and 1 percent as a transgender woman/womxn. Amongst our Board of Trustees, 42 percent identified as a woman/womxn, 50 percent as a man, and 8 percent as gender variant/non-conforming. Across the sector, the Council on Foundations study reported a staff gender break down of 75 percent women and 25 percent men. Our 2021 independent consultant survey indicated that 85 percent of consultants identified as a woman/womxn, and 15 percent as a man.

Sexual Orientation

In 2021, 73 percent of SFF staff identified as straight, 6 percent as gay, 3 percent as lesbian, 1 percent as bisexual, 13 percent as queer, 1 percent as asexual, and 4 percent did not answer. Amongst our Board of Trustees, 83 percent identified as straight, and 17 percent as gay. Amongst our independent consultants, 62 percent identified as straight, 15 percent as lesbian, 8 percent as bisexual, and 15 percent as queer. The Council on Foundations study did not include information on sexual orientation.


In 2021, 19 percent of staff fell into the 18-29 age category, 28 percent in the 30-39 category, 25 percent in the 40-49 category, 21 percent in the 50-59 category, and 8 percent in the 60+ category. Our Board of Trustees and independent consultants showed the greatest representation in the 40-49 and 60+ age categories. The Council on Foundations’ report did not include data for comparable age breakdowns.

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In 2021, 13 percent of staff, none of our Board of Trustees, and 23 percent of our independent consultants identified as a person with a disability. The Council on Foundations’ report indicated that only 20 percent of foundations responded to questions about staff with disabilities and among those only 1 percent of foundations indicated that they had staff with disabilities.

Military Service

In 2021, 3 percent of foundation staff, 8 percent of our Board of Trustees, and none of our independent consultants had experience serving in the military. The Council on Foundations study did not include comparable sector-wide data.

Investment Managers

Diligent stewardship of the $1.5 billion in assets entrusted to us through endowed and donor advised funds enables us to make a greater impact in the region. In order to invest our assets in alignment with our values, we seek out investment firms owned by women and people of color—two groups that have historically faced barriers to accessing capital.

In 2020, 27 percent of SFF’s investment management firms were majority owned by women, and 13 percent were majority owned by people of color. Industry-wide, just 1.3% of assets under management globally are overseen by firms that are majority owned by women or people of color, according to the Knight Foundation’s 2019 report, Diversifying Investments: A Study of Ownership Diversity and Performance in the Asset Management Industry

The asset manager industry’s near-total lack of diversity aggravates wealth disparities that disproportionately prevent people of color from thriving. Not only do diverse-owned firms perform as well as their non-diverse counterparts, they are also more likely to invest in entrepreneurs of color.

Along with others, we have challenged our investment consultant, Crewcial Partners, to support our efforts to address inequities in the asset management sector. Between 2013-2018, Crewcial Partners increased its allocation of assets to diverse managers by sixfold. Today, the firm continues its efforts to hire increasingly diverse managers. 

We are proud of the progress we’ve made to date and will continue to intentionally allocate capital to diverse managers across all asset classes. We welcome the opportunity to share the lessons we’ve learned, and to continually improve this critical aspect of our work.