For Nonprofits: Apply for a Grant from the SFF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

For Nonprofits: Apply for a Grant from the SFF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

Update June 9, 2020: Over the past few months, we have been proud to support more than 300 Bay Area organizations helping their communities cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have granted out more than $3 million to address food security, housing and homelessness, support for workers, domestic violence, and addressing racism against Asian Americans.

Please note that applications will close on June 15 for SFF’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. We continue to support COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts throughout the Bay Area. We encourage nonprofits to use the online resources and no-cost workshops on our COVID-19 Resources page and to check back regularly, as we continue to add new offerings.

Organizations whose COVID-19 relief work also includes power building, organizing, and advocacy toward systems change are encouraged to apply to SFF’s Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building.

The number of people affected by the COVID-19 virus in the Bay Area continues to grow, and many of us are grappling with sudden changes to our everyday lives. For some, the effects are particularly dire. There is a tremendous amount of need in our region—and we are especially concerned about the most vulnerable people in the community such as seniors, people with compromised immune systems, low-wage workers, and undocumented people, to name just a few.

There are multiple efforts to support organizations and communities responding to the impact of COVID-19. Please email programs[at] with any questions about other resources.

How We Will Help
Direct Funding for Nonprofits from SFF:

Through the SFF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, SFF will make a limited number of one-time grants ($5,000 – $25,000) to 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 nonprofits addressing the following four issue areas, described in greater detail below: racial bias, worker protection, homelessness and renter protection/housing security, and food security. If approved, grants will be processed within 15-20 days of application receipt. We also acknowledge that the needs of low-income communities, particularly the impacts for communities of color, related to COVID-19 will continue to evolve and grow over time. As a result, we anticipate having multiple waves of funding over the next several months to meet these needs.

View list of organizations that have received grants from the SFF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

If you are interested in contributing funds to SFF’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, please click here.

Funding Priorities:

The following areas were selected based on feedback we’ve received from community partners and alignment with SFF funding priorities:

  1. Worker supports: Low-wage workers, particularly people of color, will be among the communities that feel the economic impact of COVID-19 the most. The food, travel, leisure, and hospitality industries are already being hit hard, and workers in these industries often have low pay and minimal access to paid sick leave. Reduced work hours and sudden layoffs will have a dramatic impact on their lives and their families’ well-being. As schools close, workers whose jobs are not directly impacted may have to choose between caring for their children and earning a paycheck. Many domestic workers and janitors are receiving inadequate training and safety equipment to protect themselves from health risks. SFF welcomes proposals from organizations supporting efforts to protect and support vulnerable workers in the workplace and with their families during this time.
  2. Homelessness and Renter protections: Those who are homeless are particularly vulnerable right now, and our fund will help support them. For people who are housed but living month to month, lost wages will make it difficult to pay rent. This is particularly true in the Bay Area, where over 50% of households are rent burdened (meaning they pay over 30% of their income on housing). SFF welcomes proposals from organizations working to protect those who are vulnerable during this time.
  3. Food security:The Bay Area remains a difficult place for many families to make ends meet. COVID-19 presents an especially dire threat to already food insecure families who now face an uncertain economic future. Extended school closures also mean that more than 237,000 families currently receiving free- and reduced-lunch (and breakfast) will no longer have access to these meals. SFF welcomes proposals from organizations supporting efforts to increase families’ access to food during this time.
  4. Addressing racial bias: As swiftly as the virus has spread around the globe since its initial detection in China, it has also stirred up long-held biases about people, especially those of Asian descent. Here in the US, Asian Americans (particularly people of Chinese descent) are experiencing a rise in harassment and even violent hate crimes. SFF welcomes proposals from organizations supporting local communities that have been targeted as a result of their race and ethnicity.

The SFF COVID-19 Emergency Fund will prioritize the following:

  • Projects that align with the issue areas identified above
  • Nonprofit and fiscally sponsored organizations in the five-county Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo)
  • Grassroots organizations with smaller operating budgets

Please note:

  • SFF is committed to providing immediate support to as many organizations as possible. As a result, most grant amounts will be in the $5,000-$10,000 range.
  • Given the high volume of applications, SFF may refer some grant applications to our sister community foundations as we work together to respond to needs across our region.
  • In general, the SFF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund is not focused on efforts to provide cash assistance to individuals and families, as there are other funds focused specifically on this area. SFF will support efforts to connect individuals and families to housing support (including rental assistance) and food.
  • SFF will continue to review the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund criteria and may adjust it as the crisis and community needs develop.

Application Process

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. All applicants must submit SFF COVID-19 Emergency Fund applications through our Fluxx system. Please note that you will be asked to identify if your application is for COVID-19-related work.
  • We are committed to rapid funding in this time of need. Due to the high volume of requests, SFF is currently reviewing applications within 15-20 days.


For questions, please contact programs[at]


Other Resources:

Philanthropy CA: Under the Resources tab—The Philanthropy California team has compiled a list of resources to help nonprofits navigate numerous aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The page is updated on a daily basis to help you stay informed and take rapid actions to support our most vulnerable communities during this crisis.

Direct Assistance Funds: This list of funds includes those giving direct financial assistance to individuals, families, and businesses impacted by COVID-19 pandemic or  providing grants to community organizations supporting basic needs in Northern California. This list was compiled by ReWork the Bay, Asset Funders Network, Walter & Elise Haas Foundation, and San Francisco Foundation and is updated regularly.

Resources for Immigrants and Immigration Information: Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) has created a COVID-19 Resources page specifically focused on the pandemic’s impact on immigrants and refugees along with a list of resources for immigrants during this time of crisis.

Technology Tools: At the San Francisco Foundation, we have turned to remote meeting technology to help us stay connected and productive when conducting remote work. A number of technology companies are making their tools available for free during this period. Here is more information about how to take advantage of these offers.