San Francisco Foundation Awards $11.5 Million to Advance Equity

San Francisco Foundation Awards $11.5 Million to Advance Equity

Media Contact: Ling Woo Liu, lliu[at], 415-733-8565

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – As part of its ongoing commitment to advancing racial and economic equity in the San Francisco Bay Area, The San Francisco Foundation announced today that it is making grants totaling $11.5 million to 140 local organizations. This is the largest combined grant announcement in the foundation’s history.  A complete list of the 2017 equity grants can be found here.

In July 2016, the foundation announced that it would focus its grantmaking strategy on three interconnected pathways: expanding access to opportunity by removing systemic barriers to meaningful jobs; anchoring communities that reflect people’s culture and identity; and nurturing equity movements to ensure a strong political voice for all. These three pathways are called People, Place, and Power. Soon after the announcement, the foundation made a set of initial grants totaling $5.3 million. Today’s announcement is a bigger step in the foundation’s commitment to greater racial and economic equity and inclusion.

“For far too many people in the Bay Area, the color of your skin or the neighborhood you grew up in determines how much money you will make or even how long you will live,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of The San Francisco Foundation. “That has to change. When we launched our equity agenda, it was an acknowledgement that we don’t have another day to waste. Today’s equity grants announcement is designed to continue to build momentum to take on this enormous challenge.”

The 2017 equity grants are the first in the foundation’s effort to open its grantmaking process by actively soliciting proposals from across the Bay Area’s nonprofit community. The foundation sought to strike a balance between ensuring that existing grantees have the resources they need to succeed and finding new organizations doing important work. Nearly one in three grants went to organizations that were new grantees of the foundation. These grantees are particularly focused on new areas of work for the foundation, including support for criminal justice reform and community safety.

The foundation also understood that it needed to make deeper investments in the organizations it supports. To do this, it made more core support grants, it made grants for longer durations, and it made grants that were larger in size. The average grant size was about $80,000 — significantly more than the historical average of $25-30,000. And in contrast to previous years, 40 percent of grants were made for grant periods of more than one year. Those grants included efforts to redirect public funds from incarceration to services, expand tenant protections, defend immigrants, strengthen worker protections, and ensure equitable development that delivers good jobs and affordable housing.

The grants also expand the foundation’s ongoing commitment to make sure that everyone in the Bay Area has an affordable home in which to live. The grants include support for the development of additional affordable housing and advocacy to preserve what is already affordable in different neighborhoods, and expanded protections for tenants across the region.

“Of course, to make sure that this, and other critical components of our equity agenda move forward, we are also supporting efforts to build power and expand civic engagement, so that everyone can bring their voice and agency into shaping the future of our region,” said Judith Bell, vice president of programs of The San Francisco Foundation.

Read “Our Down Payment on Equity” by Judith Bell, vice president of programs of The San Francisco Foundation.

About The San Francisco Foundation

With more than $1.3 billion in assets, The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the country. The foundation is committed to expanding opportunity and ensuring a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area, and working with its donors, it distributed nearly $100 million to nonprofit organizations last year. The San Francisco Foundation serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties.