Policy and Innovation

Policy and Innovation

Policy decisions have the power to change the rules to create more inclusive institutions, dismantle structural inequality, and advance equity at a scale that reaches beyond what we can do through direct grantmaking.

Supporting policy and systems change efforts is one of the most important tools we can use to advance racial equity and economic inclusion in the Bay Area. Our Policy & Innovation Team focuses on identifying and advocating for policy solutions that are backed up by research, informed by the lived experiences of residents in the Bay Area, and led by our partner community-based organizations.

We focus our systems change efforts on policies that advance racial and economic equity, ensure that all Bay Area residents have a safe and affordable place to call home, and build long-term power among people living on low incomes and communities of color. Our current priority policy efforts include affordable housing, worker rights (including immigrant worker rights), and fines and fees related to the criminal legal system. These priorities continue to evolve based on community need and opportunity.

We support policy and systems change at local, regional, and state levels through:

Funding Research and Data Gathering

Funding research and data gathering that provides context to the foundation and our partners on trends, solutions, and approaches we can use in our funding and advocacy. For example, the Bay Area Equity Atlas provides disaggregated data on the shifting demographics and primary issues in the region. Coupled with tools for advocates, this robust data platform has supported several policy efforts.

Convening and Gathering Leaders

Convening and gathering nonprofit leaders, community members, and partners in the field to share what we are learning and to learn how policies and systems are affecting their work and lives. For example, we convene regular advisory and planning sessions with nonprofit grantees through Partnership for the Bay’s Future and Great Communities Collaborative to better understand the current housing landscape, identify challenges and opportunities, and share learnings. Additionally, we helped convene regional recovery action groups to identify and pursue regional priorities for a more equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grantmaking to Organizations and Coalitions

Grantmaking to organizations and coalitions that are moving forward policy change, reforms, and innovations that advance racial equity and economic inclusion in the Bay Area and across the state. For example, SFF funds groups working across the state to advance the 3Ps housing strategy: Affordable housing protection, preservation, and production. Our nonprofit community partners are building coalitions and advancing state and local policy changes.

Grantmaking from Policy and Innovation is by invitation only. We will share information about open funding cycles as it is available.