A $7.5 Million Vote of Confidence from the Hewlett Foundation
When I joined the San Francisco Foundation as CEO more than five years ago, I had high hopes and a big challenge. My job was to take a wonderful organization with a long history and build on that great legacy. My first step was to do a lot of learning through listening sessions across the region. Then, building from our long-term commitment to social justice, we announced that we would focus our efforts on racial equity and economic inclusion. That launch three years ago and the work we’ve done since has led to increased visibility for our foundation, important local and regional victories, and a ton more learning.
Since the launch of our equity agenda, perhaps the best example has been the work the foundation has done to ensure that everyone in the Bay Area has an affordable place to call home in a community where they feel they belong. Our work on housing has spanned sectors and interest groups and has involved almost every tool in our kit. We’ve worked closely with our donors to create new and exciting programs. We’ve developed new partnerships with the corporate sector and been a part of the public discourse. We’ve made grants that have influenced policy at the local, regional, and state levels. Where appropriate, we’ve brought our own voice and influence to the policy table.
We have tried to make the most of these opportunities, and I’m excited to report on an important new development for the foundation. Last night at the Commonwealth Club, Hewlett Foundation president Larry Kramer announced that his foundation could best serve the needs of the people of this region by making a $7.5 million core operating support grant to the San Francisco Foundation. This decision came as the result of Larry’s own listening tour, in which he sought advice about how to best use Hewlett Foundation resources to improve the lives of Bay Area residents.
The answer he heard was that housing was the region’s most pressing problem, and that the San Francisco Foundation is leading the way in finding solutions.
This is an important next step in our work. Throughout our work on racial equity and economic inclusion, we’ve seen that housing is clearly one of the region’s most pressing challenges. We are committed to use these resources to strengthen our commitment and our advocacy to address the severe housing challenges felt by so many people in the Bay Area today.