Photo: meunierd/shutterstock
Photo: meunierd/shutterstock

It is estimated that at least 10 percent of San Francisco residents live in poverty. African American residents experience poverty at three times the average rate, and women and the elderly are at heightened risk as well. When we think about Bay Area anti-poverty funders, prominent names like the California Wellness Foundation and Tipping Point often come to mind. However, small family foundations are also leading the local fight against poverty. The Friedman Family Foundation (FFF) is one of them.

Here is an update about the Friedman Family Foundation’s approach to philanthropy in the Bay Area.

A Big Focus on Poverty

FFF is a single-issue funder that focuses all of its grantmaking on the systemic reduction of poverty. Its mission is to counter trends toward increasing poverty, expanding opportunities rather than just expanding welfare or charity.

This is not typically a funder to approach for direct service needs. Instead, FFF is looking for ways to back policy change, model program development and advocacy efforts. A few recent local grantees includes ACCE Institute, California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity and Council of Community Housing Organizations.

Almost All Grants Stay Within the Bay Area

Although FFF recognizes that poverty is a major issue throughout America, it keeps its focus almost strictly on the Bay Area. It sometimes considers projects beyond the region, especially those that offer lessons for the Bay Area or benefit the region in some way. Recent grantees are based in Oakland, San Francisco, Mt. Shasta and Berkeley.

Both General and Project Support Available

As a small funder with family members on the board and a single grants administrator on staff, Friedman’s grants are generally small in size. However, it offsets the modest size of its awards by offering general operating support—in addition to program support—so that local groups can use funds in the ways they believe to be most effective. Most grants are between $5,000 and $10,000 each, with total annual grantmaking around $450,000.

Letters of Inquiry Are Welcome

The Friedman Family Foundation is an accessible grantmaker, outlining grant guidelines on its website and accepting letters of inquiry at any time of the year. The foundation has a form on its website for nonprofits to complete to submit an LOI. After submission, the foundation invites selected applicants to submit full applications by deadlines in March, June and November.

Learn more about FFF and other locally focused foundations in IP’s Bay Area & NorCal Funding Guide.

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