Press Release - July 15, 2013

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Announces Changes To Its Grantmaking Strategies

MOUNTAIN VIEW - Five years ago (2008), Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) adopted five grantmaking strategies designed to address the region's most challenging problems: economic security, education, immigrant integration, regional planning, and a community opportunity fund focused on time-sensitive issues. At that time, we indicated we would evaluate the strategies in five years to determine their effectiveness and whether to make adjustments to the strategies as warranted by changing community needs and opportunities.

For the last six months, consistent with our values, SVCF has engaged in an open, transparent and comprehensive review of all our grantmaking strategies. This process involved extensive conversations with grantee organizations, interviews with independent scholars and experts about trends related to our areas of work and an independent third-party evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of each grantmaking strategy.

Overall, SVCF found that across all of its grantmaking strategies our nonprofit and government partners made significant positive impacts to make our region a better place. In particular, SVCF's efforts to respond to the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression by focusing on the foreclosure crisis and using the community opportunity fund to exclusively support food and shelter efforts were timely and vitally important. Overall, SVCF has awarded more than $30 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations through its discretionary grantmaking program since 2008.

Based on our evaluation and review, SVCF has determined to keep the five grantmaking strategies in place while phasing out three of the nine sub-strategies.  The three sub-strategies that will be phased out are: foreclosure prevention counseling (part of the economic security strategy); bridging the cultural gap (part of the immigrant integration strategy); and safety-net services (part of the community opportunity fund strategy).

We recognize that any change to a foundation's grantmaking strategies, even sub-strategies, can have unanticipated consequences for our nonprofit and government partners. To help minimize any disruption and to allow time to adjust to these changes, last month we awarded final grants in these areas that will provide support for the next 12 months ending June 2014.

“SVCF was prescient with its focus on foreclosure prevention and safety-net services in 2008 before the depths of the great recession came, and we are proud of the support we gave to help struggling homeowners, immigrants working to acclimate to the Bay Area, and families in need of food and shelter,” said Emmett D. Carson, Ph. D., president and CEO of the community foundation. “The changes we are announcing were made with great care and deliberation, based on our assessment of current community needs and the effectiveness of past grants.”

Over the next two years, SVCF anticipates increasing its grantmaking support for local public schools that are collaborating to implement the new Common Core State Standards and for organizations working on the issues surrounding comprehensive immigration reform. Both are areas that SVCF believes are of crucial importance and therefore plans to devote over $2 million annually to grants in each of those focus areas in 2014 and 2015.

To view the organizations that have received grants through our five grantmaking strategies, visit http://www.siliconvalleycf.org/grantees-list.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems and give more money to charities than any other community foundation in the United States. The community foundation has approximately $3 billion in assets under management and more than 1,650 philanthropic funds. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at www.siliconvalleycf.org.