As we write this, a global pandemic still looms over us as our communities struggle to manage the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the health and livelihoods of all of our neighbors. We are also in the midst of confronting what some have termed the 400-year pandemic of structural racism in our country. And if you consider what happened to the indigenous peoples on whose land we live and work, it is closer to a 600-year pandemic. After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis — and renewed outrage over the vast number of other Black Americans who have died at the hands of police — the time has come for real changes that will dismantle the racial injustice that pervades our society.
The events of 2020 have altered our world forever in ways we are still striving to understand. But we know — based on the fundamental mission of SVCF to serve those in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties who lack equitable access to things like education, housing and, yes, justice — that we must be a vital part of creating a better future. Our work in 2019 and in years past, and the work we have been doing in 2020, is all a testament to the local know-how and charitable resources we can leverage as we address this changed world.
In this report, we highlight stories of our 2019 work along with profiles of some members of our donor family. 2019 was a year of evolution and opportunity for SVCF. Nicole, in her first few months as CEO of the foundation, listened extensively to the voices of our community as she began the year, meeting with hundreds of community leaders, nonprofit leaders, elected officials, philanthropists and staff members. SVCF launched a strategic planning process — one that has been catapulted into practice by these tumultuous times. We added new leaders to our organization, including positions in human resources, finance, corporate social responsibility, legal affairs, IT, fundraising and donor engagement.
As a community foundation, we continued to build our capacity in becoming experts on the challenges facing San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and we guided our donors to make impactful change. We are proud to report that local giving rose 40 percent from 2018, to a total of $177 million granted to nonprofits in our two counties. SVCF continues to be the largest funder of Bay Area nonprofits. We thank our donors for their investments in our local communities. And we will continue to inform our donors on local issues, and shepherd funds to where they will best build and sustain our communities.