Shifting our grantmaking strategies: An update on our strategic planning process

Shifting our grantmaking strategies: An update on our strategic planning process

Beginning last summer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process with the help of the Bridgespan Group. As part of this process, we held extensive conversations with nonprofit and community organizations, conducted interviews with issue-area experts and looked at trends related to our strategic areas of focus. We connected with many of our community partners during this process and considered all of the insights and the feedback provided.

SVCF’s board of directors has agreed that we will focus on four new goals to ensure we can build a community where all can lead financially secure, safe and fulfilling lives. The four key pillars:

  1. Reducing systemic disparities
  2. Supporting strong and engaged communities
  3. Growing the culture and practice of effective philanthropy, and
  4. Being a trusted and enduring institution for the community

To reduce systemic disparities, we will put populations facing the most vulnerable circumstances — low-income households, immigrants and communities of color — at the center of our work. We will support efforts that build strong and engaged communities, and we will work with our donors to promote effective philanthropy with a focus on local giving.

We will be making changes to our grantmaking programs to meet these goals. Through the grantmaking programs that are guided by our board and staff, we will be shifting to provide more general operating support and capacity-building grants to a broader range of organizations that serve people and build movements. We have already demonstrated these changes in our response to COVID-19 by simplifying the application process and reporting requirements for our Regional Nonprofit Emergency Fund. This reduced the burden on our nonprofit partners, allowing them to secure resources more quickly and helping them preserve the continuity of their services during a time of great need.

We recognize that any change to a foundation’s grantmaking program can have unanticipated consequences for nonprofit and community partners. To help minimize any disruption and to allow time to adjust to these changes, we have already notified our nonprofit partners that 2020 is the final year of grant funding that will be provided under our current five grantmaking strategies: Civic Participation, Common Core Education, Financial Stability (Public Benefits and Tax Preparation), Housing and Transportation, and Immigration.

We will share more about our new grantmaking opportunities in the coming months. In the meantime, we will continue to provide support to affected individuals and families, nonprofits and small businesses through our COVID-19 response funds.

For questions about this information, nonprofit organizations please contact Gina Dalma, Executive Vice President, Community Action, Policy & Strategy, at, or Manuel Santamaría, Vice President, Community Action, Policy & Strategy,

SVCF fund holders should contact their Philanthropy Advisor or email