Donor Circle for the Environment

Donor Circle for the Environment

Making Environmental Philanthropy More Powerful

The Donor Circle for the Environment is a group of philanthropists interested in learning and grantmaking together to support and grow nonprofits addressing local and regional environmental issues. Since its inception, the donor circle has granted $448,000 to 16 nonprofits working throughout the Bay Area (usually with a Silicon Valley focus) on projects in its three concentration areas – climate change, land conservation and preservation, and environmental education.

To increase the potential for learning, the donor circle selects a new overarching thematic focus each year. In 2016, the group focused its work on San Francisco Bay; the group is currently considering themes for 2017. As part of its guiding principles, the donor circle looks to support projects that enable small nonprofits at inflection points to scale their impact. All grants are delivered over two years or less, and the group considers issues of diversity and cultural relevancy as they apply to the long-term sustainability of projects.

The Donor Circle for the Environment is open to all donors at SVCF. We invite you to participate by adding to this pool of community dollars, or even better, by joining the circle.

Membership in the Donor Circle for the Environment offers:

  • Increased philanthropic impact by pooling resources with other donors
  • An opportunity to celebrate your passion for the environment and meet others who share this commitment
  • Participation in the selection of environmental organization grantees
  • Site visits to see how grantees and other organizations are creating an impact on the environment and people's lives

To find out more about the circle’s activities, or to contribute to the Donor Circle for the Environment today, please contact Andy Perkins, senior philanthropy advisor at 650.450.5454 or

Donor Circle for the Environment Grantees: SF Bay -  2016

BaykeeperBay AreaTo support the organization’s important work as a watchdog to keep San Francisco Bay clean and healthy$5,000
Audubon CaliforniaBay AreaTo explore the potential of San Francisco Bay estuary eelgrass as a source of “Blue Carbon” that could be used for carbon credits to help mitigate climate change$30,000
San Francisco Estuary InstituteBay AreaTo develop a plan to create a new Center for Resilient Landscapes to accelerate and incorporate state-of-the-art science into Bay Area climate adaptation policy decisions for more resilient communities and ecosystems $30,000
Save the BayBay AreaTo support Bay Area wetlands restoration to help improve the health of SF Bay and better adapt to climate change$35,000

Donor Circle for the Environment Grantees: Local Food System -  2015

California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)CaliforniaTo help lay the groundwork for successful implementation of new state funding programs in support of low-carbon and sustainable agricultural practices$30,000
Carbon Cycle InstituteBay AreaTo implement CCI’s Ag Carbon program and scale effective low-carbon farming and regenerative rangeland management practices around the Bay Area$30,000
Kitchen Table AdvisorsSan Mateo CountyTo support KTA’s transition from a pilot phase to a full-scale program providing business and financial advisory services to sustainable small farms$15,000
Pie RanchSan Mateo CountyTo support the “Youth & Emerging Farmer Eco-Science Research” project which teaches the environmental impacts of farming and sustainable farming practices$15,000
Sustainable ConservationCaliforniaTo support the development of sound manure management practices and markets that will greatly reduce methane emissions from livestock$30,000

Donor Circle for the Environment Grantees: Water -  2014

Point BlueSanta Cruz MountainsTo restore native vegetation while providing hands-on environmental education for underserved students and teachers$20,000
San Mateo County Resource Conservation DistrictSan Mateo CoastTo construct, repair and enhance farm ponds for environmental, agricultural and economic benefits$40,000
Sustainable ConservationSanta Cruz CountyTo develop metrics and incentive mechanisms to accelerate adoption of water management practices that balance sustained agricultural productivity with protection of natural resources$40,000

Donor Circle for the Environment Grantees - 2013

Bay Area Climate CollaborativeBay AreaTo ensure that schools in low-income communities are able to maximize the benefits of clean energy investments$40,000
Canopy / Environmental VolunteersEast Palo AltoTo enable students to participate in inquiry-based science programs in the classroom combined with field trips to explore local ecosystems$15,000
Foundation for Youth InvestmentBay AreaTo develop future leaders and meet the need for culturally diverse, qualified instructors in the outdoor education field$15,000
Golden Gate National Parks ConservancySan Mateo CountyTo bring the Roving Ranger to San Mateo schools to introduce students to our parklands$10,000
Greenbelt AllianceBay AreaTo help local conservation organizations address the threats facing the Bay Area’s greenbelt$40,000