At The San Francisco Foundation, philanthropy is fresh and evolving – reflecting the changing needs of communities and the vision and values of our donors. With assets of over $1.1 billion, The San Francisco Foundation manages the charitable activities of close to 500 individuals and families, and the trusts and endowments of many others who support our work.
Thanks to the Foundation’s sound investment management practices, donors’ funds grow while they meet their charitable goals. And the Foundation’s breadth of program expertise helps many of our donors make informed giving decisions. Here are a few of their voices and stories about creating lasting impact in the Bay Area.
Deborah Santana Shares her Story about her Donor Advised Fund:
The Do A Little Fund
Growing up in a lower middle class San Francisco home, Deborah Santana’s family always participated in Pound Fridays through their church – each week anonymously leaving a pound of flour or sugar or a loaf of bread on someone’s doorstep. This generosity was ingrained in Deborah from that young age, and it has motivated her throughout her life. “Everyday I feel gratitude for the goodness and abundance that’s in my own life,” she said. “Everyday I feel a beautiful obligation – not a punitive or forceful one – to make sure that I spend part of my life sharing my abundance with others.”
Deborah models for her now-grown children what she hopes they will do with their lives. From family trips to South Africa bringing much-needed supplies and supporting the lives of local communities, to her dedication to supporting health, youth, girls’ education, and domestic violence organizations, she is leading by example. “The way I named my donor advised fund – the Do A Little Fund – is really the way I’ve raised my children and how I feel about giving in the world,” she explained. “Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’”
Deborah’s support reaches far and wide. She invests in local organizations like Stanford’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Oakland Technical High School, and Marin Community Clinics. Deborah also joined a dynamic collaborative of funders, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders supporting The San Francisco Foundation Impact Fund. She previously chaired the Community Leadership Awards Committee and participates regularly in Foundation events. “Coming to events at The San Francisco Foundation, even just coming into the building, always raises my spirits,” she said. “The work being done at the Foundation and within the Bay Area community is so profound and inspiring to me.
Deborah says the Foundation has opened doors for her, bringing new insights that drive her philanthropy. “If I just listen to the news and read the newspaper, I wouldn’t feel the world is as fabulous as it is. When I come to the Foundation’s events, especially the Community Leadership Awards, and hear about the people who have overcome hardships and are doing so much in the community that we don’t read about in the newspaper, I’m flying, I’m soaring. I receive inspiration to do more, and I feel content.”
Deborah values her collaboration with The San Francisco Foundation. “I trust the Foundation staff and Board. I know that I can go to them to ask questions and receive answers that will further me along my path and provide a wealth of information. I feel so grateful to have The San Francisco Foundation as a partner, and I respect everyone there and the mission to be a vehicle for change.”
Nigel and Barbara Renton’s Legacy
Nigel and Barbara Renton’s kindness, passion, and respect for the world have driven them to generously donate their talents and resources to the community that has enriched their lives. With lifelong interests in education, the arts, and the environment, Nigel and Barbara have steadily supported causes close to their hearts. As their financial situation evolved, they made a longer term commitment, opening a donor advised fund at The San Francisco Foundation and using assets of appreciated stocks to fund a charitable remainder unitrust. The Renton’s legacy gift provides a stream of income to them and will support both their donor advised fund and their most revered causes, strengthening our community for generations to come.
Pablo and Cora Tellez Started a Scholarship Fund
The Pablo Tellez Scholarship Fund at The San Francisco Foundation identifies young Latino men and women in public high schools who, with some help, can come into their leadership skills. The well known proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime,” has always resonated with Pablo and Cora Tellez. Pablo and Cora believe that by enabling people through education, they learn how to build their personal capacity and can become self-sufficient and independent. The scholarship focuses on students with potential, who wouldn’t otherwise be recognized through the usual standard levels of measurement such as a high grade point average. “We see this scholarship as one way to help some of these young men and women who are diamonds in the roughmove towards accomplishing self-sufficiency, independence, and control of their lives.”
Ann Chamberlain Established a Fund to Support Fine Arts
For acclaimed visual artist Ann Chamberlain, collaboration was a key creative force. From immigrants and cancer survivors, to indigenous women and prisoners – these were her co-creators as she designed large-scale public commissions, printed books, and installations. As both an artist and a tenured faculty member at the San Francisco Art Institute, she was deeply committed to her belief that art has the potential to redefine public space, and therefore peoples’ lives and histories. Ann’s strong commitment to the community was closely aligned with the mission and values of The San Francisco Foundation. Through her estate, she established the Harker Fund to support fellowships for instructors of the fine arts. The Fund promises to build on her personal legacy to enrich and broaden arts education in the Bay Area.