Safety Net Funders Network
The 2008 Great Recession hit Bay Area families and individuals hard in the form of lost jobs, foreclosed homes, and support services overwhelmed with increased need. At the same time, the nonprofit sector experienced massive budget cuts and declining individual donations. In response, Bay Area philanthropy looked for ways to help and in more impactful ways. Foundations and corporate funders not only expanded their grantmaking to social service providers, but also began exploring opportunities to learn from the field and invest in system change efforts to improve safety net policies in the long run.
To that end, The San Francisco Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Y&H Soda Foundation, United Way of the Bay Area, and the East Bay Community Foundation launched the Safety Net Funders Network in September 2009. The Network’s goal is to enhance the impact of foundations’ individual and collective safety net grantmaking by sharing funding strategies and lessons learned, as well as best practices gleaned in site visits and conversations with partner organizations on the ground. The short term goals are refined grantmaking priorities. Over the longer term, the Network seeks to identify advocacy and system change strategies to strengthen the safety net system as a whole.
Safety Net Funders Network activities include briefings with key safety net providers, policy advocates, and funders around safety net topics such as food security, housing and homeless prevention, domestic violence services, crisis intervention, and information and referral services, as well as mobile site visits to providers in particularly impacted Bay Area neighborhoods.
To date, the Safety Net Funders Network included participation on areas of common interest from the following foundations: Bank of America, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, S. H. Cowell Foundation, Episcopal Charities, East Bay Community Foundation, Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Jewish Community Federation, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Koret Foundation, Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, Thomas J. Long Foundation, Philanthropic Ventures Fund, Charles & Helen Schwab Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Women’s Foundation of California.
An objective of the Network is to document, compile, and share learnings in a series of issue briefs that give current snapshots of the particular safety net services, funding opportunities therein, as well as philanthropic investment strategies.
The following briefs are available to download in PDF:
- Safety Net Funders Network Issue Brief: Reentry from Incarceration (February 2012)
- Strengthening the Safety Net – Bay Area Philanthropy’s Response & Early Lessons (May 2010)
- Food Security (September 2010)
- Domestic Violence (November 2010)
- Homelessness (December 2010)