General Operating Support [GOS] Cash Grants


The Sobrato Family Foundation has made General Operating Support (GOS) grants since 2004. These two-year grants provide unrestricted funding to organizations providing direct services to low-income beneficiaries in Silicon Valley. 


In 2018, the Foundation completed its first ever review of the GOS program. If you are interested in reading more about this assessment please click here


Eligibility Criteria


GOS grants are made to independent 501(c)(3) organizations working to serve low-income clients in Silicon Valley. 


Common services funded through our program include: housing and shelter, community health services, food services, senior care, domestic violence response and legal aid, emergency assistance, and agencies providing multiple forms of family and children services.


To qualify for the program, at least 50% of an organization’s clients must be in Silicon Valley, California; which SFF views as encompassing Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, and the southern region of Alameda County (Hayward, Newark, Fremont & Union City). 


An applicant’s clients must be economically challenged. 


The GOS program does not accept applications from those organizations with fiscal sponsors.


Ineligible Activities


Organizations with over 50% of their programs in mental health, the environment, or the arts are specifically ineligible.


We also do not support the following activities:

  • Fundraising events or endowment campaigns
  • School-managed clubs or individual schools (except by invitation only)
  • Medical research or specific diseases
  • Projects created or operated by public government agencies or departments
  • Public libraries or their foundations
  • Type III Supporting Organizations unless “functionally integrated”

Our list of current GOS grantees provides an overview of the types of organizations and amounts we fund.


Decision Process


We award general operating support grants in a competitive manner based on a thorough review of a variety of factors, including: measures of organizational strength (leadership, fundraising & development, finances, data& evaluation, and communications); organization size; organization need; prior SFF grant amount, if applicable; and our internal GOS program budget. 


The GOS review process includes SFF staff review of the submitted application materials and an in-person meeting with your organization’s leadership. You can expect a grant decision approximately three months after your application is submitted. 


Our GOS grants are always awarded for a two-year period.  Please note that the second year of the two-year grant is contingent on the grantee successfully raising new or increased cash funds from non-governmental sources (i.e., individuals, corporations, and foundations). We cap our GOS grants at $250,000/year, and our average GOS grant currently sits at about $62,000/year. 


Who To Contact


To be notified about the opportunity to apply for a GOS grant, please see here.