Guiding Principles
of the Sobrato Family Foundation
In support of the values of the Sobrato Family:
  • We seek to empower low‐income, underserved, and at-risk populations that are experiencing language, economic, and other barriers to opportunity.
  • We strive for lasting change in the communities we serve, as we also help people meet their basic needs.
  • We make strategic investments in effective organizations striving to create sustainable impact.
  • We provide leadership and expertise to advance community solutions aligned with our goals.

What Success Looks Like
21st Century Education
  • Districts throughout the state with high populations of EL students have implemented SEAL and California has adopted SEAL for Pre-K to 3rd grade EL education.
  • An increasing array of school options are in place that prevent low-income kids from attending under-performing schools.
  • High-quality teacher and school leader training programs have been established in Silicon Valley to prepare their graduates to work effectively in low-income communities.
  • Increased transparency and community participation in school district funding and academic performance advances education reform efforts.

Pathways for Success
  • Expanded access to middle skills jobs for individuals without high school or four-year-college completion creates greater local employment opportunities.

Core Programs: GOS and TNS
  • Our GOS program helps maintain access to human services and increases community awareness and support for these essential services.
  • Our investments in the nonprofit centers promote collaboration and innovation, while keeping essential services in the community.
  • The capacity of our nonprofit partners is equal to the scale of the social issues
    we seek to address.


Our Mission


Make Silicon Valley a place of opportunity for all its residents.


The Sobrato Family Foundation advances the Sobrato Family’s collective philanthropic interest by promoting access to high-quality education, career pathways, and essential human services.


Our Community Impact Platform


As the primary grantmaking vehicle of the Sobrato Philanthropies, for nearly twenty years SFF has invested exclusively in nonprofits serving those most in need in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Southern Alameda counties. The Foundation’s portfolio utilizes both cash and real estate to achieve maximum impact, granting $18M in multi-year general operating and strategic program support, along with $5.4M in annual value of office space to 70 nonprofits, and free conference facilities to hundreds of Bay Area nonprofits at its three Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits located in Redwood Shores, San Jose and Milpitas.


During 2014, the Sobrato Family Foundation took time to determine which outcomes we could help achieve in the community through philanthropy, and which programs, strategies, and tools best fit the work ahead—all with an eye toward fulfilling our mission of promoting economic opportunity for all who work and live in our community. This process reaffirmed the Sobrato Family’s long held position that access to a high-quality education is critical to economic mobility. It also shined a light on the Valley’s acute need to strengthen pathways to middle skill careers.


These priorities complement SFF’s longstanding commitment to our region’s essential human services, and the operational needs our nonprofit community. Moving forward, our primary strategic and responsive grantmaking programs are focused on 21st Century Education and Pathways for Success. These activities, coupled with our core General Operating Support program and commitment to a Thriving Nonprofit Sector, comprise our Community Impact Platform.


21st Century Education


Expanding avenues for low-income and English learner students to attain a college credential through improved educational quality, equity and choice–thereby increasing their economic opportunity.

  • Sobrato Early Academic Language [SEAL] Model—expanding this proven professional development and program model that enables students, particularly English Learners, to attain age-appropriate literacy and grade-level mastery of academic material by the end of third grade.
  • Quality School Alternatives—ensuring high-quality school options are in place to prevent low-income students from attending under-performing schools.
  • Charter Growth & Facilities—opening additional high-quality schools in our target counties, and expanding the use of suitable district facilities.
  • New Teacher & School Leadership Development—supporting local university, teacher and administrator training programs to prepare candidates for school leadership positions, and bolster training around oral language development for English Learners.

Pathways for Success


SFF’s initial Career Pathways grants under our new Pathways for Success program target programs that develop career ladders to middle-skill jobs, and organizations that work with industry employer partners to expand the number of middle-skill jobs available to our workforce.


General Operating Support


Providing flexible support for Silicon Valley-based nonprofits that promote self-reliance and economic independence, and positively contribute to the quality of life for those in our region facing deep challenges.


Thriving Nonprofit Sector


Increasing the effectiveness, scalability, and systemic impact of our nonprofit partners, and supporting the development of more high-quality nonprofit leaders. We also aim to help strengthen outcome-based partners through nonprofit leadership development and training programs.

  • Nonprofit Capacity, Innovation & Scale—sponsoring capacity-building trainings, networking events, and leadership development for the region’s nonprofits to ensure the capacity of our nonprofit partners is equal to the scale of the social issues we seek to address.
  • Sobrato Centers for Nonprofits—supporting our community of 70 nonprofit organizations occupying 333,000 square feet of office, conference, and storage space at three multi-tenant nonprofit centers in Milpitas, San Jose and Redwood Shores.