The Sobrato family is committed to Building a Strong & Vibrant Silicon Valley Community through Business and Philanthropic Leadership. As the primary grantmaking vehicle of the Sobrato Philanthropies, the Sobrato Family Foundation seeks to make Silicon Valley a place of opportunity for all its residents by promoting access to high-quality education, career pathways, and essential human services.
Our Community Impact Platform
For nearly twenty years, SFF has been a place-based grantmaker that invests 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 support 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.
Our Guiding Principles
The Sobrato Family Foundation applies these guiding principles, as it advances the Sobrato family’s collective philanthropic interest:
- Our resources and energies are focused on low-income, underserved, and at-risk populations.
- We strive for lasting change in the communities we serve, as we also help people meet their basic needs.
- We make strategic investments in innovative organizations striving to create sustainable impact.
- We elevate the voices of marginalized communities, including those experiencing language, economic, and other barriers to opportunity.
- We provide leadership and expertise to advance community solutions aligned with our goals.