General Operating Support in the Field & Sobrato’s GOS Grants

Funders and nonprofits have acknowledged the importance of general operating support (GOS) for decades, yet GOS grants consistently account for a relatively small proportion of overall philanthropic giving. Considered a leader in GOS by both funders and grantees, the Sobrato Family Foundation was early to adopt GOS grants as a core component of the Foundation’s philanthropic strategy. The Foundation is now in the relatively unique position of having a robust test period over which to evaluate the impact and potential of GOS on the recipient organizations and on the region’s nonprofit community as a whole.

The Sobrato Family Foundation’s GOS grants provide flexible support for Silicon Valley nonprofits that foster self-reliance, increase economic independence, and improve the quality of life for those most in need. The Foundation’s community-driven approach to grantmaking reflects the Sobrato family’s deep commitment to Silicon Valley, and while the Foundation’s grantmaking has evolved over the years, the Foundation’s commitment to GOS, multi-year support, and working with a broad range of partners has remained constant. 

While Silicon Valley is known as a hub of innovation and one of the wealthiest parts of the country, the region also experiences deep inequities and one of the widest income gaps in the country. The Foundation’s commitment to serving the most marginalized communities is directly built into Sobrato’s approach to GOS grantmaking, which requires that grantees serve economically challenged clients.

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