Youth-Serving Organizations in Silicon Valley and throughout California to benefit from PropelNext California Partnership

Dec 15, 2014

Sobrato Family Foundation joins the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Weingart Foundation in Los Angeles, and New York’s Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in this unique funding partnership. View press release

PropelNext, an initiative of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation [EMCF], helps leading nonprofits gain the mastery to collect, use, and apply data for ongoing improvement and learning. EMCF first launched PropelNext in 2012 with a national cohort of 13 grantees (in 10 states). For its second cohort, the initiative is taking a regional approach, selecting 12-16 California youth-serving nonprofits that are eager to transform their passion for helping disadvantaged youth into data-driven insights and practices that will help them deliver even stronger results.

PropelNext grantees are high-potential youth development organizations that change the life trajectory of foster youth, youth in the juvenile justice system, and others disengaged from school and employment. The initiative offers these grantees an integrated program that couples unrestricted funding (up to $400,000 per organization) with an equal investment in expert coaching, group learning sessions, and a peer learning community over three years so they can enhance their program models, implement strong performance management systems, and develop organizational cultures that practice ongoing learning and evaluation.

As a result, these nonprofits will be able to set strategic priorities informed by data and improved decision-making, measure and track performance and impact, and use evidence to increase support for their work. In the end, the foundations involved in funding the partnership believe the life prospects of disadvantaged youth in California will be improved by smarter, stronger organizations.

“Committed to a thriving nonprofit sector—and to ensuring Silicon Valley is a place of opportunity for all—the Sobrato Family Foundation is proud to partner in this collaborative,” stated Mara Williams Low, Program Director at the Sobrato Family Foundation. “PropelNext’s first, national cohort is proving deeply effective, and this second, regional approach in California is something we’re excited to support. We know that these investments will strengthen organizations, and lead to greater outcomes for the youth in our region.”

“We are happy to be part of this initiative for several reasons, including the fact that PropelNext will help focus national attention and resources in Silicon Valley, “ said Rick Williams, Sobrato Family Foundation CEO. “Compared to neighboring counties, here in the Valley we have fewer youth-serving organizations serving a larger population of youth in need—and doing it with far fewer philanthropic dollars. Calling attention to the situation, while launching organizations to the next phase of impact, will help create real and lasting change for Silicon Valley families.”

The PropelNext California Partnership focuses on nonprofits operating in 15 counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. “The Hewlett, Packard, Sobrato, and Weingart foundations are deeply committed to supporting organizations in their communities,” stated Lissette Rodriguez, managing director of PropelNext, “so we are excited to partner with them and focus on our next group of grantees in California.” All five foundations share a desire and commitment to communicate learnings from this new partnership, and will publish the results of a formal evaluation.

The process for selecting the California grantees began in November 2014, when the five foundations solicited referrals for prospective grantees through their local and national networks. In January 2015, PropelNext will invite approximately 100 nonprofit organizations to apply, with final selections made by July 2015 and grants awarded soon thereafter.

For more information about PropelNext, please visit For questions about the grants competition, please contact