Guiding Principles

Download a PDF of the Guiding Principles

Purpose: To promote the well-being of humanity.

Role: Strategic philanthropic investor.

Guiding Principles:

1.  The Foundation strives to follow the commitment to philanthropy and style of operation established by the Founders.


Low key approach
Respectful leadership
Small staff of exceptional quality, low overhead, simple procedures
Long-term partnerships with and general support of institutions
Responsibility to support the greater Bay Area and California community

2.  The Foundation focuses on the most serious problems facing society where risk capital, responsibly invested, may make a difference over time and on sustaining and improving institutions making positive contributions to society.


Grantmaking has clearly defined focus areas
Grantmaking is pragmatic and non-ideological
Grants support a wide variety of organizations

3.  The Foundation strives to maximize the effectiveness of its support.


Collaboration with others
Support of independent non-partisan policy research, analysis, and policy advocacy within allowable limits
Long-term support
General operating support
Outcome-oriented grantmaking
Self-evaluation of effectiveness

4.  The Foundation seeks to encourage giving from other sources and has a stake in encouraging and developing philanthropy generally.


Leveraging support through matching grants where helpful to grantees
Collaborating with other foundations
Supporting efforts to foster and improve philanthropy

5.  The Foundation recognizes its position as a partner in problem-solving.


Helping people help themselves; empowering communities
Listening to grantees and other stakeholders

6.  The Foundation wishes to remain flexible, maintaining the ability to respond to unforeseen circumstances, the evolving needs of society, and emerging opportunities in a timely fashion.

7.  The Foundation strives to maintain the highest ethical standards.


Adhering to the Foundation’s Code of Ethics and related policies.

8.  The administration of the Foundation is based on a cooperative working relationship between the Board, the President, and the staff. The President is the leader of the Foundation.

November 2010