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Adopted by the SBCF Board of Directors, October 7, 2015

Approved by the San Bruno City Council, November 10, 2015



The San Bruno Community Foundation was established by the San Bruno City Council to administer, for the long-term benefit of the San Bruno community, the $70 million in restitution funds resulting from the devastating 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood. 


This document articulates the over-arching conceptual framework for the Foundation’s program strategy for using the restitution funds to benefit the community.  It includes the Foundation’s mission, vision, and purpose statements; guiding principles; funding criteria; and a “three-bucket” program strategy approach.  The framework recognizes the Foundation’s unique position in San Bruno to invest in community programs, projects, and facilities in an effort to enhance the quality of life for all members of the community. 


In creating this program strategy framework, particularly the funding criteria and focus areas, the Foundation considered feedback from the Community Listening Campaign it conducted in the spring of 2015, San Bruno demographics, and the “Ten Key Components of Healthy, Equitable Communities in San Mateo County” compiled by the San Mateo County Health System.


This framework envisions the Foundation as a nimble, flexible, and transparent institution that is responsive to the needs of the community and dedicated to building and supporting a vibrant, healthy, and equitable San Bruno for years to come.




The San Bruno Community Foundation’s Purpose, Vision, and Mission Statements drive what the Foundation does and how it operates.


A.  Purpose Statement in SBCF Bylaws


Approved by the San Bruno City Council, October 2013:


The primary purpose of the Foundation is to benefit the San Bruno Community through enduring and significant contributions to, and investments in, charitable and community programs, and publicly owned community facilities, over the long term.



B.  Vision Statement


Adopted by the SBCF Board of Directors, October 2014:


The SBCF is a resource dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the San Bruno Community.


C.  Mission Statement


Adopted by the SBCF Board of Directors, October 2014:


The SBCF serves the San Bruno community by investing in projects, programs, services, and facilities that have significant and lasting benefits. Through making grants, leveraging partnerships, and taking advantage of other resources, the SBCF assists and enables the community to maximize shared investments and realize their subsequent enhancements and benefits.




The Foundation’s Guiding Principles include:


A.  The Foundation focuses on projects, programs, and initiatives that promote a healthy, vibrant, and equitable San Bruno community, especially where it can serve as a catalyst for significant enhancements in the quality of life for those who live and work in San Bruno.


B.  Through the collective impact of all of its programs, the Foundation seeks to address the needs of the various and diverse components of the San Bruno community. 


C.  The San Bruno Community Foundation is committed to open and transparent communication with the community and maintaining the highest ethical standards in all areas of its operations. 


D.  To maximize the impact of its work, the Foundation collaborates with the City of San Bruno and other appropriate organizations to enhance and/or leverage projects, programs, and initiatives being undertaken or considered by the City or other organizations, thereby pooling resources and avoiding duplication of effort on projects of common interest.


E.  The Foundation strives to use its resources effectively and prudently in all its activities.


F.  The Foundation recognizes its role as a partner, convener, and facilitator toward the goal of enhancing the quality of life in San Bruno.


G.  The Foundation encourages giving from other sources and has a stake in encouraging and developing philanthropy generally.


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




Generally speaking, the Foundation adheres to the following funding guidelines, while retaining the discretion to modify or amend them if circumstances require.


A.  What the Foundation Funds


The Foundation provides three main types of support:


1.  Programs and Project Support


The Foundation may fund programs and projects that fall within one or more of its focus areas and further its mission.  This support is targeted to a specific program or project that provides direct benefits to the community.  This support may be used to pay for all costs directly related to the operation of the program or project, including staff costs. 


In the case of providing “seed” funding for new or expanded programs and projects, the Foundation may require a business plan that outlines long-term maintenance and self-sustainability.


2.  Support for Capital Projects for Community Facilities


The Foundation may provide funding for the new construction, expansion, renovation, or replacement of community facilities in San Bruno.  To ensure long-term success, these projects require a partnership with the appropriate public or nonprofit entity that owns and would provide continuing maintenance for the community facility.  They also may require the community facility entity to have in place a viable business plan to ensure proper maintenance, care, upkeep, and usage of the facility over the long term.  


3.  Capacity-Building


The Foundation may provide funding to help nonprofits and other organizations carry out their missions more effectively.  Capacity building can take many forms, including strategic planning, business planning, and organizational assessment; board and staff development; fundraising, marketing, and communications planning and implementation; improving financial management; and initiating collaboration with other organizations.  This support is targeted to a specific capacity-building activity over a set period of time. 


B.  What the Foundation Does Not Fund


The Foundation generally does not fund the following items:


  • Existing deficits

  • Direct contributions to restricted endowments

  • Unsolicited requests for direct aid to individuals

  • Lobbying or political activity

  • Religious activity that government agencies are legally prohibited from funding


C.  Eligible Funding Recipients


Generally speaking, the Foundation may fund organizations that provide a significant benefit to the San Bruno community.  They include:


  • Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations

  • Governmental entities (e.g., City of San Bruno, school districts that serve San Bruno youth)

  • Individuals, but only if the Foundation has specifically established a program to provide assistance to recipients based on articulated guidelines and qualifications (e.g., a college scholarship program)


Entities that are not eligible for Foundation funding include political organizations and any organization that unlawfully discriminates in violation of state or federal law, including on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or religion


The Foundation may not use public funds to fund any organization in violation of state or federal law. 


D.  Focus Areas


The Foundation focuses its funding on enhancing the quality of life in San Bruno, with an emphasis on enduring and long-term benefits.  These areas of priority include:


  • Publicly owned community facilities

  • Community health and safety

  • Sports and recreation

  • Education

  • Youth activities

  • Public spaces, parks, and open space

  • Community-building

  • Human and social services for all

  • Economic vitality

  • Intra-San Bruno transit

  • Healthy, stable, and affordable housing




The Foundation’s programs fall into three categories, or buckets, of activity.  Under the first two buckets, the Foundation operates as a grantmaker, providing grant funding to eligible organizations.  Under the third bucket, the Foundation actively runs its own programs and projects in furtherance of its mission.  


A.  Strategic Grantmaking


One of the Foundation’s primary roles is as a strategic grantmaker, identifying a specific community need and proactively charting a course to address that need, with specific outcomes in mind.


The Foundation’s strategic grantmaking activities can take various forms, including:


  • Proactive Grantmaking: The Foundation seeks out and identifies organizations and programs that target specific issues the Foundation wants to address.

  • Initiative Grantmaking: The Foundation assumes a leadership role to focus on specific issue areas.  This form of grantmaking may involve convening and collaborating with key partners.

  • Collaborative Grantmaking: The Foundation works with other funders on specific areas of interest that all mutually agree to support.


It is anticipated that many of the Foundation’s larger grants will be strategic grants, where the Foundation, in partnership with other key stakeholders, identifies a specific community need and proactively reaches out to the organizations best suited to address that need to develop a course of action. 


B.  Responsive Grantmaking


As a responsive grantmaker, the Foundation may distribute grants in response to requests from community groups for programs and projects that fall within the Foundation’s mission and the guidelines it establishes for the funding.  The Foundation may accept unsolicited grant applications from these community groups and will consider them for funding based on established guidelines. 


C.  Foundation Programs


In addition to grantmaking, the Foundation may run its own programs and projects.  Such activities will most likely be limited to programs involving disbursements of funds and/or honorary recognition to individuals following articulated guidelines (e.g., scholarship or awards program) or hosting of events.  In the future, Foundation programs may include research, consulting (e.g., advising nonprofits), and mission-related investment opportunities. 

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