Grantmaking Guidelines

Eligible organizations must meet the following guidelines to be considered for grant funding. The foundation supports:

    • Public charities operating under an IRS 501(c)(3) status or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization; 
    • Organizations serving the residents of San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and Sonoma counties, and limited to Palo Alto in Santa Clara County; 
    • Organizations with culturally-competent leadership, staff, and volunteers who provide individualized mentorship and support for each student; 
    • The foundation prioritizes support of organizations that encompass community service for low-income youth within each of the foundation’s priority program areas;  
    • The foundation does not support medical research, individuals, endowments, events, annual appeals, or religious organizations other than those providing non-sectarian services to the community; 
    • Prefers to receive requests for specific projects and programs that focus on the following: 

College Access and Persistence, ensuring that students who come from low-income backgrounds persist on a pathway through secondary school and into and through two- or four-year college with the support of high-quality academic and college-bound programs. Attributes of successful grantee organizations and programs:

  • Serves students ages 10-24 who demonstrate a commitment to achieve despite backgrounds that may include significant risk factors (e.g., first-in-family to attend college or status as an English language learner) and few supports 
  • Strong program model based on recognized best practices in the field that is offered in or after school, including summers 
  • Provides sequential support that bridges one or more critical transition phases over a number of years (e.g., middle to high school and/or high school to college) to ensure persistence and success 
  • When academic support is provided to students, it is articulated to promote A-G course attainment 
  • The foundation does not support scholarship programs unless they have a structured in-depth academic support component 

Workplace Success, providing youth who face significant obstacles to employment with comprehensive training and services that prepare them for job placement with increased earnings potential. Attributes of successful grantee organizations and programs:

  • At least 50% of program population served should be students aged 15-24 who demonstrate a commitment to employability despite backgrounds that may include significant risk factors  (e.g., poor academic preparation or former foster youth status) and few supports 
  • Skills training includes soft-skills development as well as vocational/technical skills training that leads to living-wage and career building jobs in growth industries 
  • Strong program model based on recognized best practices in the field that incorporates skills training and wraparound support services 
  • Provide opportunities for academic or marketable credentials, including GEDs, high school diplomas, and industry-recognized certificates and coursework 

Cultural Enrichment
providing students with equal access to participatory arts education to foster an appreciation of the arts while promoting community engagement through cultural experiences. Attributes of successful grantee organizations and programs:

  • Serves students ages 5-18 from low-income backgrounds 
  • Promotes an understanding of the arts and development of art skills (includes but is not limited to literary, media, performing, and visual) 
  • Long-term focus on program depth through in-school, after-school and/or out-of-school opportunities with priority given to programs with a robust, sequential curriculum or training that help students meaningfully build artistic performance or skills.  

Environmental Education, providing youth with high engagement programs that provide outdoor experiential, wilderness, and environmental science education. Attributes of successful grantee organizations and programs: Serves students ages 10-18 from low-income backgrounds 

  • Provides free or subsidized fees to program services and camps 
  • Create meaningful opportunities for youth to build careers in Environmental Preservation and addressing Climate Change with access to mentors, program leaders, internships and other paid employment.  
  • The foundation does not fund one-time wilderness experiences. 


Rest Year Policy

The Kimball Foundation seeks to provide both ongoing support for effective nonprofit organizations, and to identify and support new and promising organizations. To achieve this goal, the foundation employs the following “rest year” policy: organizations that receive four years of consecutive funding need to take a one-year rest before receiving additional support.