Who We Are: A Message from the Chair and CEO

Dear Friends:

Throughout ZFF’s 63 years, we have strived to let our values guide our work.  Like all organizations, we have experienced transitions in staff and leadership and shifts in our programs and strategies.  However, our values have kept the foundation grounded and ensured continuity in our approach and our impact.

Partnership and collaboration are core to those values and have remained central to the culture of the foundation since its founding.  As a relatively small, regional foundation, ZFF relies on partnerships to expand its reach and advance its ambitious agenda. We partner with advocates, public agencies, community-based organizations, community members, academics and other funders.

Across all of our programs, ZFF’s partnerships with peer funders are fundamental to our work.  Collaboratives such as California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMOC), the California Child Welfare Co-investment Partnership, and Grantmakers Concerned for Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), have offered new perspectives and insight to our grantmaking.  ZFF’s Community Arts program, the foundation’s longest running grant program which provides grants to small and emerging artists and arts organizations, was built on partnership.  Central to the program is the close collaboration between ZFF staff and the Community Arts Panel, a rotating group of local artists who volunteer their time to review hundreds of grant applications every year.  Their deep knowledge of the field informs our efforts and ensures that the program stays relevant and impactful.

Community Arts is also unique in that it is the only program supported by other foundations. For over thirty years, ZFF has partnered with other Bay Area funders such as the Levi Straus Foundation and the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation to include a range of perspectives and input as the program evolved over time.  ZFF is especially grateful to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has remained a committed partner to the Community Arts Program for over 18 years.

ZFF is thrilled to announce the Community Arts Program’s newest partnership with The San Francisco Foundation. TSFF is an incubator for community investment, original ideas, and passionate leadership in the Bay Area.  Their focus on racial and economic inclusion will bring fresh insight to the Community Arts program and its grantees.  We are so pleased to welcome TSFF as a partner and look forward to a long and successful collaboration.

Tom Zellerbach
Board President

Allison Magee
Executive Director