Below, you will find answers to the frequently asked questions received

by the Foundation from prospective nominations or applicants.



  • 501(c)(3)s and fiscally-sponsored organizations located and working in at least one of the nine Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Marin, Sonoma, Napa).
  • Organizations with annual operating budgets of $2 million or less.
  • Previous WJZ Award winners are not eligible.
  • Organizations may apply again in subsequent years, but may only win the WJZ Award once.
  • Organizations should only submit one application for this award each year.
  • Organizations whose leadership or staff are affiliated with the Zellerbach Family Foundation are not eligible.


Applicants/nominees will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Youth Organizing: The Awardee effectively uses youth organizing in their efforts to advance social change.
    This could include:

    • Training youth to lead efforts in sustainable systems change in their communities
    • Providing structure and support so youth can develop, learn, and heal
    • Creating leadership pathways for youth (e.g., placing youth in spaces of governance through internships, staff positions, boards and commissions, etc)
    • Developing campaigns by and for youth
    • Developing strategic communications plans
    • Building and engaging broad based coalitions and alliances to advance their work
  • Equity: The awardee is focused on fairness, inclusion, and opportunities for communities excluded historically and structurally from resources and decision-making
  • Representation: The program or work of the organization is informed by the communities it serves
  • Collaboration: The awardee have demonstrated a commitment to work effectively with other organizations, leaders, and/or sectors

Individuals or organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status must use a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsorship agreement/memorandum of understanding is required.

To learn more about Fiscal Sponsorship please visits these links:

Candid Learning

National Council of NONPROFITS


  • The application period opens on Thursday, April 8 and closes at 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 10
  • Applicants can be nominated or apply directly
  • The submitted applications will be reviewed by a ZFF staff committee, who will advance 5-10 finalists to the selection committee, comprising ZFF board members, community leaders, and subject matter experts from the field.
  • Finalists will be announced in August. The winner will be announced in October.
  • One winner will be selected. The winner will be awarded a $50,000 general support grant.

All applications must be submitted through our online Submittable site, at Zellerbach Family Foundation Submission Manager

For questions, please email