Marin Community Foundation Adopts a New Vision to Focus on Climate Justice

The 36-year-old Marin Community Foundation is a powerhouse to nonprofits in Marin County — during its tenure, it has granted more than $1 billion in funds to organizations throughout the county. But after taking a long, hard look at Marin’s most looming challenges, the foundation knew that it was time for a fresh new look at its own mission and grantmaking processes. 

As a result, it undertook a year-long strategic planning process centered on input from across the county and beyond. It gathered the perspectives and priorities of Marin’s older adult, immigrant, African American, youth, unhoused and Indigenous communities via listening sessions. Dozens of nonprofit partners, donors and professional advisors shared their insights with interviews and surveys, as well as other community foundations in other parts of the country. 

Two dominant themes emerged from the research. “In speaking with a wide cross-section of the Marin community it became clear that there are two issues that are seen as simultaneously the most urgent and the most difficult to address: housing and climate,” said Vikki Garrod, Marin Community Foundation’s Chief of Staff. “We believe that by leveraging funding, connections, and our position, we can have a meaningful impact on both areas — particularly in the communities that are most vulnerable.” 

Because of this, Marin Community Foundation’s new vision is centered on a climate justice initiative to ensure that funds recently designated by legislation for local infrastructure projects, renewables deployment, and other approaches to reduce climate risks are equitably distributed; and an affordable housing and homeless initiative to take on the housing crisis that has been decades in the making. 

“We’re looking at every intervention point on the homelessness to home ownership continuum,” added Garrod. “First point is trying to prevent folks from becoming homeless. And we think with the great partners we have in Marin we can make a difference here, and disrupt the trajectory of folks who may be precariously housed.”

Donna Glass

A freelance writer in Marin who writes about family, kids and parenting, Glass is the mother to one son, one dog and a hamster named Miss Geri. When she’s not writing, trekking up steep hills in Marin or driving her kid to sports practice, she and her family spend time in their tiny cabin in Lake Tahoe. She avidly supports the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to Bay Area seniors and disabled adults. Glass is obsessed with baking the perfect loaf of banana bread, something she makes so often she no longer needs to look at a recipe card.