Our Mission

Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment believes in the power of informed community involvement.

Our mission is to support grassroots initiatives to inspire community action to protect the environment, consumers and public health.

To fulfill this mission, we:

  • Raise money to award as grants to qualified organizations.
  • Work directly in schools and in the community.
  • Engage in local, state and federal policy research and advocacy.

Within this broad range of activities, all of Rose Foundation’s work revolves around one or more of the following strategic themes:

  • Build and maintain a bridge between the community and organized philanthropy.
  • Protect the natural environment, public health, and community and consumer rights.
  • Promote collaboration between labor, environmental, business, consumer and social interests.
  • Cultivate a new generation of environmental stewards and social policy leaders.
  • Respect the inalienable rights protected by our nation’s constitution, and the essential human rights to clean air, clean water, and individual dignity and privacy.

Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment is a grantmaking public charity. Unlike a private foundation, we were not launched with a big endowment. Every year we have to raise the money that we give away as grants to community-based organizations or invest in our youth leadership and environmental justice programs. Our funding comes from donations, grants from other foundations, or legal restitution payments and cy pres funds.

Our Programs

New Voices are Rising Program

New Voices Are Rising strives to develop young leaders in low-income communities and communities of color in Oakland by helping young people gain the skills and experience in civic engagement required to tackle the many problems – especially environmental health problems – that disproportionately impact their communities.

Grantmaking Programs

Grantmaking programs support community-based projects and organizations that are building long-term solutions that benefit people, the environment and the economy. Grantmaking is organized into specific funds with distinct geographic, issue-based and size parameters. Most grants funds are advised by a volunteer funding board who donate their time and expertise to help us find and support strategic, innovative and effective organizations whose work closely fits the goals of the particular fund.

If you are a grant seeker, click here to learn how to apply for a grant. 

If you are a funder, click here to learn more about how we design our grantmaking programs.

Rose Foundation Roots and Philosophy

Rose Foundation was founded by Jill Ratner and Tim Little in 1992. The Foundation is dedicated to the memory of Rose Ratner, whose wit, wisdom and commitment were forged in the neighborhoods of Chicago over the course of 50 years of community activism.

Inspired by Rose, we believe that environmental stewardship, community regeneration, consumer protection, robust civic participation and a healthy economy are all inextricably linked. As a society, we cannot expect to achieve lasting economic progress at the expense of the environment, worker, or community rights. Similarly, lasting environmental, consumer, and community protections must also be grounded in economic reality. Civic participation, especially by traditionally disempowered communities, often serves as the necessary catalyst. Alliances between traditionally diverse interests provides a fundamental and lasting glue that binds long-term sustainable solutions.

For a graphic representation of how our philosophy drives our programs, please click here to download our Theory of Change.

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