Socialize With Us

Nonprofit Displacement Project

Creation and Purpose

What began as a funder briefing on displacement evolved into a research project and now an effort to address the issue of displacement. A multi-stakeholder group including nonprofits, funders, philanthropy, and private interests are now working together to advance solutions to the growing problem of affordable space for nonprofits.

Thriving communities with equitable access to opportunities, healthy cultural institutions, positive social connections and a network of supportive services are tied to a strong nonprofit infrastructure. And long-term nonprofit stability and sustainability is inexorably tied to affordable and stable office space. This is the central tenet of the Nonprofit Displacement Project.


What We're Doing

To address displacement requires a multi-pronged effort that includes:

  • Identifying and creating affordable office spaces for nonprofits
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity building that will assist nonprofits to navigate leasing, acquisition, and development of affordable space
  • Policy approaches that mitigate displacement, support creation of nonprofit spaces, and provide funding to address the need for affordable space
  • Changes in funding practices that speak to the real cost of operating and providing services

Members of the working group are supporting the following solutions:

Spaces for Good is a free, online space listing platform for nonprofits. The platform allows nonprofits, real estate brokers, landlords, and event venues to advertise their space available to nonprofits for short-term, long-term, or temporary use. Members of the Nonprofit Displacement Project working group supported the development of this platform to meet a need shared by nonprofits in the Nonprofit Displacement report.

All Good Work connects nonprofits and social enterprises to donated office space - starting with coworking spaces and business centers - in Silicon Valley. The model seeks to mitigate nonprofit displacement in the Bay Area's challenging real estate environment, lower the cost of innovation in the social sector, and enable workforce decentralization that can broaden the reach of vital programs. 

Real Estate Readiness Program Silicon Valley is the Northern California Community Loan Fund's highly regarded program that builds the capacity of organizations located in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

We recognize that this long-term problem requires not just attention during this critical time when commercial rents have skyrocketed but ongoing attentiveness to the cyclical issue. The Nonprofit Displacement Project intends to bring attention to both what can be done today and be forward-looking to identify how we address the long-term sustainability of nonprofits.

Below you will find all four publications released by the Nonprofit Displacement Project working group. You can download all the reports you find useful. 


Nonprofit Displacement Report

A report of Bay Area nonprofits released by Northern California GrantmakersThe San Francisco Foundation and partners–shows that most respondents (82%) are concerned about sustaining their work in the face of rising office space costs in the region.

  • Steady increases in commercial real estate rental rates have pushed office prices to 122% above where they were five years ago
  • Bay Area markets are now the toughest in the nation
  • Nonprofits serving communities of color and low income communities show an especially high level of concern.
  • Nearly two out of every three nonprofits say they will have to make a decision about moving within the next five years. 

This report is the first for the region as a whole and demonstrates the scope of the issue across Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.


Addendum: Nonprofits and Philanthropy Weigh In on Displacement

Over the course of four briefings with funders and nonprofits we gathered tremendous input toward solutions on the issue of displacement. On behalf of the working group who has guided this effort, we are pleased to provide this summary of many of the good ideas participants contributed.

This report is the first reflecting the region as a whole and we anticipate a funder-initiated working group will engage a range of stakeholders, funders, government, policy advocates and nonprofits to move forward together.

We will continue to inform and be informed by folks who’ve expressed interest in the briefings as we explore potential solutions.

It’s clear from the breadth of ideas generated through the briefings that a spectrum of short and long-term approach is needed. The recommendations here reflect the need to address the cyclical nature of the problem.

For funders, the driving concern continues to be about the sustainability of the nonprofit sector who are integral to the social, cultural, political and economic fabric of our community.  


A group of foundations, government funders and nonprofits have crowd-sourced solutions some immediate and some long-term.


Report: Status of Silicon Valley Nonprofit Space & Facilities

The Bay Area economic boom is having dramatic, tectonic effects: deepening income and opportunity disparities are placing nonprofit and arts institutions at higher risk for displacement, further threatening to undermine the unique, vibrant character and culture that have been the legacy of our region for generations. While the real estate boom generates revenue and opportunity for the Bay Area, it places additional stress on nonprofits and the communities they serve who are struggling to remain in their neighborhoods. The kind of pressure the housing crunch is putting on individuals, is also being placed on nonprofits looking for affordable space. This has left many Bay Area nonprofits concerned about sustaining their work in the face of rising office space costs in the region.

Effective solutions require the public sector, philanthropy, financial institutions, and nonprofits to all be at the table. Northern California Grantmakers’ Nonprofit Displacement Project, which brings together Bay Area partners from these sectors, was formed in response to the ongoing threat to nonprofit sustainability posed by an unstable and increasingly expensive real estate market. The project seeks to support the long-term sustainability and capacity of nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area by creating and preserving affordable, local space in fluctuating real estate markets.

The Nonprofit Displacement Project released the initial Regional Nonprofit Displacement Report in 2015, which looked at how nonprofits across 6 Bay Area counties were coping with rising competition for commercial real estate and the size of the threat to all kinds of services from food banks to social services to the arts. This report aided in gauging the severity of the inaccessibility of affordable space in San Francisco and the East Bay, however there were a limited number of survey responses received from Silicon Valley. 

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of the real estate market on nonprofits in Silicon Valley and their concerns about the future, NCG conducted a survey in May 2018 of nonprofits in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County. The findings of this survey will inform the Nonprofit Displacement Project as it develops responses to the issue, and will be used to engage local partners in advancing solutions.

Upcoming Nonprofit Displacement Project programming coming soon. In the meantime, take a look at our past events.
Thursday, November 7, 2019

What do you get when you set four top-performing bankers from Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, and San Francisco on a three-week sprint to map the next leg of the Bay Area’s efforts to secure space for its prized nonprofits? A welcome strategy for shoring up resources, a gentle nudge away from the usual suspects, and a snazzy PowerPoint to show the way.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Whether you’re living, moving, hiring or solving, it’s hard to argue that anything more urgently defines our region than the housing crisis. Our friends at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation put together this snazzy graphic on the levers and landscape for affordable housing from philanthropic investment to development to percentage of income spent on housing.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

More than 40 years ago, changes in federal funding practices undermined nonprofits dependent on those funds to maintain steady cash flow and financial stability.  To address this, a group of local funders...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is not alone in wondering how to make more of its dollars and influence to help organizations stay put as rents continue to soar across the Bay Area. Hear from Shelley Trott at the Kenneth Rainin Foundation on the story of its big bet, the risks they took, and the payoff for Bay Area arts organizations.

Since the release of the Nonprofit Displacement Report in 2016, national and local media have supported the spread of the issue and the work we are doing. View some of the external media below.  

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is far reaching, including major implications for non-profits and the communities that they serve.

The Bay Area economic boom is having dramatic, tectonic effects: deepening income and opportunity disparities are placing nonprofit and arts institutions at higher risk for displacement, further threatening to undermine the unique, vibrant character and culture that have been the legacy of our re

This report presents new data and analyses that illustrate how rising rents and stagnant incomes are straining household budgets and stifling opportunity in the nine-county Bay Area, jeopardizing the region’s diversity, growth, and prosperity.

Across the nation, artistic and cultural practices are helping to define the sustainability of urban, rural, and suburban neighborhoods. In the design of parks and open spaces; the building of public transit, housing, and supermarkets; in plans for addressing needs for community health and healing trauma; communities are embracing arts and culture strategies to help create equitable communities of opportunity where everyone can participate, prosper, and achieve their full potential. And artists are seeing themselves — and being seen by others — as integral community members whose talents, crafts, and insights pave the way to support community engagement and cohesion.

“Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer” highlights both promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools.