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.
Status of Silicon Valley Nonprofit Space & Facilities