Inspiring Foundations & Philanthropists to Ignite Your Dreams


Do you dream of leaving your mark on the world in a positive way? Of having your name be associated with a philanthropic act, foundation, or charitable initiative?

We all need a little inspiration from time to time, which is why I found it important to spotlight these foundations in order to ignite something inside of other philanthropists and foundations whose goal is to change the world for the better. As philanthropists and non-profit organizations, we all have the same goal: to make a positive impact. However, we sometimes need a little help getting there, and modeling the different elements of philanthropic after foundations who did it right will only help to reach your goal. To make a difference.

These three foundations are also recipients of the 2016 National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy Impact Award and are celebrated for their ability to “leverage all of [their] resources to help strengthen communities and move the needle on the issues it cares about.”


This corporate foundation believes at its core that grassroots activism is a key element when addressing crucial environmental issues and bringing aid to those on the front lines. In the summer of 2015, Patagonia helped to fund the NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit, which brought together 750 students in the New York City area to discuss, explore, and analyze climate adaptation and community resiliency post-Superstorm Sandy.


Based out of San Francisco, this large private foundation is one of the leading funders of immigrant rights, marriage equality, and education equity. In fact, it is the leader, as it’s the very first foundation to:

  • Prioritize marriage equality
  • Create a comprehensive immigration reform
  • Join forces with the San Fransisco Unified School District in order to strengthen it’s pre-k to 3 approach to assist in improving access to educational opportunities for communities of color


Herb and Marion Sandler founded Golden West Financial Corporation, the California savings and loan holding company, before founding the Sandler Foundation, which operates as a public charity. They strongly believe in their targeted approach to support grantees whose desire lies in making an impact and improving human rights and social justice. The Sandler Foundation has also helped to launch noteworthy organizations such as the Center for American Progress and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.