How the Honig Initiative Amplifies Social Impact Through Bay Area Social Justice Grants

Social Justice | Individual and Family Donors | Donor Advised Fund | Strategic Advising and Consulting

The Honig Initiative partnered with Tides Foundation to turn its grassroots social justice grants into a tool to effectively and sustainably support social justice work in the Bay Area. 


San Francisco is home to hundreds of social justice organizations which are dedicated to serving the city’s immigrant community, providing access to affordable housing, and meeting other critical needs. The daughter of activists, Emily Honig, and her son, Jesse, wanted to honor her parents’ legacy by funding Bay Area social justice grants to support the work of activist groups. 

Though staffing can be the biggest driver of impact for these groups, it’s also the largest organizational expense. The Honigs sought to amplify the efforts of one Bay Area social justice organization each year by funding the full cost of a two-year position. 

Tides Solution: Donor Advised Fund

Together with Tides, Emily and Jesse launched The Victor & Lorraine Honig Initiative for Bay Area Social & Economic Justice with a donor advised fund. Tides serves as the Initiative’s grantmaking home and as a strategic advisor, driving impact by:

  • Helping to design a trust-based philanthropy process that centers proximate leaders 
  • Establishing criteria and conducting landscape research to ensure grants meets the needs of local nonprofits
  • Tapping into the Tides network to promote the funding opportunity
  • Coordinating the application process and reviewing applications to provide the Honigs with a short list of finalists


The Initiative’s early impact illustrates how individual and family DAF partnerships can be a tool for more equitable grantmaking. 

Impact Doesn’t Always Align With One-Year Funding Cycles 

It can be daunting for an organization to launch a new position with short-term funding since achieving impact is often a multi-year process. The Initiative offered a two-year grassroots social justice grant to give nonprofits a longer runway for impact.

Participatory Grantmaking is a Process

Centering historically excluded groups doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the product of partnerships like the one between Tides and the Initiative, which seeks to strategically and consistently engage community partners. For example, the Initiative invited local nonprofits to participate in the grant design and compensated them for their time. The Initiative is also exploring ways to avoid unintended competition among grassroots groups, such as strengthening networks of organizations working collaboratively in a region. 

A Single Fund can Fuel Progress in Many Areas

In its first two years, the Honig Initiative has supported meaningful work across multiple issues impacting Bay Area residents. Its first grantee, California Coalition for Rural Housing, used the grant to hire a policy advocate to address the statewide lack of funding for rural housing. The Initiative’s second grantee, Nuestra Casa, plans to use the funding to continue its work in water justice.