Charitable Grants Program

Thank you for your interest in our program! Contributions from the Sisters, Associates, Partners and other generous donors form the basis of the Charitable Grants Program to support organizations with the ability to make measurable impacts in their communities.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity was founded in 1835 by Mother Magdalen Damen in the Netherlands with a mission to bring hope and comfort to the voiceless and vulnerable. The congregation has since expanded to ten provinces around the world, including the St. Francis Province, which was established in 1939 in California. The work of the Sisters of the St. Francis Province and their Associates and Partners embodies a diverse expression derived from Mother Magdalen's deep understanding that “God will Provide.” This work includes peace and solidarity projects, education and literacy, health care, spiritual direction and retreat, elder care, child care, job development, recovery programs, and more.

The CommonSpirit Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CommonSpirit Health, serves as our partner and fiscal agent in the administration of our grants program to ensure that our legacy continues. The Foundation promotes programs that improve the lives of families and communities, with particular concern for the most vulnerable. This community focus is a natural outgrowth of CommonSpirit Health's deep commitment to the social teachings central to the values of the Sisters. Fundamental among these is the concept that health and education are rights and that social goods should be shared on the basis of justice and inherent dignity.

Funding Priorities

There are two funds through which grants are awarded: Grace Day Home Partnership Fund and Sister Karen Boccalero Arts Fund.

Grace Day Home Partnership Fund

The Grace Day Home Partnership Fund was inspired by the first registered child care center in the state of California, established by the St. Francis Province. This Fund supports programs emphasizing support to organizations actively improving the quality of life of vulnerable women, children and elderly around issues related to peace, justice, hunger, homelessness, healthcare and education.

  • Grant Size and Length: Grants range in size from $5,000 to $25,000, with the average grant being $10,000. Grants are awarded for a period of one year and may be renewed as appropriate for the Fund.
  • Geographic Area: Funding is limited to programs operating in California, the Pacific Northwest, and wherever Sisters or Associates are in service.
  • Endorsement: Each proposal request must be endorsed by a Sister or Associate, as demonstrated by a letter of support provided with the final proposal.
  • Deadline: December 31, at 5:00 pm PST.

Sister Karen Boccalero Arts Fund

The Sister Karen Boccalero Arts Fund was inspired by Self-Help Graphics, a printmaking program in Los Angeles founded by Sister Karen and other local artists expressing their culture through art. This fund provides support to organizations offering art scholarships to students, enabling youth to participate in arts education, showcasing and investing in artists from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, and offering hands-on opportunities for artists to develop their craft.

  • Grant Size and Length: Grants range in size from $5,000 to $25,000, with the average grant being $10,000.
  • Geographic Area: Funding is limited to programs operating within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
  • Endorsement: Each proposal request must be endorsed by a Sister or Associate, as demonstrated by a letter of support provided with the final proposal.
  • Deadline: March 31 at 5:00 pm PST.

Funding Eligibility

Eligible organizations:

  • Have nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status.
  • Have a mission consistent with the mission and values of the Sisters of St. Francis and the CommonSpirit Health Foundation.
  • Ensure that grant funds support the underserved, voiceless, vulnerable and marginalized members of society.
  • Have a reputation for credibility and integrity.

Requests generally not eligible for funding include:

  • Salaries and benefit costs for staff.
  • Research on specific diseases of conditions.
  • Capital construction or endowment campaigns.
  • Political causes, candidates, organizations or campaigns.
  • Individuals, unless officially affiliated with a nonprofit organization.

Funding Request Procedure

To submit a proposal, please complete our PROPOSAL REQUEST FORM by the desired due date with the following information:

  • Brief description of your organization, including goals and population served.
  • Explanation of why financial assistance is needed.
  • Amount requested and the proposed use of funds.
  • Information regarding how you will measure the project's success and sustainability.
  • Description of the important actions or tasks you will undertake to accomplish the project along with a timeline.
  • Copy of your 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination letter.
  • Endorsement letter from a Sister or Associate. What about adding a partner since we are listing partners on the homepage?

Proposals can be submitted via the link electronically or downloaded and submitted by email, or ground mail to:

Send an Email to Charitable Grants Program

CommonSpirit Health Foundation
815 Berry Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94107
Attn: Sisters of St. Francis Charitable Grants Program