Marin Community Foundation:
Buck Trust Strategic Refinement

The goal of
MCF’s Buck Trust
is to create equity of opportunity for every resident of Marin.

Like a quick snapshot of our approach and the new plan?
Here’s a two minute video to give you a summary:

Four Key Themes

After extensive research, data analysis, and input from more than 120 community leaders within nonprofits, government, and school districts, we have identified four key themes that are central to addressing the inequities that exist in Marin. Within each there will be a set of strategic initiatives that will represent the focus of our efforts.

Creating the Greatest Impact

We’re introducing new ways to extend our assistance to grantees. The aim is to leverage the full range of the Foundation’s expertise and resources so that nonprofit partners within our 4 key themes can make the greatest possible impact in their work.
These new ways are:

At MCF, we believe in a thriving Marin, where everyone has the opportunity to lead healthy, fulfilling, productive lives.

  • In our health strategies we’ll focus on ways to foster well-being and the ability for every person to enjoy a long, quality life.
  • We’ll continue in our efforts to enable Marin’s youth to maximize their potential through education.
  • We’ll help to advance economic opportunities that empower all individuals and families to personal and financial independence.
  • And we’ll work to ensure that our natural and built environments are healthy, sustainable and accessible to all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean that this is a “refinement” or “refresh” of the prior plan?

MCF’s first strategic plan for its Buck Trust grantmaking was designed as a five-year plan to run from 2009-2014. At the conclusion of this time, we undertook a rigorous planning process designed to identify the areas of the plan which represented the greatest opportunities for positive effect on individual and family lives. This has resulted in a “refined” strategic plan that continues to focus on the themes that represent key areas of individual, family and community life in Marin, but is distilled to enable our grantmaking to produce even greater impact, and to assist our grantees to be as efficient and effective as possible.

How is MCF defining its target population?

The primary focus of MCF’s refined Buck Trust grantmaking plan is on efforts to support ‘equity of opportunity.’ In particular, this will mean grants helping low-income individuals and families, low-income older adults, immigrants, and children from families of color and/or lower incomes.

Is MCF looking to focus on new grantees?

MCF will continue, to partner with grantees who can most effectively implement our strategic priorities. In some cases, we will continue to work with current grantees. But as we deepen our impact with new areas of grantmaking, that may also entail working with new partners.

Did the refreshed plan focus only on the Buck Trust?

Yes, when we refer to the Strategic Plan we are referencing grantmaking through the Buck Trust.

When will funding opportunities be announced?

A calendar of anticipated funding cycles will be available on the MCF website ( in Spring 2015.

Is this a five year strategic plan?

We’ve not specified a time frame for this plan, but rather a set of key strategic priorities to which we have ongoing commitments. The work will be reviewed on an annual basis, with adjustments made as warranted.

How are grantmaking areas aligned?

Our refreshed strategic framework was developed with a view for greater programmatic alignment and the ability to more clearly communicate our goals. As will become evident when our funding opportunities are announced, there will be greater alignment both within and across the four main themes and fourteen strategic initiatives. This is intended to streamline processes and communication channels for our grantees.

What particular focus areas from the previous plan have been reduced or eliminated?

In order to increase alignment and focus, MCF has eliminated some strategies or approaches. These include the following:

  • Closing the Education Achievement Gap: School Transformation and the Middle School approach under College Readiness.
  • Ending the Cycle of Poverty: Increase the Income of Low Wage Earners; Asset Building, and Building Community Infrastructure.
  • Improving Community Health: Health Insurance for Children.
  • Successful Aging: Volunteerism and Community Involvement for Older Adults
  • Social Justice & Interfaith Understanding: Collaboration and Dialogue Among Religious Institutions, Faith-Based Communities, and Community Members.
  • Arts and Culture: Audience Development and Arts for the Underserved.

Will there be multi-year funding?

There will be multi-year funding in a limited number of cases. The criteria for obtaining multi-year grant support will be outlined in the guidelines and application process when the funding cycles are placed on the MCF website in Spring.

Will you continue to make Safety Net grants? How does the foundation see its role in funding safety net services?

MCF has a long history of supporting basic human needs, and with the refreshed strategic plan, has created a designated annual fund for safety net needs in Marin. The goal is to assist in the support of immediate needs of individuals and families in the areas of food, housing, and supportive services. We will invite a limited number of organizations to apply for these funds based on the services they provide in Marin.

Can grantees apply for support under more than one priority theme at once?


How will MCF evaluate its grantmaking?

MCF’s focus under the refreshed strategic plan will be based on continuous learning. We will work with grantees to gather the most useful information that informs decisions about our strategies and how they can be executed more effectively. This means we will be thoughtful with our approach to evaluation, and in our work with grantees to understand what actionable measures can best inform our strategy.

Contact Us

If you have any feedback or comments about the strategic plan that you’d like to provide,
please contact our Grants & Loans team:

Vice President for Grants & Loans

Sandra Nathan

Sandra Nathan

Don Jen

Don Jen


Patti D’Angelo Juachon

Patti D’Angelo Juachon


Marcia Quinones

Marcia Quinones


Marc Rand

Marc Rand


Shirin Vakharia

Shirin Vakharia


Barbara Clifton Zarate

Barbara Clifton Zarate