We empower private foundations to embrace meaningful, effective philanthropy that drives social change.
Pacific Foundation Services was founded in 1987 as a collaborative effort to facilitate giving among local philanthropists, we provide tailored operational and strategic expertise to support our clients in effective, meaningful, high-impact giving. Today, we partner with more than 40 foundations and philanthropic vehicles to facilitate over $300 million in grantmaking every year.
Pacific Foundation Services envisions a world where foundations play an active role in driving social change that is inclusive, equitable, and just – from global issues to our local communities. We continually explore ways to channel foundation resources to communities and organizations at the nexus of need and opportunity, creating an ecosystem of change that ripples through society.
At a minimum, foundations should do no harm. That means spending money generously and wisely, having reasonable expectations for grantees, and complying with all of the rules surrounding private foundations. We help with all of that. However, what excites me about our role in supporting foundations is that organized philanthropy can make an enormous positive difference in whatever area you care about. We help our clients think bigger and execute on lofty ideals. I could not be more proud of the role our PFS team plays in creating positive change.
My role at PFS provides a variety of windows into the lives of diverse Bay Area communities across the many program areas supported by PFS client foundations and the ability to leverage foundation dollars for positive social impact.
PFS has provided a variety of services to Sand Hill Foundation over the years and with each successive year, I am more and more grateful for their partnership. We place a premium on relationships and not only does my team bring a high level of expertise and knowledge, but more importantly they bring care and compassion to their work every day.
Susan Ford Dorsey
Effective Operations + Meaningful Grantmaking = Greater Impact
We provide foundations with adaptive solutions to help them drive social progress. As trusted stewards of public funds, we help them meet their goals and amplify their impact.
Philanthropists actively support the issues they care about, while nonprofits need access to grants that fuel their mission. Thanks to our unique vantage point, when we when we recognize two organizations with shared values or a similar vision, our role is to connect those dots.
Streamlining foundation infrastructure allow philanthropists to maximize resources and foster effective, mutually supportive partnerships with nonprofits who lead the charge toward social change.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity,
Addressing the ways our sector has contributed to systemic inequities through wealth accumulation and dissemination is a critical part of being an effective grantmaker. As we continue to learn, reflect, and evolve our work, we encourage transparency and open dialog among our staff and within our community.
We research and reflect on the latest practices and ideas relating to DEI for the benefit of our community, our staff, and our clients. As the bridge between funders and nonprofits, we help our clients recognize and navigate inherent power dynamics every day—it’s a responsibility we take seriously. With deep gratitude for the work of the nonprofit community, we help our clients calibrate their strategic goals and giving programs to center equity and trust.
We ensure every aspect of our clients’ grantmaking is effective as well as efficient. We take care of the entire process, from helping grant seekers navigate the application process to issuing grants and reporting on them. We manage the grants database, so your records are consistent and accurate, and we do our homework, identifying trends, pinpointing the most effective program areas, and assuring balance and mission fit. We also manage board meetings, organize grantee convenings, keep minutes and bylaws, establish compliance with state and federal requirements, and assist with financial audits and tax issues.
When Lyman Casey was asked to manage the day-to-day business of his family’s foundation in the late 1970s, he was eager to learn more about the field and compare notes with other philanthropists. In response, Lyman started a regular brown bag lunch, bringing philanthropists together to share knowledge—a long-standing initiative that sparked the firm’s enduring culture of learning. When friends of Lyman’s decided to start their own foundations, they turned to him for management advice. He realized that all of their foundations could be more efficient and effective if they shared operations, financial management, and program development resources in a single office. True to the Bay Area’s startup ethos, he founded Pacific Foundation Services in 1987 as a new model for serving the philanthropic sector.
Now led by Lyman’s son, Charlie Casey, PFS has become a regional institution, serving over 40 private foundations with a team of 44 working from offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with grants supporting organizations across the Bay Area, nationally, and internationally. Throughout its growth, the firm has stayed true to the founder’s dedication to tailoring services for each client and fostering effective partnerships with nonprofits.