The Penney Family Fund promotes and supports a society that honors the dignity of the individual.

We believe that by working together people can make a difference in achieving basic human rights and a secure future. The Foundation makes grants primarily in California and Oregon to nonprofit community-based organizations which:

  • Work toward the achievement of self-reliance;

  • Expand civic and social participation;

  • Advocate respect and engagement among diverse cultural and racial groups


Grant Programs

In 2009, the Penney Family Fund completed ten years of grantmaking in the areas of community economic development & workforce policy; money & influence in politics; state & local fiscal analysis; strengthening youth & families; and sustainable & livable communities. During this time, the foundation supported 282 organizations for a total of $5,770,010. In the fall of 2009, after welcoming two new, next-generation directors to the board and completing a planning process, the board decided to focus their grantmaking on the following two areas: Green Pathways Out of Poverty and Youth Organizing and Leadership Development.

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Green Pathways Out of Poverty

We support the promotion of broad community engagement and the development of new policies to ensure that disenfranchised communities actively participate in and benefit from the green economy.

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Youth Organizing & Leadership Development

We support organizations that are youth-led or multi-generational organizations with robust youth organizing and leadership development activities where youth have direct decision-making roles and responsibilities.


Investment Principles

The Penney Family Fund believes that granting in areas of the environment and youth organizing are not enough — their investments also need to support their interests and values. In 2014, the Penney Family Fund completely divested from fossil fuels and in 2018, they completely divested from firearms and weapons.

The Fund was also an early pioneer in experimenting with supporting social enterprises and social impact screening. Beginning in 2006, the Fund invested its portfolio in line with Environment, Social and Governance (“ESG”) and impact investing principles. They regularly make changes to their portfolio as they learn more about the impacts of their investments.


The Penney Family Fund is not affiliated with the J.C. Penney Company, Inc., or its corporate giving program.

The Penney Family Fund accepts grant proposals by invitation only.


Penney Family Fund Board Area

Penney Family Fund Members: Please click the button below for access to the Penney Family Fund Board private area. This site is accessible only to Penney Family Fund Board members and staff.