The Satterberg Foundation was formed in 1991, as the vision of Virginia “Ginny” Satterberg Pigott Helsell, named to honor Elmer and Ruth Satterberg. Ginny and her husband, Bill Helsell, a career attorney, “spent the decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s bringing together the children of their blended family, and were committed to ensuring that connection far into the future,” according to the Foundation’s website. Each brought three children from previous marriages to their new family, and spent nearly thirty years together building the family that remains at the center of the foundation to this day.
The Satterberg Foundation is the embodiment of the Ginny and Bill’s commitment to the world around them, and has spent over two decades orchestrating grantmaking and participating in philanthropic partnerships in California and the Pacific Northwest to further its goal to “[strengthen] our communities by promoting a just society and a sustainable environment. Doing this work deepens the interconnection of our family.”
The Satterberg Foundation has gone through tremendous growth since its founding. 2013 marked a historic time in the organization’s growth, and annual investments increased from $400,000 to $20,000,000.
Still, 26 years later, the foundation remains family driven. Mary Pigott was at the helm of the organization as founding executive director until just last year. She passed the torch in February of 2016 to Sarah Walczyk, who joined the foundation’s staff as a program officer in 2013. The foundation continues to be governed by a board of Satterberg Pigott Helsell family members, including Mary Pigott.
Major Program Categories:
The foundation categorizes its giving around supporting “elements of a just society” and “elements of a sustainable environment.”
The former category includes access to food, healthcare, housing, education and employment, as well as empowerment for every individual’s voice to be heard.
The latter focuses on cultivating environmental resilience, conservation and preservation, reducing pollution, and education around stewardship of the environment. Both program categories also stress the importance of supporting “advocacy and policy/systems change.”
The foundation invests in the aforementioned efforts through grants to nonprofits in support not only of programs, but also strengthening organizational infrastructure. In a recent article for The Giving Practice, Satterberg program officer Caroline Miceli wrote that “through multi-year grants, unrestricted funding and authentic relationships with partner grantees, Satterberg wants its grantees to invest in training, embrace risk-taking without fear of losing core funding and ultimately make lasting impacts for both themselves and society.”
Satterberg’s 2016 grant breakdown includes awards in the $40,000 range to the United Way of San Diego County and Rising Sun Energy Center in Berkeley, Calif. Awards were also given to organizations like Para los Niños de Highline and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.
How to Apply: There are four types of grants that the foundation offers, three of which does not accept unsolicited proposals for. The foundation’s core support grants are technically open to the community, but the website notes that for these, “unsolicited inquiries will be accepted, but we really prefer that you reach out to us first.” You can do that using the contact information listed below.
The other types of grants are
- Community Partnerships: “Multi-year funding for cornerstone organizations in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.”
- Invitational Grants: “Single-year funding for organizations identified by our individual Board Members.”
- Family Awards: “Single-year funding for organizations identified by our extended family members.”
Name of Foundation: The Satterberg Foundation
Location: Seattle, Washington
Contact Information: 206.441.3045, or via a contact form on the website.
Coverage Area: Washington and California
Subject Area: “Just Society” and “Sustainable Environment”
Assets: $306,903,745 (2015)
Last Year Total Giving: $21,731,916 (2015)
Recent News and Grantmaking: