Sand Hill Foundation
Susan Ford served as the president and cofounder of the Sand Hill Foundation, a family foundation that made grants to organizations that benefited people on the San Francisco Peninsula. Tom and Susan Ford established the foundation in 1995, reflecting from the Fords’ shared passion for giving and community development. The foundation focused on the environment, education, preservation of open space, youth development and job training. The Fords were among the original donors of the Teen Success Program, a support group for teen mothers launched in 1990 by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (PPMM). The program encouraged teens not to have a second child and to stay in school, in exchange for $10 per week and $100 per 25 weeks of attendance. Facilitator-led Teen Success groups of up to 12 teen mothers met weekly. Childcare was provided during meetings, and participants could remain in the groups until they turned 18 or completed high school. After investing more than $200,000 in the initiative, Susan Ford decided to measure the effectiveness of the Teen Success Program. Her intention was to validate the program’s results and identify its strengths and improvement opportunities to help it grow. Yet, even though Ford had developed a positive relationship with Linda Williams, the head of PPMM, she worried that Williams might feel threatened by her proposal for an assessment of the program’s impact. The evaluation process caused both Ford and Williams to reflect upon the tensions and power dynamics of successful grantor-grantee relationships, as well as how evaluation could positively inform their future work. Looking forward, Williams and Ford hoped to apply their learnings and more constructively engage all stakeholders in the evaluation process, effectively monitor the program’s impact and transform evaluation results into better services.
Donor-donee relationship management, effective program development and evaluation and family foundations’ unique role in the philanthropic sector.