Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Foundation’s eligibility requirements?The Foundation accepts inquiries and applications from 501C(3) organizations. It does not make grants to individuals.
What are the Foundation’s areas of interest?The Foundation’s areas of interest and priorities are:
1. Scholarships for higher education and fellowships
2. Programs addressing the educational needs of seasoned adults at institutions of higher education (Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes)
3. Select integrative medicine programs
4. Arts and educational programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and the State of Maine
What is the geographic focus of the Foundation’s grantmaking?Support in the first three program areas (scholarships, lifelong learning, and integrative medicine) is national in scope while the geographic focus of the fourth program area (arts and educational organizations) is the San Francisco Bay Area and the State of Maine. In this program area, funding for new grantees (organizations that have not previously received Foundation support) has been centered on San Francisco or Alameda Counties in recent years.
What are the best ways to assess the Foundation’s interest in a proposal?In the first three areas (scholarships, lifelong learning, and integrative medicine), there is not an open application process at this time. Nonetheless, colleges and universities interested in these areas of support may submit letters of introduction to the Foundation along with a concise description of their plans and activities relevant to the given program focus. See the individual program descriptions for additional guidance on preparing such letters.
The fourth area–-arts and educational programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and the State of Maine–-does accept letters of inquiry on a rolling basis. Letters should be no longer than two pages, may be sent by mail or email, and should contain
• a brief institutional description, including when the organization was established, its location, and the total size of its annual operating budget;
• an overview of the proposed project or activity for which you are seeking support, including the timing of this work; and
• a list of foundations and corporations providing support to the organization or project and the amount of their contributions.
The Foundation accepts letters of inquiry for the Local Arts and Educational Program throughout the year and responds within 60 days. Letters can be addressed to Jeanie Hirokane, Corporate Secretary and Executive Administrator, The Bernard Osher Foundation, One Ferry Building, Suite 255, San Francisco, CA 94111.
How do I find an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute near me?Consult this map to find the Osher Institute(s) near you.
How can I apply for an Osher Scholarship?The Osher Foundation does not award funds to students directly. It provides funding to colleges and universities to support scholarships, and then those schools administer their own Osher Scholarship Programs.
There are several types of Osher Scholarships, each with a different set of selection criteria. Most are earmarked for undergraduate students. A list of institutions that offer Osher awards is available here. Persons interested in attending or planning to attend one of the schools at which Osher Scholarships are available should contact that school's Office of Financial Aid to learn about the application process.
How does one obtain more information about the Foundation?
Ms. Jeanie Hirokane
Corporate Secretary and Executive Administrator
The Bernard Osher Foundation
One Ferry Building, Suite 255
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel. (415) 861-5587