Skip to main content

Walter S. Johnson Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-06

At A Glance

Walter S. Johnson Foundation

505 Montgomery St., Ste. 620

San Francisco, CA United States 94111-6529

Telephone: (415) 283-1854


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $103,200,909

Total giving: $4,040,883






Established in 1968 in CA - Mr. Johnson, an attorney, founded the American Box Company, which later became the American Forest Products Corporation, and he served as its president for over 40 years. In 1933, Mr. Johnson assisted in the formation of the Friden Calculating Machine Company, Inc., and was elected president at the death of its founder. As a philanthropist, Walter S. Johnson made a major gift to the city of San Francisco for the reconstruction of the Palace of Fine Arts and contributed to a variety of local charitable organizations

Purpose and Activities

The foundation provides grants to assist foster youth to become successful adults by promoting positive change in the policies and systems that serve them and by supporting high impact and promising practices. Grantmaking is limited to organizations providing services in Northern California and Washoe County, Nevada, and policy advocacy organizations effecting change that will impact those areas. .

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:


1) Pathways to Success: The foundation supports efforts to increase the graduation rates of high school dropouts and students who are off-track to graduating high school, and also to create alternative pathways to post-secondary education or training for non-traditional students. 2) Teaching and Students Support: The foundation supports efforts to develop and disseminate instructional practices and student support services that help out-of-school youth to complete high school and/or post-secondary education or training.

Special Projects

On occasion, the foundation makes grants outside the regular guidelines. Often they provide an opportunity to explore potential new areas for future grantmaking subject to full board approval. Each year the trustees of the foundation authorize small general support grants to organizations representative of the charities to which Walter S. Johnson contributed during his lifetime. The foundation does not accept applications for these grants.


1) Transition-Aged Foster Youth: The foundation supports efforts to create an integrated system of services for current and former foster youth that insures their successful transition to adulthood. 2) Youth Leaders: The foundation supports efforts to help young people become engaged, motivated citizens in their in their communities. 3) Capacity Building For Youth Serving Organizations: The foundation supports efforts to increase the organizational effectiveness of youth organizations and agencies.

Fields of Interest

  • Child welfare
  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Family services
  • Foster care
  • Graduate and professional education
  • Human services
  • Leadership development
  • Nonprofits
  • Philanthropy
  • Youth development
  • Youth organizing
Population Groups
  • Adolescents
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Foster and adoptive children
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Non-adult children
  • Young adults

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $103,200,909 (market value)

Expenditures: $5,747,757

Total giving: $4,040,883

Qualifying distributions: $4,518,023