The Miner Anderson Family Foundation (MAF) is a San Francisco-based grantmaking organization that supports local arts and left-leaning policy advocacy groups. Oracle heiress Nicola Miner and her husband, author Robert Mailer Anderson founded MAF in 2009.
MAF partners with 826 Valencia, Litquake, Los Cenzontles, SF Jazz Collective, and the immigration, racial and environmental advocacy group Voice of Witness.
Nicola Miner is an heiress to the estate of Bob Miner, co-founder of the Oracle software company. In 1995 Bob Miner died of cancer, leaving behind a fortune valued at over 600 million that his wife and children began to funnel into left-leaning political causes, especially through the grantmaking Baker Street Foundation, which is funded exclusively the Miners. In addition to teaching English at the College of San Mateo, Nicola Miner is the former director of the parks protection agency Presidio Trust and sits on the board of trustees at Earthjustice, a left-of-center environmental legal advocacy group.
By contrast, Robert Mailer Anderson was born and raised in relative poverty; a 2012 interview with Carolyne Zinko referenced his having been raised on food stamps. His parents divorced when he was three, and eventually he lived exclusively at a home for juvenile delinquents run by his father. He first began to publish in his uncle’s newspaper, the Anderson Valley Advertiser at age 15. After attending the University of Miami, then the College of Marin, Anderson dropped out of college, and moved first to Mexico and then New York. After doing odd jobs, Anderson took a writing course at the 92nd St. Y, and eventually published the novel Boonville.
He married Nicola Miner in 1999. Anderson currently sits on the board of SFJazz. In 2012, the couple hosted a fundraising dinner for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign; admission was $38,500. The couple again hosted a $1000-15,000-a-plate fundraising luncheon for the DNC in November 2013, with President Obama headlining.
Partner Organizations and Beneficiaries
Voice of Witness (VOW) is a left-of-center social advocacy group working through essays, public speaking events and books. Its Education Program is aimed at teenagers and supplies “free, Common Core-aligned lesson plans” as an in-roads to encourage schools to use its books as part of the curriculum. Topics include “gender inequality,” “police brutality,” and “labor issues.” Its education advisory board includes former Weather Underground co-founder William Ayers. VOW’s policy advocacy also includes endorsement of the Green New Deal.
Litquake is a San Francisco-based literary advocacy program that hosts workshops for writers of all ages. The Kidquake and Teenquake programs pair authors with schools for two-day writing seminars. Litquake also hosts a yearly week-long literary festival culminating in “Litcrawl,” a street festival often featuring highly sexualized themes. This festival has branched out globally to over a dozen cities worldwide, including Boston, New York, and Helsinki.
Another initiative of Litquake is “Shadow and Light: Writers Respond to Trump,” a series of readings by authors of a variety of genres focused on criticizing President Donald Trump and his administration. As part of this series, in an otherwise expletive-laden speech sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library, Robert Mailer Anderson referred to Trump supporters as “the ignorant vote.” He also denigrated the technology sector of the economy, in spite of the fact that the fortune he enjoys stems from successful software development.
Los Cenzontles is a band and arts academy with a focus on Latino culture. On Feb 16, 2017 the band performed at the Miner-Anderson home as part of the national “Day Without Immigrants” protest of restrictionist immigration policies of the Trump administration.
In addition to these initiatives, MAF provides funding to the SfJazz collective, NPR affiliate radio station KQED, and Poor People’s Radio, which focuses on African-American music and left-leaning social issues.