Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $6,071,215
Expenses: $7,141,437
Assets: $7,008,435




Jill Ratner

Executive Director:

Tim Little

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The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment is a California-based nonprofit that promotes and funds local-based activism on the environment, consumer and public health issues. To that end, the foundation raises money and awards grants, pushes an environmental message in schools and works with local governments. It further engages in advocacy for state and federal issues. The organization also tries to collaborate with labor and business organizations.

Jill Ratner and Tim Little co-founded the organization in 1992. Ratner is the president of the foundation and Little is the executive director. The organization was named for Rose Ratner, a Chicago environmental activist. 1


Environmentalist activists Jill Ratner and Tim Little co-founded the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment in 1992. The group is a public charity that raises money to make grants to other environmentalist advocacy groups, with a regional focus on the San Francisco Bay Area and the U.S. West Coast. 2


Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment runs a youth leadership program called “New Voices Are Rising.” Among the projects in fiscal year 2017 was promoting environmentalist activism branded as “environmental justice” in Oakland, California high schools. 3

The Foundation’s Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund supports local groups in northern California that campaign against pollution, urban sprawl, and climate change and in favor of environmentalist-approved agricultural practices. The Rose Foundation is the host of the grassroots fund that has 20 other funding partners; grants from the fund are $5,000 or less. 4

The California Watershed Protection Fund issues grants to projects designed to benefit water quality. 5

The foundation makes $3 million to $7 million in grants per year. 6 In fiscal year 2018, the organization awarded 277 grants, an increase from 269 grants in 2017 and 205 grants in 2016, according to GuideStar. 7

During fiscal year 2017, the organization spent $6.3 million on community grants. New Voices are Rising received $223,460, while the Grassroots Fund got $432,751, according to Charity Navigator. 8


Jill Ratner is also the president, general counsel, and program director of the Rose Foundation. She is also the co-chairwoman of the foundation’s board of directors. She has served on the Los Angeles city government’s Solid Waste Advisory Board and the city’s Environmental Quality Commission. Before starting the organization, she was an associate in the Los Angeles law firm of Irell and Manella.

The other co-chairman of the board is Kevin Hendrick, the vice president of the foundation. Hendrick was the director of the of the Del Norte, California Solid Waste Management Authority for 20 years until he retired in 2013. Before that job, he was the environmental program manager for the city government of West Hollywood, California.

Amy Lyons is the treasurer of the board. She is the executive director of the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Other board members are Nancy Berlin, the policy director for the California Association of Nonprofits; Ellen Hauskens, a partner in the certified public accounting firm of Iarussi, Gelhaus and Hauskens; David Michelfelder, a retired labor union representative; Marybelle Nzegwu of Environmental Justice Solutions in the San Francisco Bay Area; Cindy Tsai Schultz, a program development consultant; Alan Ramo, a law professor at Golden Gate University; and Kyle Livie, an associate professor of history at Ohlone College. 9

Tim Little, the executive director and co-founder, is the co-author of “The Environmental Fiduciary” series of publications. Before co-founding Rose Foundation, he had positions at the Coalition for Clean Air, Heal the Bay, and Communities for a Better Environment.

Sheela Shankar is the director of development and communications. Carlos Zambrano is the co-director of the “New Voices Are Rising” program. Ratner is the other co-director. Pamela Arauz is the foundation’s administrative director. 10


Multiple media outlets reporting on problems with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) cite a study funded by the Rose Foundation as the key argument in favor of the CEQA. The study determined only 0.7 percent of the 54,000 construction projects from 2013 to 2015 faced CEQA lawsuits. and costs of CEQA studies are less than 0.5 percent of a development’s budget. The study contends that the state environmental law doesn’t curb prosperity. 11 12

A Rose Foundation-funded study on Internet-connected toys determined that most children did not know that what they said was being recorded, while parents were very concerned that children’s speech while playing with their toys was recorded. 13


  1. Mission. Rose Foundation. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  2. Ochs, Alyssa. “Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment: Grants for the Bay Area.” Inside Philanthropy. December 06, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2019.
  3. Rose Foundation. GuideStar. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  4. Rose Foundation. GuideStar. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  5. Rose Foundation. GuideStar. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  6. Staff. Rose Foundation. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  7. Rose Foundation. GuideStar. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  8. Rose Foundation. Charity Navigator. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  9. Board of Director. Rose Foundation. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  10. Staff. Rose Foundation. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  11. Collins, Jeff. “Do California Environmental Rules Drive Up Home Prices?” Orange County Register. August 29, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2019.
  12. Bland, Alastair. “Weakling or Bully? The Battle Over the CEQA, the State’s Iconic Environmental Law.” Capital Public Radio. May 18, 2019.
  13. Press Release. “Kids, Parents Alike Are Worried About Privacy With Internet-Connected Toys.” University of Washington. May 10, 2017. Accessed June 15, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1993

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $6,071,215 $7,141,437 $7,008,435 $2,179,306 N $5,628,292 $0 $274,044 $243,213
    2015 Dec Form 990 $5,648,015 $5,101,382 $7,340,733 $1,448,205 N $5,473,392 $16,868 $145,276 $291,215 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $5,965,000 $7,999,153 $10,124,840 $4,726,174 N $5,756,107 $0 $182,223 $306,874
    2013 Dec Form 990 $8,199,706 $5,299,728 $11,189,369 $3,879,781 N $8,117,647 $0 $122,046 $271,525 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $5,643,097 $5,010,527 $8,435,603 $4,154,694 N $5,569,582 $2,710 $35,779 $276,717 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $3,833,314 $3,511,095 $4,498,431 $1,008,151 N $3,756,236 $60,000 $23,878 $325,771 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

    201 4TH ST APT 102
    OAKLAND, CA 94607-4369