The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation was a private grant maker started in 1957 by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr, grandson of the founder of the engineering firm Bechtel Corporation, and CEO for 30 years. The Foundation concluded operations on December 31, 2020.  Bechtel passed away on March 15, 2021. 
In 2009, Bechtel and the foundation board decided to spend down all assets by the end of 2020, and to focus on K-8 STEM education and land and water conservation in California. They also funded policy advocacy on a variety of California issues, including immigration.
The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation was started in 1957 by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.  Bechtel was the grandson of the founder of the engineering firm Bechtel Corporation and was its CEO for 30 years. 
The foundation started small and supported local efforts in California’s Bay Area. In the 1990s, the size and breadth of its donations and grants grew. 
In 2009, Bechtel made the decision to focus the foundation’s donations and grants on California issues.  Also in 2009, the board decided to spend down the foundation’s assets by the end of 2020, citing California’s immediate needs as the reason. 
As a result of these 2009 decisions, the foundation designed a program that focused on education, primarily K-8 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and the environment, primarily water and land conservation.  An additional area of special project funding during the spend-down years focused on making grants to support policy and advocacy that would impact perceived threats to California’s democratic institutions, based on the current policies and events.  Examples of these included contributions to Public Advocates, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and National Immigration Law Center. 
Public Advocates is a left-of-center advocacy group and public interest law firm located in San Francisco, California that focuses on issues such as education, housing, transportation, and climate.  Environmental Defense Fund is a nonprofit environmental group known for its advocacy for a liberal expansion of environmentalist policies, such as a federally mandated decrease in carbon emissions.  National Immigration Law Center is a nonprofit advocacy group located in Los Angeles, CA that advocates for liberal expansionist immigration policies. 
In 2018, the foundation formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to oversee grantmaking as relates to women, and racial and ethnic minorities. 
On December 31, 2020, the foundation concluded operations. 
Financials and Contributions
In 2009, Bechtel decided he wanted the foundation to focus on what he felt were pressing issues in California. At that time, the foundation had $182 million and gave away $17 million. Since then, the foundation increased the size of its grants and became more focused on identifying recipients that would provide the most impact in the areas the foundation supported. 
From 2009, when the spend-down decision was made, to 2020, when it closed, the foundation gave out over $1 billion.  The 2019 tax return indicates that the foundation paid out grants and contributions of $88,681,764. 
The largest contributions in education included $8,820,603 to Wested in San Francisco and $3,409,910 to Learning Policy Institute in Palo Alto, California.  WestEd is a nonprofit research, development, and service agency focused on education.  Learning Policy Institute is a research organization focused on shaping education policy. 
The largest contributions in the environment space included $7,914,171 to Windward Fund in Washington, D.C., and $3,624,994 to The Nature Conservancy located in San Francisco.  Windward Fund is a fiscal sponsor of various community-based environmentalist projects associated with the left-leaning Arabella Advisors advocacy network.  The Nature Conservancy is the world’s largest conservation organization, with a goal to impact government policy relating to climate change and land and water preservation. 
Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr was chairman of the board of directors. Bechtel was born in 1925 and passed away on March 15, 2021. Bechtel was former chairman and CEO of the Bechtel Corporation, a major global engineering and construction company.