Donated Office Space Helps Keep Nonprofits in Silicon Valley

Donated Office Space Helps Keep Nonprofits in Silicon Valley

A growing number of cash-strapped nonprofits are sharing office space in Silicon Valley, where the high cost of real estate is threatening to force many small nonprofits to relocate, San Jose Inside reports.

Through an initiative launched two years ago by the All Good Work Foundation in which for-profit companies donate office space to nonprofits, small groups such as Veggielution, an urban farming nonprofit in San Jose, are sharing half- and full-day access to a desk at a NextSpace location at a fraction of its usual cost. San Jose NextSpace typically charges $250 per month for a single desk; with funding from All Good Works, Veggielution only pays $50 a month.

"People are looking for a professional environment that they can call their own," said Amy Feldman, program director for All Good Work Silicon Valley, which has secured nearly three dozen donated office seats for nonprofits in San Jose, Los Gatos, and Sunnyvale. "Often, it's flexible seating, and in some cases it's a dedicated desk where you sit...every day. It creates more of a routine for the person that's participating in the program [and] gives them that flexibility to not be worried where they're going to be doing their work...tomorrow."

According to Northern California Grantmakers, the affordability crisis in the region is affecting almost two hundred nonprofits, with nearly a third of the organizations it surveyed reporting that they have been forced to relocate within the last five years and more than half of those groups citing too-high rent as the primary reason for their displacement. NCG's regional Nonprofit Displacement Project has helped nonprofits find and pay for work space by assisting them in lease negotiations and educating them about different paths to ownership; it also is working to launch a real estate holding entity and exploring ways to create more affordable office space in the valley.

"If nonprofits are unable to find affordable space that's in the community [where] they need to be, their ability to fulfill their mission is really compromised," said Sarah Frankfurth, a manager for NCG. "There can be really negative impacts on the communities they serve if these institutions go away, [and] it can further destabilize communities that are already under pressure for displacement as well."