Heising-Simons Foundation emerging as a Major Player

The Heising-Simons Foundation (HSF) is hitting its stride with investments in three major areas and receiving national recognition for it. A June 2016 Inside Philanthropy article highlights the “start-up” mentality of the family foundation, and how giving in three major areas reflect its priorities: education, science, and climate and clean energy.

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC assisted HSF in the early stages of its communication planning in 2015, including:

  1. helping the foundation ramp up its communication capacity and hiring its first communication staff;
  2. communication planning, including writing core messages about the foundation’s complex giving profile and conducting a website audit; and
  3. developing strategy around opportunities to introduce the foundation to the community.

ACS helped HSF successfully take their communication efforts to the next level, boosting HSF’s approach to communication to fellow grantmakers, partners in the community, and grantees.


Since donor couple Elizabeth Simons and Mark Heising formalized their philanthropy a few years ago—they started a foundation in 2007 and started hiring professional staff in 2012—the Heising-Simons Foundation has moved fast, building a team of 23, setting up a 10,000-square-foot office in Los Altos, and making a splash in some niche areas.”

Annual giving has nearly doubled to $43 million since taking shape in 2013. In 2015, about half of its grantmaking went to education, a quarter to science, 12 percent to climate and clean energy, and the rest to trustee or other emerging interests.

“We believe there’s going to be continued growth. The family is really committed to the work that we’re doing, they’re committed to the foundation,” says CEO and President Deanna Gomby. 

ACS loves hearing about the successes of current and former clients. If you want to learn more about the capacity building, communication planning, and strategy development services ACS can offer your organization, please contact us!

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