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Nonprofits Need Help With Rental Costs in The Bay Area

August 09, 2016
By Jarrod Whaley

The cost of office space in the Bay Area continues to rise, and nonprofit organizations are among those most affected by the phenomenon. It's gotten so bad, in fact, that many NPO's have taken to subleasing a part of their offices just to make ends meet.

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlights this sad state of affairs:

The Lab SF, a 30-year-old alternative art and performance space in the Mission District, has the typical financial struggles of San Francisco nonprofits. “I’m trying to diversify the ways we raise money and broaden our horizons to make sure we can stay afloat, pay our rent and stay in the city,” said Executive Director Dena Beard.

Housed in a recently renovated 1914 union meeting hall, the Lab SF has a wide-open 3,000-square-foot space that can be subdivided with movable walls. Now it has turned that into a money maker, listing it on Peerspace, an Airbnb-style marketplace for renting out “creative spaces” for events like parties, corporate off-sites, film and photo shoots, meetings, weddings and even a marriage proposal.

Renting on Peerspace “has made a massive difference,” Beard said. With about one event a month, the $300-per-hour rentals bring in close to $18,000 a year, about 5 percent of the Lab’s budget.

We think that nonprofits and collectives of artists are essential to the cultural lifeblood of our modern cities, and find the trend of rising rents to be a terrible harbinger of things to come for these vital organizations. To that end, we are working to help nonprofits find rentals at more sustainable rates through a grant program which partially subsidizes an NPO's rental costs. If you work for a nonprofit (or know someone who does) which might benefit from this program, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how we might be able to help.