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The Ghiberti Foundation

The Ghiberti Foundation (Tax ID 94-3402512) is the arts and culture foundation at Grace Cathedral. The Foundation seeks to inspire and enrich diverse communities through the arts, education, and public conversation in collaboration with other cultural, educational, and civic organizations.

Grace Cathedral is a significant mediating and unifying institution in the Bay Area, and the Ghiberti Foundation was organized to build on this role without reference to any denominational identity. The Cathedral Board of Trustees realizes that a secular foundation rather than the Cathedral itself, comprising individuals who represent the Bay Area's diverse cultures, could best coordinate the non-religious programs at Grace Cathedral.

The Ghiberti Foundation and the Vision for Grace Cathedral
Grace Cathedral has long been San Francisco’s cathedral, serving as a place of worship, hosting civic conversation and cultural events and providing a stunning venue to experience music and the arts. In 2001, Grace Cathedral’s board of trustees established the Ghiberti Foundation for arts and culture, coordinating many of the cathedral’s non-religious programs. The foundation seeks to inspire and enrich diverse communities through the arts, education, and public conversation in collaboration with other cultural, educational, and civic organizations.
Today with the leadership of the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, the Oxford University historian and theologian who became Dean in 2010, the creation of a five-year strategic plan for growth is underway. It is based on a mission recently articulated by the Cathedral’s Board of Trustees with the pillars of worship, the arts, education and service, with the accompanying vision for the Cathedral that it will embrace the essence of Christianity as inclusive, creative, intellectual, and compassionate.
Realizing the Vision through Arts and Ideas
Dean Shaw believes that the arts allows us to develop the “moral imagination,” a term she has adopted to describe how the arts are a path to social change. Furthermore, the arts have the ability to expand the impact of Grace Cathedral, and to engage wider constituencies and audiences, beyond traditional faith communities Investment in a strong arts program is institutionally strategic, allowing Grace Cathedral to move beyond traditional models of religious programming and to serve diverse and multicultural audiences that may not be drawn to Christian worship. It allows for natural collaborations with cultural institutions and organizations, widening the access to arts and ideas in the meaningful context of a sacred space within a community of faith.

Music at Grace Cathedral
The Ghiberti Foundation supports music at Grace Cathedral through high-quality series of musical and theatrical performances with the goal of bringing performers representing various cultures and musical disciplines to Grace Cathedral.  Also, the Cathedral is a glorious space both for self-produced collaborative concerts and as a rental space for other organizations, both local and international. Performances produced by the Ghiberti Foundation include free organ recitals, and performances of the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, as well as collaborations with select groups.  In 2011, The Ghiberti Foundation co-produced the only San Francisco performance of the Vienna Boys Choir.

The Ghiberti Foundation provides support to The Community Preschool, Grace Cathedral, which serves low-income families by offering one-third of its enrollment a full scholarship to the families in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco and sliding scale tuition to another third of its students.

The Ghiberti Foundation also provides education opportunities for Bay Area Schools and their students. The Foundation helps bridge gaps in academic curriculum.  A visitor to the Cathedral will often find local art students with their sketch pads trying to capture the magnificent architectural details of Grace Cathedral.

Public Conversation
The Forum at Grace Cathedral, supported by The Ghiberti Foundation, is a central plank of the Cathedral’s expansive education program and its commitment to hosting public discussions and civic conversations for the city of San Francisco and wider Bay Area community.

The Forum promotes the open discussion of ideas about faith and ethics in relation to the issues of our day. It hosts interviews with leading public figures and panel discussions with politicians, artists, writers, scientists, musicians, theologians and many others. And it collaborates with the leading cultural institutions and universities of the Bay Area to bring the most innovative and interesting thinking to our public space.

Past Forum guests have included Sandra Day O’Connor, Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Garrison Keillor, Donald Runnicles, Michael Pollan, Richard Rodriguez, General John Abizaid, as well as mayors and members of Congress.

The Forum was relaunched in the Fall of 2011.  Click here to learn about our guests - leading theologians, artists, poets, and politicians - who will be engaging our minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.

Historic Restoration and Preservation
Grace Cathedral has been designated Historic Landmark #170 in the City and County of San Francisco and is on the Save America's Treasures designation list.  The need for preservation and restoration of this historic landmark is ongoing with average annual expenditures in excess of one million dollars.

To make a donation to The Ghiberti Foundation, please click here.  When completing your online donation, please be sure to select The Ghiberti Foundation as the Program Designation.  Thank you.

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