Innovating in crisis is what Felton does best.

While the San Francisco Bay Area is a region of relative prosperity compared to the rest of the nation, studies show four out of ten Bay Area families struggle to pay the bills each month or have savings to cover three months of expenses. Without this kind of savings, Bay Area residents cannot weather a job loss or medical crisis, which many families face during this current economic downturn.

Founded in 1889 and first named Associated Charities of San Francisco, Felton Institute is the oldest non-sectarian relief organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

In its over 100-year history, Felton has served through the 1908 Earthquake, the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression, two world wars, 9/11 and a COVID-19 global pandemic. The agency has always heeded the call of those in need. We are a health safety net in times of disasters and crises. 

2020 was a year unlike any other in recent memory; It tested our resolve. As a nation, we mourned over 600,000 American lives lost to COVID-19. As an agency, we doubled up on our commitment to help those in need. With the global pandemic came rising unemployment and homelessness rates, a looming economic downturn, and an increased need for mental health and justice services.

Felton Institute is one of the few nonprofit agencies with programs that address all age groups.

One hundred thirty-two years later, Felton continues to innovate and expand its roster of services. From its roots as a disaster relief and family charities agency, Felton Institute serves five San Francisco Bay Area counties with five core service areas. With programs recognized as national models, Felton Institute innovates according to the times, adopting new ways of delivering social work, education, and mental health services.

Felton Institute is committed to building a stronger community by addressing the needs of the individual.  We believe in education, training, and tools to earn a living wage, providing basic needs, physical and mental wellness services while treating all with human dignity to facilitate a life that is about thriving. We have the progressive values of inclusion, of celebrating diversity and social justice for all.


About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult, and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties. Felton’s social services and programs utilize the latest scientific research, combining cultural sensitivity, deep respect for client and staff, and a commitment to social justice.

Felton is the oldest non-sectarian and nonprofit social services provider in the City and County of San Francisco. For over a century, Felton Institute has been at the forefront of social service innovation, pioneering new approaches to meet underserved populations’ emerging needs. At the heart of our work is the belief that individuals and families in crisis must have access to services and resources to help them build on their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency.