City Lights Foundation

The City Lights Foundation fosters an active engagement with books and literary culture. Our public events, publishing program, and educational outreach are dedicated to sustaining a vibrant community of readers, writers, and independent thinkers. 

 The City Lights Future Fund

As we move into a post-founder/owner business model, this is a moment of evolution and transformation for City Lights. We are poised at the beginning of a new era in our institutional history, one that will require a new set of structures, systems and financial models to support it. Our aim is to plan as wisely and strategically as possible in order to protect and preserve the institution into the future, and also to enhance and expand our various cultural and civic roles. 

If you are interested in donating funds to support this effort, please write to us for more information:

Board of Directors: 

Elaine Katzenberger, President

Amy Scholder, Secretary/Treasurer

James Kass, Board Member

San Francisco Poet Laureate Series

The Poet Laureate Series was conceived as a way to augment the Laureates’ work and impact, both within and beyond the boundaries of San Francisco. Each volume documents the Laureate’s poetic voice and vision for the city, and includes the poet’s inaugural address, along with a selection of poems and/or essays. An important historic and cultural artifact, these books are useful educational tools as well, and for the millions of visitors who come through San Francisco each year, they provide a tangible example of the vital and unique cultural life of our city.

Inaugurated in 1998 by the San Francisco Public Library in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor, the position of Poet Laureate was first awarded to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and founder of City Lights Books. He served for two years and was followed by Janice Mirikitani, devorah major, Jack Hirschman, Diane di Prima, Alejandro Murguía, Kim Shuck, and Tongo Eisen-Martin, who is the current Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Eisen-Martin’s laureate book is forthcoming in 2022.

Projects & Collaborations

Over the years, the City Lights Foundation has collaborated with various arts and community groups in the Bay Area to produce programming, books, and cultural activities. These include the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, Youth Speaks, the San Francisco Euro-Poetry Festival and CounterPULSE.

We are committed to diversifying the cultural dialogue by giving writers of all ages and ethnicities the tools to help develop their individual voices in the community. We continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with like-minded organizations, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


The City Lights Foundation would like to thank all of our donors for their contributions, and for supporting arts and literacy in San Francisco and beyond.

Sustaining Donors

Tom & Rita Bottoms

Deborah & Keith Gardner

Greti Croft Ellman

Jennifer Wilson

Eugene & Rosemary Borelli

Donald A. Heneghan


Laurie Armstrong

Marcia Bellavance

Liza Berdnik

Thomas Bone

Robert Briggs

Janet Camarena & David Hellman

Chris and Janet Clyde

Geraldine Coad

Ron Collins

Stephanie and Peter Coyote

Gerry Crowley

Jerrud Davis

Jason Dewees

Federico de Vera

Michele Doolan

Michael Ellingson

Anne Fleming


Wolfgang & Cola Franzen

Beth and Paul Garon

Ross L. Gourvitz & Shirley J. Stephenson

Mary Grauberger

Nicole Henares

Garrison Keillor

Will Kirkland

George Krevsky

Diane Le Bow

Levi’s Strauss & Co

Paula Lillevand

Alejandro & Magaly Murguia

Amy Scholder

Cecile Leneman

Annmaria Lelli

Paula Lillevand

Don Linn

Sterling Lord

Khaled Kaawar

Devorah Major

Louise Mangini

Patrick Marks

Connie May

Joanna McClure

Jock McDonald


Nion T. McEvoy

Michael Miller

Richard Miller

Victoria Nelson

Patricia O’Donnell

Barbara Paschke

Aaron Peskin

Marie Ponsot

Federico Rampini

Phyllis Schoenwald

Frank Skip Shaffer (Laurel J.)

Sam Shepard

Thomas Silk

Helen and Barbara Songer, and Caesar Marques (in memory of Deborah Gardner)

Frances Stanford (in memory of Deborah Gardner)

Roselyn Swig

Ellen Ullman

Janine Vega

Kenneth and Christina Waldeck

G.L. Weatherford

Jonathan Else

Matt Keister

Contact Us

City Lights Foundation

All queries and requests: or call (415) 362-1901


City Lights Foundation

261 Columbus Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94133

Fax: (415) 362-4921

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