Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification


aka TransForm

Oakland, CA


TransForm works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond. We build diverse coalitions, influence policy and develop innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment.

TransForm believes that: 1. All people deserve affordable, safe, and easy access to jobs, services, and nature on foot, bicycle, or public transportation; 2. People should play a central role in shaping and transforming the future of their communities; 3. Communities can become healthier and more vibrant while also nurturing the diversity and inclusion of existing residents, rather than causing displacement; 4. Growth should be directed towards existing developed areas, not our precious remaining open space; 5. We can only achieve our mission by working with people from a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives.

Ruling Year


Executive Director and President

Stuart Cohen

Deputy Director of Organizational Development

Jo Ann Prompongsatorn Farrant

Main Address

436 14th Street Suite 600

Oakland, CA 94612 USA


transform, public transportation, bay area, walkable communities





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

World Class Transportation - Regional


Great Communities Collaborative

Safe Routes to Schools Alameda County

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Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

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What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

TransForm's theory of change is grounded in the connections between our work at the local, regional, and state levels.

Theory of ChangeThe local level is where we can test out innovation solutions to overcome some of the most challenging barriers to creating more affordable places with abundant transportation choices. The local level is also the best place entry point for people to engage in transportation issues and community planning.

This feeds into the regional level, where we can link transit, housing, and jobs in a systemic way – and win policies and funding to bring successful innovations to scale.

At the state level, we can spread proven solutions, plus the supportive policies and sufficient funding needed for all regions to actually be able to make change.

Between all levels and often through diverse coalitions, we connect local advocates and regional leaders to work together to win!

Engaging Communities in Planning: We believe people should play a central role in shaping the future of their communities, especially disadvantaged communities who are most impacted by changes.

Whether we are directly organizing at the grassroots or working with partners at the regional level, we make sure that planning genuinely and deeply involves residents.

Bringing Innovative Programs to Life: We're developing – and spreading – new solutions to some of the most challenging barriers to creating more affordable places with abundant transportation choices.

Some highlights are GreenTRIP's innovative approach to getting new developments to reduce traffic, plus our model urban-focused program that's getting thousands of kids walking and biking to school.

Winning Policy Change: There are hundreds of decisions that together determine our transportation choices and what our communities are like.

That's why TransForm works in the Bay Area and at the state level to transform laws, funding decisions, and planning processes. Check out some of the reports that have shaped our approach.

TransForm was founded in 1997 by Bay Area environmental and social justice groups that recognized the region was at a critical point in time. Public transportation was being bled dry while more highway projects got the green light. Bulldozers were carving up remaining open spaces and farms. Huge numbers of people – especially low-income families – were moving in pursuit of affordable places to live only to have grueling, costly commutes. For those on foot, bicycle, or using a wheelchair, it was getting far too dangerous.

The time had come to turn the tide on sprawl, and redefine transportation in terms of access, health, justice, and sustainability. In the years since TransForm's founding and often working closely with the founding groups, TransForm has won literally billions of dollars and groundbreaking policies in support of public transportation, smart growth, affordable housing, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.

TransForm seeks to make the Bay Area a model region, but also works across California to spread solutions plus win big changes in state funding and policy. TransForm opened an office in Sacramento in 2009.

TransForm's work is focused on four key impact areas:

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Reducing the combined cost of housing and transportation

Increasing the rates and safety of walking and bicycling

Increasing access to jobs via public transportation

For each measure, TransForm focuses on reducing inequalities. For example, we want to see bicycle and pedestrian safety improved in all communities. But as importantly, we want to eliminate the large disparities that currently exist since people of color, youth, and senior suffer disproportionately from higher rates of injuries and fatalities.

TransForm's impact measures help us evaluate what's working and what's not, and determine when and how to shift our approach and resources to have the greatest impact. While measuring impact is difficult, this effort is central to our success.

TransForm's work is widely recognized and includes awards from Senator Barbara Boxer, the American Lung Association, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the California Association of Nonprofits, Public Advocates as a "Voice of Conscience", the American Planning Association of California, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, Breathe California, and others.

In 2013, TransForm's Executive Director Stuart Cohen received the prestigious James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for championing innovative regional planning.

TransForm was also honored by the U.S. Green Building Council - Northern California Chapter as a 2013 Green Building Super Hero for our work to advance sustainability through transportation and community planning.

TransForm is ranked one of the top ten climate change-related nonprofits in the Bay Area by Philanthropedia's experts.

External Reviews



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
TransForm has an Equity and Inclusion Committee that reviews hiring practices, organizational development, and other practices throughout the organization and a member of this committee sits in on every hiring process for new staff and ensures that the hiring process is fair and equitable to all candidates and that we recruit for a diverse pool of candidates prior to making a hire. TransForm also has two Social Justice Task Groups: one on the board level and one at the staff level that coordinate to integrate social justice values, diversity, inclusion and access into all of our programs, fundraising, financial management and business practices.