The Foundation focuses its principal activity toward providing capital funds for the construction or renovation of facilities of tax-exempt organizations within San Francisco. The grants are primarily directed toward the fields of education, health, social services and cultural institutions.
Herman and Maurice Herbst arrived in San Francisco along with their parents and siblings at the beginning of the 20th century. Their father had formerly owned a grocery store in Ventura County. Along with a partner, he opened the Herbst Manufacturing Company which was a sheet metal and copper works business.