Wildflowers Institute, headquartered in San Francisco, offers a three-step Approach to discovering the informal ways that things get done in a community and the leaders and activities that quietly make a difference. The Wildflowers Approach is based on over thirty years of grassroots work and research in communities with millions of residents, all over the world.

Hanmin Liu and Jennifer Mei cofounded Wildflowers Institute in 1998 after spending the previous two decades training international leaders from the
fields of philanthropy, education, health care, and government. Through this accumulated experience, they learned that leaders wanted to know not only how to improve themselves, but also how to actually make sustainable social impact.

When they introduced leaders to new cultures, Hanmin and Jennifer recognized an immediate need for guidance on what was going on in these cultures, whom to trust, and how to make a difference in an unfamiliar system. After organizing dozens of cross-cultural exchanges, Hanmin and Jennifer knew that they had developed a unique methodology for helping different cultures understand each other. This methodology became the Wildflowers Approach that gave leaders and philanthropists who were not locals an understanding of how a grassroots community actually works and what the hidden informal strengths are.

Hanmin and Jennifer believe in following a low-overhead model and devoting their resources to the communities they are invited to work in. The work of Wildflowers Institute is made possible by the following foundations and corporations:

Adler & Colvin
Akonadi Foundation
Altagracia Fund

ArtPlace America

The Aspen Institute

The Jenifer Altman Foundation

Bank of the Orient

Barr Foundation

Beneficial State Bank

The Benevity Community Impact Fund

The Birge-Spivey Charitable Fund

Brown Charitable Trust 

The California Endowment

The California Wellness Foundation

Campbell Foundation Fund

The Candelaria Fund


The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Marguerite Casey Foundation

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington

Center for Systemic Change Advised Fund

Chinese American Citizens Alliance

The Christensen Fund

The Chrysopolae Foundation

Community Foundation Silicon Valley

Community Technology Foundation of California

Dreyfus Health Foundation

Duler and Company

Ettinger Foundation

Far East National Bank

Fetzer Institute

The Flow Fund Circle

Fontanello, Duffield & Otake, LLP

Frey Vineyards

The Ford Foundation

The Arthur J. Gallagher Foundation

Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation

Haigh-Scatena Foundation

Impact Experience

The James Irvine Foundation

Jewish Community Endowment Fund

Justice Grace Vineyards

Kalliopeia Foundation

W. K. Kellogg Foundation

The Kresge Foundation

Patricia A. and William E. LaMothe Foundation

The Marchese Company, Inc.

The Moca Fund

Morrison & Foerster, LLP

Ramón and Sally Murguía Fund

Khan and Liza Nedd Family Fund of Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Perry IP Group A.L.C.

The Philanthropic Collaborative

The Retirement Research Foundation

Room 5600

The San Francisco Foundation

Howard and Judith Sims Charitable Fund

Robert D. Sparks Trust

Levi Strauss Foundation

Stupski Foundation

10129 Foundation

Tenderloin Health Improvement Partnership

The J. F. Thye Charitable Trust

Haskell and Janice Titchell Trust

TomKat Fund

Salome E. and Jonathan T. Walton Family Fund