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August 2016 News

Message from the Chairman and the President:
A Full Commitment To Equity

Throughout our careers, we have been struck by the fact that life in our society is simply not fair. We do not all have the same access to the resources necessary to meet our basic needs or to opportunities to realize our dreams.

Southern California is a place practically built on hopes and dreams. Our region has long offered the promise of education, jobs, homes, and healthy lifestyles. Like our founder, Ben Weingart, people seeking opportunity have journeyed here—from across the country and around the world—full of hope for something better for their families and their future.

But far too many who saw Southern California as a place of opportunity have been disappointed. Across the region, people are struggling daily for the things some take for granted—safe streets, good jobs, access to health care, affordable housing, and a quality education for our families.

For 65 years, the Weingart Foundation has focused on serving the underserved by supporting nonprofit organizations fighting poverty and expanding opportunity for the Southern California communities that face the most obstacles. Our core values of listening to, and learning from, grantees and communities have always guided us—leading the Foundation, for example, to make a significant shift to focus on unrestricted grantmaking nearly 10 years ago.

But despite our best efforts, and the good work of others, the reality is that conditions in much of our region, and for so many people, are getting worse.

In our listening sessions, we hear from nonprofits and community members who daily experience disparities that are deepening and widening. We are told that our safety net is eroding, and that Southern California is increasingly divided into separate and unequal places. A child in Newport Beach will likely live 10 years longer than a child in Watts.

We are also hearing from grantees that lasting change will require a collective and longterm focus that addresses the underlying circumstances that create and perpetuate inequity, the root of so many of our most intractable problems.

This is why the Weingart Foundation is making a full commitment to equity—a long-term commitment to base all of our policy and program decisions on achieving the goal to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all Southern Californians—especially those communities hit hardest by persistent poverty.

To read the full message, click here.