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Grant Guidelines

Below please find Weingart Foundation’s Grant Guidelines. We suggest you first read the Foundation’s FY 2016 Program Plan and Working with Weingart Foundation before reviewing the Grant Guidelines. This will provide you with a greater context and understanding of our current strategic grantmaking priorities.

General Grant Focus
Weingart Foundation provides grants designed to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations delivering effective services in the areas of health, human services, and education for people and communities in need. The Foundation gives highest priority to activities that provide greater access to people and communities that are economically disadvantaged and underserved. Funding is provided in the form of Unrestricted Operating Support, Capital, Special Project, and Small Grant Program grants.

Successful Weingart Foundation grantees will have and/or demonstrate the commitment to achieving:

• A clear mission and vision;
• A strategy to accomplish its mission, operate programs that produce positive
  outcomes, and learn from results;
• A qualified, engaged and supportive board of directors;
• Strong leadership and management;
• A well trained and supported staff;
• The ability to identify and adapt to internal and external changes;
• A funding model that can support core programs and services;
• An appropriate level of cash reserves to sustain the organization.


Geographic Area of Grant Focus
Weingart Foundation funds organizations providing services in the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.


Applicant Eligibility
An organization that is certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and is not a private foundation as defined in section 509(a) of that Code is eligible for consideration. The Foundation does not fund Section 509(a) (3) Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organizations.

Financial Documentation

  • Audited financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year are required of all organizations in existence for more than five years and with operating income of $500,000 or more.
  • Organizations with annual income under $500,000 or agencies founded within the last five years must submit an independent review of their financial statements, completed by a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Applicants to the Small Grant Program who cannot meet the financial documentation requirements may be eligible for a one-time exemption on a case-by-case basis upon review of the full application.

Board Governance. The role and function of each applicant’s governing board of directors is an important element of our review process. Please click here for more information on Weingart Foundation’s perspective on nonprofit board best practices and our assessment of board governance.


Types of Support
Weingart Foundation offers the following types of grants:

Unrestricted Operating Support Grants (formerly known as Core Support)

In order to build nonprofit capacity and effectiveness, priority will continue to be given to multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support funding requests. Previously, Unrestricted Operating Support was known as Core Support funding. The name was changed to more accurately reflect the unrestricted nature our funding program. The grant guidelines for this type of support have not changed.

Unrestricted Operating Support is unrestricted funding that enables an organization to carry out its mission by strengthening organizational capacity and effectiveness. It can be used to underwrite administrative infrastructure and/or to maintain core programs and essential staff. Our Unrestricted Operating Support grant program is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting and strengthening the organizational, programmatic and advocacy capacity of our grantees. Most Unrestricted Operating Support grants are awarded over a two-year period.

  • The size of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant will generally range between $75,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on a number of factors including the budget size of the organization, and the specific needs and opportunities facing each applicant.
  • In addition to meeting normal screening requirements, applicants for Unrestricted Operating Support funding will be evaluated against the following criteria:
    • Are established, well managed, and financially viable organizations that operate effective programs that serve the needs of low-income, economically disadvantaged and underserved communities;
    • Have developed specific and realistic short and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs;
    • Can demonstrate how an Unrestricted Operating Support grant could have a measurable impact on their organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness;
    • A grant would provide an opportunity to build upon prior Weingart Foundation grants/investments to the organization;
  • Operating Reserves: On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the applicant organization, Foundation program officers may recommend restricting a portion of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant for an applicant’s operating reserve. Operating reserve set-asides are typically recommended when an applicant is seeking to seed or build its reserve fund, and are usually conditional on a match in private fundraising and the existence of a board-approved organizational policy on the use and maintenance of the reserve.

Capital Grants

For specific projects with capital expenditures funding is available to support land, facility, equipment purchases, renovations, or new construction.

Capital funding will be generally limited to projects that:
• are in or about to start construction;
• are in the final phase of fundraising; and
• where the grant can be used immediately.

Applicants must demonstrate how they will support the costs associated with operating new or enhanced facilities.

Capital grant requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation’s Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) stage before being invited to submit a full application.

Special Project Grants

On a selective basis, the Foundation will consider Special Project funding for high-impact projects that are aligned with the mission and grant focus of the Foundation and that offer the potential to produce significant benefit to low-income and underserved individuals and communities in the Foundation’s service area.

  • At each Foundation Board of Directors meeting, management will provide a report on Special Project grants under review, inviting feedback and questions.
  • All requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) stage before being invited to submit a full application.
  • Given the highly competitive nature of this funding, Special Project applications will only be presented to our Board of Directors for approval at the Foundation’s December and June meetings.
  • High priority is given for projects that "expand" or "provide access to" needed programs and services in high poverty, under-resourced communities.

Special Project Guidelines:

  • Program development, enhancement and/or expansion requests;
  • Innovative new program ideas attempting to “prove concept,” as well as “proven” programs attempting to scale or replicate;
  • Requests accepted from individual organizations as well as a collaborative of organizations;
  • Applications must include a learning and assessment component;
  • Leverage will be encouraged by limiting Weingart Foundation’s contribution to generally no more than 30% of the project budget;
  • Applications must include a funding model that describes how the project will be continued after the grant period;
  • As appropriate, multi-year funding requests are encouraged.

Small Grant Program (Unrestricted Operating Support)

All requests of $25,000 and under are considered through our Small Grant Program (SGP). The primary purpose of the SGP is to increase access to funding and strengthen the capacity of small, community based, and developing organizations, with priority given to organizations with operating budgets of $1 million or less. The SGP provides only Unrestricted Operating Support grants. All grants are for a 12 month period. The program is an avenue for smaller or newer organizations to introduce themselves to the Foundation, and allows us to expand the availability of our resources to nonprofits and geographical areas we might not otherwise reach. We believe that these grants provide important support for much needed services to diverse communities throughout Southern California. For more information on the SGP, please click here.

Program-Related Investments (PRIs)

Based on individual circumstances and as an alternative to a grant, the Foundation will consider a limited number of program-related investments (below-market loans) to select organizations for the capital needed to maintain or expand facilities and/or services to underserved individuals and communities. Organizations interested in a potential PRI should contact Angela Carr, Grants Management Associate, at acarr@weingartfnd.org.


Grant Duration
Unrestricted Operating Support over $25,000: Grants are generally made for a two-year period. Grantees may receive up to two consecutive Unrestricted Operating Support grants (totaling four years) before being asked to wait out a year after the close of the second grant.

Small Grant Program Unrestricted Operating Support grants ($25,000 or less) are made for a one-year (12 month) period.

Capital or Special Project grants are awarded for the period of time necessary to complete the proposed outcomes, with most grants ranging between one and two years.


Funding Amounts
While requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, applicants should note that as a general practice, the Foundation does not fund the total cost of a Capital or Special Project budget. Requests should be proportional to the amount of the specific Capital or Special Project budget, and in the case of Unrestricted Operating Support, the size of the agency’s operating budget.

Applicants should request a grant amount that is consistent with a thoughtful and sustainable fundraising strategy. The information below is intended to provide general guidance. Based on individual circumstances, the Foundation’s Board of Directors will use flexibility and apply judgment to each request on a case-by-case basis.

Unrestricted Operating Support. Applicants seeking Unrestricted Operating Support are advised that the size of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant will generally range between $75,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on a number of factors, including the budget size of the organization and the specific needs and opportunities facing each applicant.

General guidelines regarding grant amounts for Capital and Special Project requests of $100,000 or more are as follows:

Capital Support

  • For new construction and major renovation projects, grant amounts will generally not exceed 10% of a total capital budget, and in the case of very large projects, the percentage is likely to be considerably less.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how they will support the costs associated with operating new or enhanced facilities.
  • Capital grant requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation’s Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry stage before we invite a full application.

Special Project Grants

  • Leverage will be encouraged by limiting Weingart Foundation’s contribution to generally no more than 30% of the project budget.
  • All requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation’s Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry stage before we invite a full application.
  • Applications will only be presented at the Foundation’s December and June Board meetings.

Grant Limitations
Grants are not made:

  • To organizations that discriminate against certain groups or individuals in the delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability;
  • For influencing legislation and/or elections; for political candidates, political campaigns;
  • For social or political issues outside the United States;
  • To individuals;
  • For temporary exhibits, travel, surveys, films or publishing activities;
  • For endowment funds;
  • For fundraising dinners or events;
  • For research.

Grants generally are not approved for:

  • National organizations that do not have local chapters operating in the Foundation’s geographic area of grant focus;
  • Religious programs, consumer interest or environmental advocacy;
  • Feasibility studies.