March 2017 News

A Message from Belen Vargas, Vice President, Programs:
Preliminary Program Plan Assumptions for FY 2018

The Weingart Foundation has long held listening and learning as core organizational values, and feedback from the sector informs the development of our Program Plan each year. Last summer, following the announcement of our commitment to equity and our FY 2017 Program Plan, we began an ongoing process of intensified listening to guide our development of strategies to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity across the communities we serve.

In our conversations with nonprofit and community leaders, we’ve heard heightened anxiety and confusion about the new federal administration. Leaders are questioning how they should adapt to this new political reality. Many are expressing concern about the prospect of losing the progress we’ve gained on issues such as health care and immigrant rights, as well as the possibility of significant reductions in government funding and the elimination of programs for the most vulnerable.

From our perspective, the primary issue remains equity—especially given the changes at the federal level. For us, equity means correcting the imbalances we see across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines in our education, health, economic, and justice systems.

As we plan the Foundation’s equity-based grantmaking strategy for FY 2018, we are reaffirming a number of Assumptions from last year and also adding new Assumptions in response to the urgency of the current landscape—and the need to respond to changing federal policies, protect communities, and harness our collective efforts. These Assumptions will be used to guide the development of our FY 2018 Program Plan, which will be released and shared on our website this July. To read the preliminary FY 2018 Program Plan Assumptions and to send us your comments and reactions, click here.

Weingart Foundation to Temporarily Stop Accepting New Unrestricted Operating Support Applications and LOIs until early July 2017

Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grants continue to be the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations committed to advancing equity. When we released our current UOS guidelines last summer in our FY 2017 Program Plan, it was as part of our newly announced commitment to equity and the start of a long-term process of listening, learning, and refinement as we continue to develop strategies to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity across Southern California. We shared that our strategies likely would evolve as we dialogued with nonprofits and communities, and as we commissioned and examined data. We have learned a tremendous amount as a result of these activities, and have gained more clarity about what it means to operate with an equity lens. At the same time, we continue to see high demand for UOS funding.

Therefore, in order to effectively manage the queue of existing requests as well as to take the time to refine and sharpen our grant guidelines based on our learnings from the year, the Foundation has decided to hold off on accepting new UOS applications and letters of inquiry (LOIs) until the start of the next fiscal year in July 2017. Effective immediately, new LOIs and applications for unrestricted support will no longer be accepted until the Foundation releases revised UOS grant guidelines in early July with the announcement and publication of our FY 2018 Program Plan.

We will continue to review applications that have been received as of March 23, 2017. No new applications will be accepted at this time, including those from organizations that are currently in the process of submitting an application but have not yet done so. For these applicants, we ask that you submit a new LOI after our UOS program reopens in July. While we regret this disruption, our belief is that the FY 2018 Program Plan will provide additional clarity that will ultimately allow nonprofits to strengthen their requests and better assess fit with our guidelines.

The Weingart Foundation remains committed to our focus on Unrestricted Operating Support and look forward to sharing our new Program Plan in July. For questions, please contact Angela Carr, grants management associate, at acarr@weingartfnd.org.