Small Grant Program

Weingart Foundation is known for supporting nonprofit organizations addressing a wide range of needs in Southern California. Our grantees include small community-based organizations focused on a single neighborhood as well as large institutions serving the entire region.

Definition and Purpose

The primary purpose of the Small Grant Program is to increase access to funding and strengthen the capacity of small, community based, and developing organizations. Therefore, priority is given to organizations with operating budgets under $1 million. The program also supports small capital projects for organizations of any size.

The program is a good opportunity for 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.

General Grant Focus

The Weingart Foundation considers applications from organizations working in the areas of health, human services and education. Highest priority is given to organizations or programs that provide greater access for people who are economically disadvantaged and underserved. Typically, the Small Grant Program supports requests for agencies or for programs where at least 70% of those served are low income. Of particular interest to the Foundation are applications that specifically address the needs of low-income children and youth, older adults, and people affected by disabilities and homelessness.

In the area of arts and culture, the Foundation specifically funds comprehensive arts education programs for low income and underserved populations. In general, we do not fund one-time events such as attending a performance or visiting a museum, or short term programs consisting of a few interactions. Arts education programs should engage individuals over a period of time in a sequential series of interactions leading to a growth in knowledge, skill, level of appreciation, etc., and in the case of youth programs, should typically be aligned with core state standards.

Generally, requests from organizations with less than three years operating history in the Southern California region will not be considered at this time.

Geographic Area of Grant Focus

Weingart Foundation supports organizations providing services in the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles; Orange; Riverside; San Bernardino; Santa Barbara; and Ventura.

San Diego County Small Grant Program

The JCF-Weingart Grant Program will conduct its last grantmaking cycle in 2015. Weingart Foundation will end its grantmaking in San Diego County after concluding the July-November 2015 grant cycle. For more information, click here.

Eligibility Criteria

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, if they do not have an audit, must submit an independent review of their financial statements, completed by a CPA.
  • Small Grant applicants that cannot meet the financial documentation requirements may be eligible for an exemption on a case by case basis upon review of the full application. Organizations do not need to specifically request this exemption, and can choose to submit an application with unaudited or internal financial statements with the understanding that if a grant were approved it would be as an exception to policy.

Board Governance. The role and function of each applicant’s governing board 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

The Small Grant Program primarily provides support in the form of general operating support grants, given our goal to strengthen organizations and to support their development. We also provide capacity building grants (though general operating support often includes capacity building goals and activities) as well as program development and capital grants.

General operating support -  Unrestricted funding that enables an organization to carry out its mission. It can be used, for example, to underwrite administrative infrastructure, implement a strategic plan, build or strengthen organizational capacity, and/or to maintain core programs and essential staff.

Capacity building –  For specific activities or projects aimed at strengthening an organization’s programmatic or administrative capacity. Organizations must demonstrate a strong plan for sustaining new costs. Some examples of allowable capacity building activities include: organizational assessment, an agency’s first audit, strategic and board planning, executive coaching and consulting and staff participation in professional development. 

Program development -  Support for program development, expansion or enhancement. Organizations must demonstrate a strong plan for program sustainability. Requests involving new partnerships (for example, with schools) should have formal memorandums of understanding (MOUs) or the equivalent already secured. 

Capital/Equipment projects - For small projects that involve one-time capital or equipment expenditures. Where permits are involved, funding will generally only be provided when all necessary permits have been secured. For capital requests to support the purchase of vehicles, click here for information regarding our Clean Vehicle Policy.

Generally, requests for start-up support will not be considered at this time.

Funding Amounts and Grant Duration

Maximum grant award is $25,000 for a 12-month period. However, it should be noted that average grant awards range between $10,000 and $15,000. In addition, the Foundation will not generally fund an entire project budget.

Please note: applicants for program development, capacity building or capital support should apply for amounts that will generally not exceed 50% of the total project budget and should have already secured funding for a substantial portion (typically at least 50%) of the project budget before applying to the Foundation.

Generally, after a second consecutive small grant, agencies must wait one year after the close of that grant to re-apply.

General operating support grantees are eligible to apply for a second consecutive year of GOS funding through an abbreviated application and renewal process. Grantees that are eligible will receive an email from the Foundation upon the close of their current grant with detailed instructions on how to apply for a GOS renewal.  There is no guarantee of renewed funding.

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 propagandizing, influencing legislation and/or elections, promoting voter registration; for political candidates, political campaigns; for litigation.
  • For social or political issues outside the United States of America.
  • To individuals.
  • For conferences, workshops, temporary exhibits, travel, surveys, films or publishing activities.
  • For endowment funds.
  • For deficits or debt reduction.
  • For fundraising dinners or events.
  • For research.

Grants generally are not approved for:

  • National organizations that do not have local chapters operating in the geographic area of grant focus.
  • For the collection of funds for redistribution or regranting to other nonprofit groups or to federated appeals.
  • Religious programs, consumer interest or environmental advocacy.
  • Feasibility studies.

Application Process

There is no letter of inquiry for the Small Grant Program. After reviewing the guidelines, if the Foundation’s funding priorities and interests appear to be compatible with the needs of the organization seeking support, the organization is encouraged to utilize the online application and submit it for consideration. There are no submission deadlines for the Small Grant Program, and the Foundation accepts and reviews applications on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The review process typically takes four months or less. Applying for a Small Grant is a more streamlined process than the application process for the Regular Grant Program. In order to expedite the review process, site visits are generally not conducted.

Declined applicants: If your request for funding is not approved, we encourage you to call us for information regarding our decision. Organizations that have been declined from the Small Grant Program may re-apply at any time.

Follow the link below to the online instructions page to begin the online application process. Please review the application instructions thoroughly before beginning the application process.

Small Grant Program online instructions and application process click here.

If you have additional questions related to the Small Grant Program, please review our FAQs or contact one of our Small Grant Program team members: Eric Medina, Program Associate,, (213) 688-6316; Patricia Watkins, Program Associate,, (213) 688-6305.

For examples of organizations and projects that the Foundation has previously funded, we suggest that you review the listing of recent grants and in our most recent Annual Report available on our website.

Downloadable Instructions

Small Grant Online Application Instructions - PDF