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Expanding Opportunity Fund (formerly the Small Grant Program)

The primary purpose of the Expanding Opportunity Fund (EOF) is to increase access to funding and strengthen the capacity of small, community-based, and developing organizations. Therefore, high priority is given to organizations with operating budgets under $1 million.

All grants through the EOF are for a maximum of $25,000 in Unrestricted Operating Support over a term of 12 months.

Grantmaking Focus

As part of the Foundation’s desire to increase impact in specific areas related to advancing social and economic equity, the Expanding Opportunity Fund will provide Unrestricted Operating Support grants (not program grants) to nonprofits focused on the activities identified under the following issue areas:

  • Reentry: Successful reintegration of individuals reentering the community from incarceration with a focus on employment and/or housing with supportive services.
  • Immigrant Integration: Outreach and enrollment around the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; education and fraud prevention related to administrative relief; workforce development and workplace rights; support for access to health care and drivers’ licenses; citizenship and naturalization efforts; civic participation; detention and deportation support; and literacy and English as a Second Language programs.
  • Education:

    • Increasing high school graduation rates, post-secondary degree attainment and employment opportunities for low-income students, including, but not limited to, a special focus on youth in or at-risk of entering County systems (e.g. child welfare or juvenile justice);

    • Early childhood literacy programs;

    • Improving parent engagement in public education.

  • Youth Organizing and Leadership Development: Youth organizing and leadership development programs for low-income and vulnerable youth.

  • Basic Needs:
    • Housing and services for survivors of domestic violence and abuse;
    • Homelessness prevention for families;
    • Addressing food insecurity.

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


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.

•    Expanding Opportunity Fund 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. We also believe that it is important for boards to reflect the diversity and key interests of the communities they serve. Please click here for more information on the Weingart Foundation’s perspective on nonprofit board best practices and our assessment of board governance.

Types of Support - Unrestricted Operating Support

The Expanding Opportunity Fund provides support solely in the form of Unrestricted Operating Support grants, given our goal to strengthen organizations and to support their development. Unrestricted Operating Support is 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.

Funding Amounts and Grant Duration

The maximum grant award is $25,000 for a 12-month period. However, given the high demand for funding, it should be noted that the grant award may be less than the requested amount and typically does not exceed 10% of an organizations operating budget.

Generally, after two consecutive Expanding Opportunity Fund grants, agencies must wait one year after the close of the second grant to re-apply to the EOF.

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, promoting voter registration; for political candidates, political campaigns;
  • For social or political issues outside the United States of America;
  • To individuals;
  • For temporary exhibits, travel, surveys, films or publishing activities;
  • For endowment funds;
  • For fundraising dinners or events;
  • For research;
  • For animal welfare.

Grants generally are not approved for:

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

For More Information

If you have additional questions related to the Expanding Opportunity Fund, please review our FAQs or contact one of our EOF team members: Eric Medina, Program Officer - Expanding Opportunity Fund, emedina@weingartfnd.org, (213) 688-6316; Patricia Watkins, Program Officer - Expanding Opportunity Fund, pwatkins@weingartfnd.org, (213) 688-6305.