Our Grantmaking

FAQs

APPLICATION PROCESS

How do we apply for a grant?

A letter of inquiry (LOI) must first be submitted by the requesting organization. If it is determined from the LOI that the request meets the Foundation’s guidelines and priorities, the organization will be provided with the instructions and forms required to prepare and submit a formal application.

While the Foundation will accept unsolicited LOIs for Capital or Special Opportunity funding, prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to talk with a member of our program staff before submitting an LOI in these areas.

In July 2017 the Foundation launched a new online portal where nonprofits submit letters of inquiry (LOI) and grant reports. Is there anything nonprofits need to know about it?

We recently transitioned to a new online portal that is intended to provide applicants and grantees with a more streamlined and user-friendly experience. When you first enter the system from our website, you will see instructions on how to create a new user account and password. For questions, please contact Angela Carr, grants management associate, at acarr@weingartfnd.org.

How do we apply for a Program Related Investment?

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for our Program Related Investment (PRI) Fund. If organizations have reviewed our PRI guidelines and would like to discuss a project, they should contact Rosa Benitez, Senior Program Officer, at rbenitez@weingartfnd.org or (213) 688-6320.

Does the Weingart Foundation have deadlines for submitting letters of inquiry?

The Foundation accepts and reviews letters of inquiry (LOIs) throughout the year without deadlines.

How much time does it take for a review?

Letters of inquiry take up to four weeks to review and to determine if a full applicaiton will be invited. When a full application is invited, organizations have up to three months to submit the completed form and supplemental materials. Completed applications are assigned to a program officer for review in the order they are received. Due to high demand for our funding, it generally takes up to six months to review an application from the day that it is received to notification of the Board’s decision. Occasionally, final action will be deferred. Each applicant is notified promptly as soon as a decision has been made. Altogether, the process from LOI to a final decision can take approximately six months. Requests of $25,000 and under involve a streamlined application and review process that typically takes three to four months to complete.

What is your decision-making process for grant requests?

Our Board of Directors meets five times a year to make decisions regarding requests. Applicants should feel free to contact Foundation staff for information on the status of your request. However, communication with members of our Board of Directors is discouraged.

What if I have trouble using the online letter of inquiry?

Please contact Angela Carr, grants management associate, at (213) 688-6314 for assistance.

We have been invited to submit a full application. May we substitute a full narrative proposal for the Weingart Foundation’s application form?

The Foundation requires that all applicants use the Weingart Foundation’s application form to ensure that organizations provide all of the information needed for a full review.


TYPES OF SUPPORT AND CRITERIA

What does the Weingart Foundation’s commitment to equity mean for its grantmaking?

The Foundation remains committed to responsive grantmaking and will continue to provide multiyear Unrestricted Operating Support grants as our primary grantmaking strategy. Our full commitment to advancing equity means that we will focus all of our resources on organizations serving those low-income people and communities facing the greatest barriers to opportunity. The FY 2018 Program Plan outlines our initial approach in detail. However, this is really the start of a long-term process. Our strategies will evolve over time as we engage in dialogue with grantees and communities.

What are the Weingart Foundation’s funding priorities?

Weingart Foundation priorities are described in the Grant Guidelines.

What are the geographic areas in which the Weingart Foundation funds?

We fund nonprofit organizations providing programs and services in six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. In addition, based on our commitment to equity, we have also identified two Los Angeles communities as areas for focused investment: Southeast Cities of Los Angeles County and South Los Angeles. The Foundation’s goal is to identify opportunities to strengthen the capacity and availability of nonprofit resources in these areas. For more information, click here.

What are the Weingart Foundation’s grant limitations?

The Weingart Foundation’s limitations are listed in the Grant Guidelines.

We have several needs. Would you help us choose one or may we include all of them in our request?

The Weingart Foundation prioritizes Unrestricted Operating Support. On a limited basis, we also provide Capital and Special Opportunity Fund grants, as well as Program Related Investments. An organization should choose one type of support based on priorities and needs. 

What can I use Unrestricted Operating Support funds for?

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, for example, to underwrite administrative infrastructure, implement a strategic plan, build or strengthen organizational capacity, and/or to maintain core programs and essential staff.

Are we able to apply for funding for one of your Special Issue Areas?

The Foundation’s Special Issue Areas are designed as a complement to our responsive grantmaking, and address important issues aligned with the Weingart Foundation’s mission and commitment to equity. Nonprofits with a project that they believe addresses one of our Special Issue Areas are strongly encouraged to have a conversation with one of our program officers before submitting a letter of inquiry.

I am a current grantee with an active grant. Can I now apply for another grant?

An organization is able to have one active grant at a time. (Grants are active until Foundation staff review and close them at the end of the grant period.) Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grantees may receive two consecutive UOS grants before they are asked to wait out one year from the end of their grant period before reapplying. For organizations with Capital or Special Opportunity grants, these groups are asked to wait one year from the end of their grant period before re-applying for a new Foundation grant (of any type).

I have an active grant with the Weingart Foundation, but I am experiencing significant challenges with my project and do not believe I will be able to achieve my original goals. What can I do?

Please contact your program officer as soon as possible to discuss the situation. The Foundation recognizes that even some of the best executed plans experience challenges along the way and we are committed to supporting our grantees.

Does the Weingart Foundation provide “emergency” grants through an expedited process?

We do not have an expedited grant review process to assist organizations facing an emergency situation. Please also note that Unrestricted Operating Support is not intended as emergency funding. Agencies seeking Unrestricted Operating Support should apply and follow our regular grant process and timeline, which begins with the submission of a letter of inquiry (LOI). 

Is the Weingart Foundation still funding new program development or expansion requests?

At this time, the Foundation continues to prioritize Unrestricted Operating Support grants, which are not for specific programs or projects. On a very limited basis however, we do support projects and programs through our Special Opportunity Fund. While the Foundation does accept unsolicited letters of inquiry for these requests, applicants are strongly encouraged to talk with a member of our program staff before submitting an LOI for program development or expansion.

Our organization is an arts and culture agency and we note that the arts are not listed among Weingart Foundation’s program areas. Are we eligible to apply?

In the area of arts and culture, the Foundation specifically funds nonprofit organizations whose core mission and programs focus on dismantling barriers by providing comprehensive arts education for people and communities who are low income and under-resourced. 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. In general, we do not fund organizations that provide mainly one-time events such as attending a performance or visiting a museum, or short term programs consisting of a few interactions. Organizations where only one or two programs align with Foundation guidelines will generally not be competitive for funding.

What is the maximum grant amount that Weingart Foundation funds? What is the range?

We have not established maximum dollar amounts. The size of an Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grant will generally range between $20,000 to $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. Aligned with our commitment to equity, the Foundation may choose to make larger UOS grants to organizations that will bring new or expanded services in designated Geographic Areas of Focus and in other communities that are highly under-resourced.

Must we submit an audited financial statement with our application?

Audited financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year are required of all applicants in existence for more than five years and with operating income of $500,000 or more. Organizations with annual income under $500,000 or new organizations (founded within the last five years) may instead submit an independent review of their financial statements, completed by a CPA. Please do not submit an application without all of the required attachments, as it will not be processed. Case-by-case exemptions to these financial statement requirements are available for applicants. Applicants without the required financial statements should discuss their situation with their assigned program officer.

Does the Foundation support start-up organizations?

At this time, the Weingart Foundation generally does not fund start-up organizations. Typically, applicants must have been operating for at least three years and have established their core infrastructure and programs.

Does the Foundation support fiscally sponsored organizations?

Applicants that are fiscally sponsored are eligible for funding. The grant application will ask you for information and attachments regarding both your organization as well as your fiscal sponsor.


EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY FUND (formerly the Small Grant Program)

Effective July 2017 and in alignment with the Foundation’s focus on advancing equity, we have changed the Expanding Opportunities Fund (EOF) program strategy. The EOF had provided grants of $25,000 and under to organizations with budgets of $1 million and under. Moving forward, the EOF will no longer be a separate program, but will instead be integrated into our Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) program. All organizations will now be able to apply through the UOS program, regardless of budget size. This change allows our Foundation additional flexibility and efficiency in supporting smaller organizations. In order to ensure that our grant process is commensurate with the grant amount, we have structured a more streamlined application process for organizations with operating budgets under $1 million focused on advancing social and economic equity. The process starts with an online UOS letter of inquiry.


COMMUNICATION

We have a grant request that appears to fit within Weingart Foundation guidelines. Should we set up a meeting with Foundation staff to present our ideas?

Generally, the best first step is to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI). Due to the high volume of requests we receive, we are unable to meet with organizations before they submit an LOI. We are also unable to review draft LOIs or applications. If you have a question related to our process or guidelines, please feel free to call or email us, and we would be happy to answer your question. If, however, you have reviewed our guidelines and feel comfortable applying without contacting us, please feel free to do so. We review each LOI and application on the strength of its fit with our Grant Guidelines, and there is no special advantage for agencies that have called first.

Do you conduct site visits to all organizations that have submitted a formal application?

Organizations requesting over $25,000 typically receive a site visit as part of our application review process. The program officer will determine the most effective method(s) by which to gather additional information and will contact you to schedule time to review all of your information once a completed application has been received. Site visits are typically not conducted for requests under $25,000 and under given the high application volume and shorter review timeline.

I am a past Weingart Foundation grantee and I am interested in applying for a grant again. Will I be assigned to the same program officer that reviewed my previous application?

Although we often assign program officers to organizations that they have reviewed in the past, there is no guarantee that you will have the same program officer.

How do we learn more about the Weingart Foundation’s past grants?

Information about our previous grants can be found on the recent grants section of the website. 

May we contact Foundation Directors about our proposed project?

Communication with members of our Board of Directors is discouraged.

How do we check on the status of our request?

Contact Priscilla Savage, Grants Administrator, at psavage@weingartfnd.org or (213) 688-6311 to determine the status of your request. However, please allow one month after submission before calling to inquire about a letter of inquiry, and six weeks after submission before inquiring about an application.

What are reporting requirements for grants?

For Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grantees awarded after June 1, 2015 with award amounts over $25,000, we ask that executive directors complete a Grantee Survey at the end of the grant term and engage in a close-out phone conversation with their Foundation program officer in lieu of a final report. For UOS grantees with grants of $25,000 and under, reporting consists on one final report.

For Capital or Special Opportunity Fund requests, we ask for progress reports during the grant and when the grant period ends as set by the program officer overseeing the grant. 

All reporting forms will be made available through the Foundation’s new grantmaking portal. Grantees will be notified when their forms are available to complete.