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WEINGART FOUNDATION FY 2017 PROGRAM PLAN:
A FULL COMMITMENT TO EQUITY

Introduction: Message from the Chairman and the President

Throughout our careers, we have been struck by the fact that life in our society is simply not fair. We do not all have the same access to the resources necessary to meet our basic needs or to opportunities to realize our dreams.

Southern California is a place practically built on hopes and dreams. Our region has long offered the promise of education, jobs, homes, and healthy lifestyles. Like our founder, Ben Weingart, people seeking opportunity have journeyed here—from across the country and around the world—full of hope for something better for their families and their future.

But far too many who saw Southern California as a place of opportunity have been disappointed. Across the region, people are struggling daily for the things some take for granted—safe streets, good jobs, access to health care, affordable housing, and a quality education for our families.

For 65 years, the Weingart Foundation has focused on serving the underserved by supporting nonprofit organizations fighting poverty and expanding opportunity for the Southern California communities that face the most obstacles. Our core values of listening to, and learning from, grantees and communities have always guided us—leading the Foundation, for example, to make a significant shift to focus on unrestricted grantmaking nearly 10 years ago.

But despite our best efforts, and the good work of others, the reality is that conditions in much of our region, and for so many people, are getting worse.

In our listening sessions, we hear from nonprofits and community members who daily experience disparities that are deepening and widening. We are told that our safety net is eroding, and that Southern California is increasingly divided into separate and unequal places. A child in Newport Beach will likely live 10 years longer than a child in Watts.

We are also hearing from grantees that lasting change will require a collective and longterm focus that addresses the underlying circumstances that create and perpetuate inequity, the root of so many of our most intractable problems.

This is why the Weingart Foundation is making a full commitment to equity—a long-term commitment to base all of our policy and program decisions on achieving the goal to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all Southern Californians—especially those communities hit hardest by persistent poverty.

We are not alone in this commitment, and we are encouraged by our colleagues and peers who have been leading a conversation to advance equity in philanthropy. We respectfully add our voice, leadership, and resources to one of the most critical issues of our time.

We recognize that inequity stems from the historic, long-term barriers to rights and opportunities endured by low-income communities, including those Southern Californians whose skin color, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code has prevented them from realizing the dignities and liberties all people deserve. We have a responsibility to invest in the communities that have been excluded and under-resourced, so they can realize their full potential. It’s a matter of justice.

For us, equity means expanding opportunity by correcting the imbalances we see across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines in our education, health, human service, economic, and criminal justice systems.

To advance equity requires an examination of privilege, including the power dynamics between funders and nonprofits. Our full commitment to equity will also require the Foundation to constantly examine our own internal policies, practices, and culture with regard to equity and inclusion.

This is complex work, and the Weingart Foundation does not have all the answers. Nor are these issues going to be solved overnight. But we have a plan for how to begin and are committed to learning from, and partnering with, nonprofits and the people who experience inequity first-hand. We are also committed to challenging ourselves to work with a sense of urgency and to take risks.

So what does this mean for our grantmaking?

Our commitment to equity is a logical extension of our history, as we’ve always prioritized supporting organizations that serve those in need. Now, we will deepen our efforts by identifying opportunities to make greater investments in those people and communities up against the most entrenched challenges. This will mean working with our nonprofit partners in new ways and experimenting with different strategies.

In FY 2017, we will focus all of our resources on organizations serving those low-income people and communities most impacted by inequity. We will make some significantly larger unrestricted grants in these communities; maintain and introduce new targeted initiatives; support systems and policy change; use program related investments to put more of our resources to work; and use our voice and convening power to lift the issue of equity and support collaboration.

It should be emphasized, however, that the Foundation remains as committed as ever to responsive grantmaking and to providing multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support grants. We continue to believe that effective nonprofits rooted in the communities they serve are the best agents for lasting change, and should lead the way in fighting inequity. By strengthening the nonprofit infrastructure within the communities we aim to uplift, we can change the dynamics of inequity and expand opportunities for generations to come.

This year’s Program Plan outlines our initial approach in detail over the following pages. 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.

As we begin this process, FY 2017 will be focused on learning. Over the course of the year, the Foundation will hold listening sessions with grantees and the people they serve so that we can hear directly what is needed most. We will work in concert with our nonprofit partners to determine the most meaningful indicators for change. We will culminate this year of listening with a convening to bring together grantees and their communities with some of the region’s leading thinkers so that we can all work together to advance a collective vision of equity.

While the challenges are great, we also think there is reason to be optimistic. In addition to social justice advocates, there is a growing number of civic and business leaders who recognize the scales of justice are tipped too far in one direction, creating the opportunity for effective and broadly supported action in which we can both lead and join with others. Our shared hopes for Southern California—and our shared future—rest on our ability to work together to create a region of inclusion and opportunity.


Fred Ali
President & CEO


Monica C. Lozano
Chairman of the Board



FISCAL YEAR 2017 PROGRAM PLAN

Starting in FY 20171, the Weingart Foundation will base all policy and program decisions on our commitment to advance social and economic equity across the Southern California communities in which we serve. This commitment will be realized through:

  • A robust network of nonprofits across Southern California that builds the personal and collective community power required to sustain long-term prosperity;
     
  • Stronger and more effective nonprofits led and staffed by people who are representative of the communities they serve;
     
  • More opportunities for nonprofit partners to leverage resources and increase partnerships with other funders, government entities, and other institutions;
     
  • Meaningful policy and systems change that lifts the communities who currently face the most obstacles to opportunity.


FY 2017 Program Plan Highlights

In FY 2017, the Weingart Foundation will:

  1. Aligned with our core value of learning, constantly challenge assumptions and expand understanding around the root causes and enduring solutions to inequity. This includes engaging nonprofits and community members in dialogue and partnership. It also includes the use of data to better understand disparities in outcomes and resources and identify areas of particular need;
     
  2. Increase our engagement with grantees around the importance of diversity and cultural competence as important indicators of organizational effectiveness;
     
  3. Significantly increase the level of Unrestricted Operating Support grants for organizations proposing to bring new or expanded services to low-income communities of color (p. 8-9);
     
  4. Limit support for Capital projects to those that will bring new or expanded services to under-resourced communities, and for which Weingart support is necessary for project completion (Note: We expect to begin accepting new Capital letters of inquiry in the second half of FY 2017.) (p. 10);
     
  5. Re-open our Small Grant Program as the Expanding Opportunity Fund, with a new focus on specific issue areas (p. 10-11);
     
  6. In addition to our existing grant budget, develop a Program Related Investment fund focused on support for programs and neighborhoods that are significantly under-resourced (p. 11-12);
     
  7. Increase funding to geographic priority areas where nonprofit human services are limited (p. 12-13);
     
  8. Maintain and introduce new targeted initiatives focused on advancing social and economic equity (p. 13-19); and
     
  9. Use our voice and convening power to address inequity (p. 20-21).


Foundation Mission

To build a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved.

In order to achieve this mission and advance equity, the Foundation will use a number of different strategies:

  • Provide grants and other support designed to improve the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations working in the areas of health, human services, and education for people and communities who currently face the most obstacles to opportunity.
     
  • Give highest priority to organizations working to provide greater access, resources, and opportunities in low-income communities, including for those whose race, gender, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code has prevented them from realizing the dignities and liberties all people deserve.
     
  • Through our responsive and initiative grantmaking, focus greater attention on critical issues that are associated with the growing imbalance of opportunity in Southern California, including: child welfare, immigrant integration, workforce development, re-entry, homelessness, youth development, and public education.
     
  • Exercise leadership on issues that strengthen and support the ability of nonprofit organizations to achieve their missions and desired outcomes. This includes advocating for programs, policies, and services that address the needs of communities most lacking in opportunity and access.


Core Values

  • Treat people with dignity and respect.
     
  • Base all policy decisions on our commitment to advance social and economic equity.
     
  • Address the needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities, particularly those whose race, gender, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code has prevented from realizing the dignities and liberties all people deserve.
     
  • Maintain a Board of Directors and staff that reflect the diversity of Southern California.
     
  • Respect and trust the work of our grantees.
     
  • Maintain responsive and flexible grantmaking.
     
  • Listen, assess, learn and improve.
     
  • Maintain openness to innovation and risk taking.
     
  • Use leverage and collaboration for greater impact.
     
  • Exercise leadership on issues of importance to the Foundation and our grantees.
     
  • Communicate with transparency.


Grantmaking Practice and Administration

The Weingart Foundation engages in a number of practices that help strengthen and support the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

  • The Foundation prioritizes multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support grants as its primary strategy for building organizational capacity and effectiveness.
     
  • We proactively engage in open conversations with applicants to determine the full cost of administering and delivering programs and services.
     
  • Whenever feasible, the Foundation looks for opportunities to leverage resources through collaboration with other private and public funders.
     
  • We strive to limit changes to our grant guidelines and reporting requirements in order to maintain consistency in approach and expectations with our grantees.
     
  • We strive to publish clear and complete grant guidelines and structure application and reporting requirements that are commensurate with the amount of funds to be granted.
     
  • We engage and listen to our grantees and applicants on a regular basis, using their feedback to continuously learn, refine and improve our grantmaking processes and practices.
     
  • The Foundation is also committed to focusing our resources on activities that produce results.
     
  • The Foundation will use our Learning and Assessment Framework to better understand and assess how our Unrestricted Operating Support program furthers the organizational effectiveness of our grantees.


FY 2017 Planning Assumptions

  • Underserved communities of color disproportionately bear the impact of social and economic inequity in Southern California.
     
  • Service gaps exist in the distribution of nonprofit and public resources available to low-income individuals and communities.
     
  • Many community-based organizations are unable to meet the continued and growing demand for services and programs serving low-income and underserved individuals and communities.
     
  • Continuing infrastructure challenges limit nonprofit effectiveness, including insufficient unrestricted funding, limited operating reserves, and the failure of government, as well as private funders to support the full cost of providing services.
     
  • Many organizations providing critical services in low-income communities are small and under resourced and struggle to build their capacity and infrastructure. There is a need to build the capacity of these organizations in order to address service inequities and strengthen civil society in the communities they serve.
     
  • There is a pressing need to focus greater attention on critical issues that are associated with the growing inequity and inequality of opportunity in Southern California, including: child welfare, immigrant integration, workforce development, re-entry, homelessness, youth development, and public education.
     
  • Foundation leadership is needed in two key areas: 1) to engage in and support policy and advocacy efforts resulting in meaningful systems change that increases fairness and inclusion today, and expands opportunities for those facing the most obstacles; and 2) to promote grantmaking policy and practice that supports and strengthens the nonprofit sector, especially in communities that currently have the most obstacles to opportunity.


GRANTMAKING PROGRAM AREAS AND GUIDELINES

The grantmaking program of the Foundation has been designed to improve the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations working in the areas of health, human services, and education for people and communities facing the most obstacles to opportunity.

Unrestricted Operating Support Grants

Our Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grant program is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting nonprofit organizations. We provide flexible, multi-year unrestricted funding to help strengthen the capacity and infrastructure of our grantees and support their strategic organizational goals and priorities.

Through research and consultation with our grantees, we have identified the following key capacities that together are critical to organizations becoming stronger and more effective. Our UOS program provides grantees with the opportunity to build and assess these organizational capacities, recognizing that nonprofits are at different stages in their development:

  • Strong leadership and management;
     
  • A qualified, engaged and supportive board of directors;
     
  • Effective financial management;
     
  • A funding model that supports the organization’s infrastructure and core programs, which includes an appropriate level of cash reserves to sustain the organization;
     
  • A well-trained and supported staff;
     
  • A process to solicit and utilize client/constituent feedback;
     
  • A board of directors and staff that reflect the diversity of people and key interests of the communities served;
     
  • Programs and services that are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of its clients/constituents;
     
  • An effective strategy to accomplish the organization’s mission that results in positive and desired outcomes;
     
  • The capacity to measure and communicate impact and learn from results;
     
  • The ability to identify and adapt to internal and external changes.
     

In FY 2017:

  • A minimum of 60% of our funding will be allocated to the UOS program.
     
  • UOS grants (with the exception of Small grants) will generally range between $75,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on factors including the budget size of the organization, and the specific needs and opportunities facing each applicant.
     
  • Aligned with the Foundation’s 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 high need, under-resourced communities.
     

In addition to meeting normal guidelines and screening requirements, applicants  for UOS grants will also be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Operate quality programs that provide greater access, resources and opportunities to low-income individuals and under-resourced communities;
     
  • Have developed specific and realistic short- and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs;
     
  • Demonstrate how an UOS grant could have a measurable impact on organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness;
     
  • As appropriate, provide the opportunity to build upon prior Weingart Foundation grants.
     

Operating Reserves: On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the grantee, Foundation program officers may recommend restricting a portion of a UOS grant for a grantee’s operating reserve. When appropriate, the Foundation will consider adding a condition on the reserve portion of the grant requiring a one-to-one match from the agency’s board or a one-to-one match from other private sources, in order to encourage board engagement or additional private support.

Capital Grants

Our Capital program is aligned with the Foundation’s commitment to equity. For this reason, the Foundation will only consider grant requests that:

  • Will bring new or expanded services to designated Geographic Areas of Focus or in other under-resourced communities; and
     
  • Where project completion is unlikely without Weingart Foundation support. 

Capital grant requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with our Board at the LOI stage before being invited to submit a full application, given the competitiveness of the program.

Expanding Opportunity Fund (formerly the Small Grant Program)
All Foundation requests of $25,000 and under, prioritizing organizations with operating budgets under $1 million.

The Foundation’s Small Grant Program has always been in strong alignment with our commitment to advance social and economic equity. Effective FY 2017, the program will be renamed the Expanding Opportunity Fund (EOF) and have a new targeted approach (explained below) to focus on supporting people and communities currently facing significant obstacles to opportunity. All EOF grants will continue to be for Unrestricted Operating Support.

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.
       

Program Related Investments

The Foundation is in the process of developing a revolving Program Related Investment (PRI) Fund to augment grant distributions.

  • The Fund will support a limited number of PRI’s that will be restricted to belowmarket loans with an interest rate that is lower than prevailing market rates for loans of similar duration, credit quality, and risk.
     
  • The Fund will provide the Foundation with the flexibility to extend the impact and scale of our normal grantmaking in designated Geographic Areas of Focus and in other communities that are under-resourced.
     

Geographic Areas of Focus

The Weingart Foundation supports nonprofit organizations delivering quality services in the areas of health, human services, and education for low-income individuals and underresourced communities facing the most obstacles to opportunity in the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

In addition, we have identified the following three communities in the greater Los Angeles region as areas of designated focus: Southeast Los Angeles County; Watts and Willowbrook, and the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone. In FY 2016, the Foundation spent time learning about the opportunities and challenges facing these three under-resourced geographic areas where our grantmaking had not been as significant as the Foundation would like. The Foundation’s goal is to identify opportunities to strengthen the capacity and availability of nonprofit resources in these areas. All of the program strategies outlined in this Plan, including UOS, Capital, the Expanding Opportunity Fund (formerly the Small Grant Program), and program related investments will be prioritized for potential use in these areas.

While our strategies in the geographic areas listed below will take some time to develop, our initial approach in these communities include:

  • The Southeast Los Angeles County cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon, and Walnut Park;
    • The Southeast cities rank second to last in Los Angeles County in terms of human development, which is based on life expectancy, educational attainment, and earnings4. Therefore, the Foundation will look for ways to develop nonprofit infrastructure and capacity in these cities in order to bring much needed resources to this community and its residents.
       
    • Engage a community-based intermediary or collaborative with community organizing and capacity building experience to serve as a convener of different stakeholders in these communities; and
       
    • Through community engagement, identify opportunities for building nonprofit capacity and infrastructure, and for creating new or expanded services.
       
  • The Watts and Willowbrook area;
    • The opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital provides an opportunity to bring critically needed economic and health benefits into the Watts and Willowbrook community. As such, the Foundation will continue to support the development of the MLK Hospital and campus and Charles R. Drew University. In addition, the Foundation will look for opportunities to strengthen the capacity and services of collaborating nonprofits in the Watts and Willowbrook area.
       
    • Engage a community-based intermediary or collaborative with community and capacity building experience to serve as convener of different stakeholders in these communities; and
       
    • Through community engagement, identify opportunities for building nonprofit capacity and infrastructure, and for creating new or expanded services.
       
  • The South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z) that incorporates parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods.
    • The new federal Promise Zone designation provides SLATE-Z communities with priority access to certain federal funding opportunities, which bring the promise of greater resources to these communities.
       
    • The Foundation will work with SLATE-Z leadership to identify opportunities to build the capacity of coalition partners in support of SLATE-Z’s new Promise Zone designation. The Promise Zone provides the Weingart Foundation and other funders an opportunity to align efforts, increasing access to both public and private dollars.
       

Foundation Initiatives

Through our listening, learning, and planning process, we have identified the following initiatives designed to address important issues aligned with the mission and emerging equity focus of the Foundation. Our initiatives are categorized as those focused on directly addressing inequity in communities, and those focused on building nonprofit organizational capacity.

We have identified specific strategies in each of these initiative areas, and grant funding for these initiatives is largely by invitation only (with the exception of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative). At the same time, we are also open to other opportunities that address our initiative goals. Nonprofits with a project that they believe addresses one of our initiative areas are strongly encouraged to have a conversation with one of our program officers before submitting an application.

Foundation Initiatives Focused on Advancing Social and Economic Equity

Child Welfare

Goal: To improve the welfare and safety of children under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County.

Strategy: The Foundation will support the following strategies aimed at improving the welfare of children in Los Angeles’ foster care system. Priority will be given to projects that work to increase the number of foster homes through better coordinated retention and recruitment and referral efforts, as well as prevention efforts that reduce the overall incidence of child abuse and neglect.

  1. Maintain support for and coordinate with the Director of the Center for Strategic Public-Private Partnerships within the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection to identify opportunities to make system changes that improve the welfare and safety of children under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County.
     
  2. Support to increase the number of foster homes through better coordinated retention, recruitment, and referral efforts.
     
  3. Support for a child abuse and prevention model project.
     
  4. Support for nonprofit and funder collaboratives and projects designed to improve outcomes for youth in foster care and other County systems, including probation.
     

Projected Results:

  • Increased coordination between philanthropy and County entities engaged in child welfare resulting in the targeted investment of private funds to improve County systems.
     
  • An increase in the number of foster homes through better coordinated recruitment and referral efforts of new foster parents and improved retention of current foster homes.
     
  • Funding of one or more exemplary and replicable prevention projects.
     
  • Leveraging of Weingart Foundation dollars through participation in existing effective funder and nonprofit collaboratives.
     

Immigrant Integration

Goal: To provide funding for a broad range of immigrant integration activities and organizational development efforts in support of Southern California’s diverse low-income immigrant communities, including Latinos, Asian Pacific Islanders, AMEMSA groups5, and those from Africa.

Strategy:

  1. Maintain support of the Orange County Opportunity Fund, a pooled fund led by the Orange County Community Foundation supporting immigrant integration activities in Orange County.
     
  2. Implement an Expanding Opportunity Fund - Immigrant Integration Initiative in the Inland Region to strengthen the capacity of small nonprofits engaged in immigrant rights and immigrant integration work in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The application deadline for this invitation-only Request for Proposals was in May 2016, and grant decisions were announced at the end of July 2016.
     
  3. Continued support to organizations engaged in a broad range of immigrant integration strategies, with a particular focus in underserved immigrant communities. Strategies and activities include: DACA enrollment; driver’s licenses; health care enrollment; workforce development and workplace rights; citizenship and naturalization; civic participation; literacy and English as a Second Language programs; detention and deportation support; and community organizing and advocacy efforts.
     
  4. Continued support to organizations working with unaccompanied children and their families through a pooled fund administered by the California Community Foundation.
     
  5. Monitoring and stewardship of the Foundation’s existing investment in a pooled fund supporting Administrative Relief and immigrant integration activities, specific to Los Angeles County.
     

Projected Results:

  • Increased support to diverse and underserved immigrant communities for a broad range of integration and rights services and activities, including: DACA enrollment; driver’s licenses; health care enrollment; workforce development and workplace rights; citizenship and naturalization; civic participation; literacy and English as a Second Language programs; detention and deportation support; and community organizing and advocacy efforts.
     
  • Key nonprofits working with low-income immigrant communities will be able to sustain themselves organizationally while responding to significant program demands.
     

Supportive Housing for the Homeless

Goal: To provide funding to efficiently and effectively support permanent supportive housing for homeless people in Los Angeles County.

Strategy:

  1. Maintain support for one-time move-in costs needed to house chronically homeless patients of the Department of Health Services (DHS) in supportive housing in Los Angeles County.
     
  2. Continue to support the Home for Good Funders Collaborative in Los Angeles to provide: comprehensive support services for homeless individuals placed in permanent housing; enhancements to the Coordinated Entry System; and capacity building for nonprofit housing developers.
     
  3. Continue support to increase production of supportive housing in the City of Los Angeles through a PRI to the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Supportive Housing Loan Fund.
     

This investment will enable the Corporation for Supportive Housing to expand its acquisition and predevelopment loan fund. There are coinciding efforts to build the capacity of nonprofit housing developers to increase their housing production and advocate for streamlining the City’s planning and permitting approval process to accelerate the production of these units.

Projected Results:

  • Annually, approximately 750 long-term homeless DHS patients will be placed in supportive housing with move-in assistance funding.
     
  • Approximately $24 million in public health savings over a one-year period.
     
  • A continuation through the Funders Collaborative of coordinated planning, service delivery, advocacy, and resource development for permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
     
  • A minimum of 3,000 homeless individuals will be permanently housed with supportive services in Los Angeles County.
     
  • Increase the production of permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals in the City of Los Angeles from 300 to 1,000 units each year over a 10-year period.
     
  • Provide capacity building support to up to 10 nonprofit housing developers.
     

Vulnerable and At-Risk Youth – PropelNext California Initiative

Goal: To help organizations serving Southern California’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth strengthen their program models and incorporate the use of data and evaluation for ongoing learning and improvement to attain better outcomes for the youth they serve.

Strategy: Maintain support of the California PropelNext capacity building initiative, a three year funder collaborative6 that aims to improve the outcomes of at-risk youth. The initiative is working with a cohort of 15 California youth-serving nonprofit organizations (six in Southern California) to develop the mastery to use and apply data for ongoing learning and improvement. This initiative is currently in its second year of operation.

PropelNext integrates the following five strategies: unrestricted, grants, group learning sessions, individualized coaching, performance management, and the building of a peer network.

Projected Results: Upon completion of the PropelNext program,

  • Grantees will have enhanced their program models, implemented strong performance management systems, and developed organizational cultures that practice ongoing learning and evaluation;
     
  • Grantees will be able to set strategic priorities informed by data and improved decision-making, and use evidence to increase support for their work; and
     
  • Life prospects of the youth served by grantees will be improved by the development of even smarter and stronger organizations through PropelNext.
     

A formal evaluation of the PropelNext California Partnership will be conducted and final results will be shared publically.

Foundation Initiatives Focused on Strengthening Organizational Capacity

Full Cost Recovery for Nonprofit Organizations

Goal: To strengthen nonprofit capacity and organizational effectiveness by advocating for full cost funding7 from philanthropy and government.

Strategy:

  1. Continue to build the skills of nonprofit organizations to better understand, calculate and advocate for full cost recovery from both private and public funders.

    Through Unrestricted Operating Support funding provided by the Weingart Foundation and other funders, the California Association of Nonprofits will continue to bring together nonprofits across the State through convenings, inperson trainings, and webinars, build out an online toolkit with resources on how to account for overhead, manage indirect cost rates, and be effective advocates on the issue of overhead and full cost recovery.
     
  2. Combine education, advocacy, and skills-building to encourage private foundations to support the full costs of project grants through their policies and practices.

    A primary activity related to the above two strategies is the Nonprofit Finance Fund-California Community Foundation-Weingart Foundation Pilot, which brought together program officers from the Weingart Foundation and California Community Foundation with 12 grantees to learn how to calculate full cost funding and how to engage in an honest conversation in order to advocate and support full cost funding. The goal of this project is to provide funders and nonprofit organizations with guidance and resources on how to incorporate full cost discussions and funding into funder/grantee relationships.
     
  3. In collaboration with other funders, grant support to Southern California Grantmakers to manage a project to ensure that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance8 is fully and properly implemented at the statewide level.
     
  4. In conjunction with the California Association of Nonprofits, the Weingart Foundation will continue to advise the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles on the implementation of the OMB Uniform Guidance.
     

Projected Results:

  • Achieve full and proper implementation of the new OMB rules at the State level and at the City and County levels in Los Angeles.
     
  • Increase the number of private funders implementing changes to their policies and practice in support of full cost funding.
     
  • Strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations by increasing support for the full costs of their work.
     
  • Build the skills of individual foundation staff to implement policies and practices in support of full cost funding.
     
  • Build the skills and capacity of the nonprofit sector in calculating and advocating for full cost recovery.
     
  • Establish the groundwork for larger change and reform around nonprofit government contracting.
     
  • Be a leader and example for other States on the issue of supporting full costs by both public and private funders.
     

Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

Goal: Strengthen organizational effectiveness and efficiency by supporting nonprofits interested in exploring and implementing formal and long-term strategic partnerships.

Strategy: The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) is a funder collaborative of 12 foundations that was launched in 2012 and supports the cost of consultant-led facilitation of strategic restructuring negotiations between two or more organizations. Funding is also available for one-time implementation and integration costs after the completion of negotiations. The Weingart Foundation is a managing funder for NSI, along with the California Community Foundation and The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.

To date, the NSI has supported 94 nonprofits engaged in 36 partnership negotiations resulting in nine completed collaborations and five mergers, with 15 negotiations still in process.

To learn more, or to apply for an NSI grant, please go to the California Community Foundation website.

Projected Results:

  • Support at least 25 more restructuring negotiations involving at least 50 nonprofits and at least 10 more integration requests from nonprofit partnerships completing agreements through the NSI process.
     
  • Hold annual convenings of NSI participants and semi-annual funder briefings to share real-time learnings, evaluation results and best practices.
     
  • Bring together at least 12 Los Angeles-based consultants who have experience negotiating nonprofit restructuring agreements to share of best practices and lessons.
     

LEADERSHIP IN THE NONPROFIT AND PHILANTHROPIC SECTORS

The Foundation will exercise leadership on issues that advance social and economic equity and strengthen and support the ability of nonprofit organizations to achieve their missions and desired outcomes.

Advancing Equity

  • Engage nonprofits, community members and public officials in dialogue and partnership to continue to learn and hear directly what is needed most.
     
  • Use our voice and convening power to address social and economic inequities that continue to make Southern California more divided and disparate.
     
  • Engage in and support policy and advocacy that will result in meaningful policy and systems change that will advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for those most impacted by persistent poverty.
     
  • Advocate for support of programs, policies, and services that support the needs of individuals and communities facing the greatest obstacles, including support of advocacy and community organizing.
     
  • Sponsor a convening in the spring 2017 to bring grantees and their communities together with some of the region’s leading thinkers in order co-create a shared vision of equity and begin to advance that vision.
     
  • Use data to better understand disparities in outcomes and resources and identify areas of particular need.
     

Organizational Effectiveness

  • Participate in and provide support for activities of field-building organizations working to improve nonprofit and philanthropic effectiveness. This would include the Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy, Southern California Grantmakers, California Nonprofit Association, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.
     
  • Support efforts to change and improve government and private funder practices that limit nonprofit organizational effectiveness. This includes:
    • Advocating for the wider adoption of unrestricted funding and full cost funding approaches;
       
    • Encouraging public and private funders to engage in open and transparent conversations and create policies and practices that support full cost funding for nonprofit organizations;
       
    • Improving nonprofit government contracting practices and policies;
       
    • Continuing to build public and private partnerships that leverage impact and support broader systems change; and
       
    • Making grant application and reporting processes commensurate to the size of the grant.
       
  • Encourage funders to adopt ongoing and transparent communication practices with applicants and grantees, including a process to obtain nonprofit feedback to help inform funder’s grantmaking programs and strategies.

LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT

The Weingart Foundation has always held learning as a core organizational value. In FY 2014, our Board of Directors approved a new Learning and Assessment Framework designed to comprehensively assess how the Foundation’s Unrestricted Operating Support furthers the organizational effectiveness of our grantees. The development and implementation of this new framework further solidifies our practice in the area of learning.

In FY 2016, the Weingart Foundation began full implementation of our Learning and Assessment framework. This has involved expanding our grantmaking practice to incorporate new Program Officer Assessment and Grantee Survey tools that systematically capture data related to our grantees’ organizational effectiveness. This first year of implementation has included significant engagement of Foundation staff and grantees to fine-tune the system and ensure it is operating as anticipated.

In the coming year, the Foundation will focus on further building the technical capacity and internal processes necessary to effectively store, track and make use of the grantee data that is now being collected. We will also conduct an analysis of the baseline data gathered during FY 2016 to identify any early learning that can further inform our grantmaking and planning. Finally, the Foundation will explore ways to assess program effectiveness measures into our Learning and Assessment framework to complement our learning and grow understanding about the impact of our grantmaking on organizational effectiveness.

Program Learning

In addition to ongoing implementation of our Learning and Assessment framework during FY2017, the Foundation will continue to engage in the following learning activities:

  • As part of the Foundation’s ongoing planning process and our goal to build out an equity agenda with our grantees, we will conduct listening sessions and explore approaches to engage the nonprofit sector and key stakeholders. This will allow us to identify challenges and opportunities, review planning assumptions, obtain feedback on our current programs and practices and receive recommendations to inform our future work and direction.
     
  • Additional opportunities will be explored to continue convening grantees and funders to discuss issues of importance to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, including the importance of diversity and cultural competence as important indicators of organizational effectiveness.
     
  • The Foundation will conduct its next Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey through the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) in spring of 2017. This timing will enable our applicants and grantees to assess refinements to our grantmaking process, including the new Learning and Assessment system. This perception information is very important for planning purposes and for continued improvement of our policies and practices.
     
  • Through a unique opportunity offered through TCC Group and the Ford Foundation, we will complete the new Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool (FCCAT). This tool is an assessment measure to help foundations understand their institutional capacity strengths and challenges, and our participation will provide us with a customized report describing results to enable learning and action. We will also have access to early insight into field-wide trends and findings regarding foundation capacity.
     
  • The Foundation will also conduct special assessments to better understand the impact of our grantmaking in such areas as the Full Cost and Immigrant Integration initiatives. These studies will engage outside consultants where appropriate to facilitate evaluation activities and/or will glean from grantees’ existing evaluation activities to supplement our learning in these areas.


COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

Goals

In keeping with the mission and values of the Weingart Foundation, the overarching goal of the Foundation’s communications is to provide information and transparency regarding our grantmaking to the nonprofit community. The Foundation’s primary objective is to enable our grantee community (current and potential grantees) to become more knowledgeable about the work and guidelines of the Foundation, as well as to improve their overall effectiveness. In all cases, the primary focus of our communications is on the needs and programs of our grantees.

Secondarily, the Foundation’s goal is to communicate with the greater philanthropic community and other interested parties regarding lessons learned in our grantmaking practices. As a learning organization, the Foundation seeks to share information and promote collaboration with funding colleagues including other foundations, individual philanthropists and public funding sources, especially as it relates to advancing equity.

Strategy

The Foundation believes that funders are most effective when they solicit and incorporate feedback from their grantees and applicants into their grantmaking. For this reason, we are committed to thoughtful and transparent communications with grantees.

The Foundation’s website serves as a critical resource for individuals to learn about the Weingart Foundation, including who we are and what we do. As such, the website is the cornerstone of our communications efforts. We strive to maintain clear and easily accessible information regarding: the Foundation’s mission, goals, and values; our grantmaking practice, priorities and guidelines; the process for applying and how to contact us. The website is also growing as a venue for grantees and the philanthropic community to access information on the field. Additionally, the website is a vehicle for ongoing two-way communications providing individuals with the ability to provide anonymous feedback through a link on our homepage.

In addition to the website and the grantmaking process, the Foundation proactively engages grantees and the larger nonprofit and philanthropic communities in direct communication. We conduct regular “listening tours” in the grantee community, sponsor, attend, or present at special funder and nonprofit convenings, and communicate with key philanthropic and civic thought leaders. Periodically, we organize grantee conference calls and webinars on areas and issues that are of importance to the grantee community.

In all of our communications, we are committed to maintaining high-quality interactions, clarity of messages and a strong commitment to responsiveness.

FY 2017 Areas of Focus

In alignment with the FY 2017 Program Plan, the Foundation’s FY 2017 Communications Strategy will prioritize:

  • Announcing and soliciting feedback on our full commitment to equity.
     
  • Targeted outreach to nonprofits in specific geographic or issue-focused areas of interest.
     
  • Advocating for grantmaking policy and practice that supports and strengthens the nonprofit sector, especially in communities that are under-resourced.
     
  • Advocating for policies and practices that will result in meaningful policy and systems change to advance equity and increase services to those who are currently underserved.
     
  • The importance of Unrestricted Operating Support in strengthening organizational capacity and effectiveness.
     
  • The need for public and private funders to support full cost funding for program grants and contracts.
     
  • The need to increase support for nonprofit capacity building activities.
     
  • Continuing to solicit feedback related to the Foundation’s Learning and Assessment Framework.
     
  • Sharing information and results on the Foundation’s Initiatives.
     
  • Sharing resources that support nonprofits’ efforts to increase the capacity and effectiveness of their organizations.
     
  • Continued engagement and feedback from applicants and grantees to continuously learn, refine and improve our grantmaking practice and refine our grantmaking strategies.

The Foundation may explore opportunities to place articles in the nonprofit and philanthropic trade press on issues of importance to the Weingart Foundation and the local nonprofit/philanthropic sector. Whenever possible, the Foundation will use stories and examples from our grantee community to illustrate our work.


CONCLUSION

The FY 2017 Program Plan marks an important moment for the Weingart Foundation, as we make a long term commitment to advancing equity through all that we do. We will continue to listen and learn from grantees and communities, and our strategies will continue to evolve over time. Therefore, this Program Plan is intended as a guide and may be adjusted throughout the year.

We welcome and encourage your feedback on this Plan. What are your thoughts and questions regarding our focused commitment to advancing social and economic equity? What is your reaction to our initial strategies—are we missing anything? Do you have any concerns you would like to share with us? Please click here to comment.



1July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017

2The Southeast community includes the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon and Walnut Park.

3SLATE-Z is a partnership of over 50 public, private, and community-based organizations dedicated to moving residents to economic opportunity. In June 2016, SLATE Z was designated as a federal Promise Zone.

4Burd-Sharps, Sarah and Lewis, Kristen. Los Angeles Metro Area Close-Up, a companion to A Portrait of California 2014-2015, California Human Development Report

5Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian

6Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Sobrato Family Foundation and the Weingart Foundation.

7Full costs include day-to-day operating expenses (both program and overhead expenses) plus a range of balance sheet costs for short-term and long-term needs. (Day-to-day operating expenses + working capital + reserves + fixed asset additions + debt principal repayment). Nonprofit Finance Fund definition, April 2016.

8New OMB guidelines took effect December 26, 2014 requiring that grants and contracts from all federal agencies and pass-through entities reimburse a nonprofit’s indirect costs by applying that nonprofit’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate, if one exists, or apply a default rate of 10% of total costs.