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October 2013 News

Recent Posts from Fred Ali, President & CEO, and Belen Vargas, Vice President, Grant Operations

Unrestricted Core Support: Strengthening the Capacity of Our Nonprofit Sector
We are pleased to share a blog post by Fred Ali and Belen Vargas that appears on the Foundation Center’s Grantcraft website. The blog focuses on Weingart Foundation’s transition to core support grantmaking and highlights the importance of providing unrestricted funding to build and strengthen the infrastructure nonprofits need to deliver effective programs. Click here to read Fred and Belen’s blog post.

A Call to Action for Funders
Fred also recently sent a post to a listserve for funders who are members of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO). The post addresses the importance of funding the full cost of nonprofits’ work, and philanthropy’s role in confronting the “overhead myth.” Weingart Foundation will be working with Southern California Grantmakers to bring local nonprofits and funders together later this year to engage in this important conversation. Click here to read Fred’s post.

2013 Annual Report

We are pleased to share the Weingart Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report.  The report includes an overview of the Foundation’s grantmaking activity in 2013 and a summary of our financial position and performance over the past two fiscal years. Click here to view the full Annual Report; Click here to read the Chairman’s “Year in Review” Letter.

Small Grant Program: Our Year in Numbers

In fiscal year 2013, 151 grants were made totaling $2.29 million through our Small Grant Program (SGP), which focuses on organizations with budgets under $1 million. The SGP strives to support the development of community-based, grassroots agencies that work in highly underserved communities and provide them with access to larger foundation dollars. Over the past few years (2009-2012), fully a third of SGP grantees have subsequently secured a larger grant through our Regular Grant Program -- an encouraging sign that the SGP is meeting its goals.

Notably, in reviewing our grantmaking statistics from this past fiscal year, the SGP appears to be increasingly focused on its core strategy of supporting small organizations that serve low-income communities. This past year, nearly half of our SGP grantees had operating budgets under $350,000, and 100% of those grant dollars went to groups that work with low-income communities. The SGP also continued to serve as an access point for those organizations that previously have not received Weingart Foundation support, with more than a third of SGP dollars going to first-time grantees. Finally, although our applicant volume is still high, demand has stabilized allowing us to make slightly larger awards to reach a grant average of $15,000.

Click here to read the full Report about SGP grantmaking in FY2013.

Partnering with the Center for Effective Philanthropy

Weingart Foundation is partnering with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to create grantee and applicant perception surveys and reports addressing key elements of Foundation performance. CEP is a nonprofit organization focusing on developing and providing data to help improve funder performance and impact. As a part of this process, over 700 current Weingart Foundation grantees and recent applicants were invited to participate in a confidential online perception survey customized for Weingart Foundation by CEP. We know how valuable your time is and greatly appreciate all of the nonprofits that participated in this important survey.

As articulated in our Communications Strategy and our FY2014 Grant Plan, Weingart Foundation believes funders are most effective when they solicit and incorporate feedback from their grantees and applicants into their grantmaking. Additionally, as a responsive foundation and a learning organization, listening to our grantees and applicants is a central element of our grant strategy development and providing mechanisms for honest feedback is crucial to our work.

The Foundation has a long history of listening to and communicating with our local nonprofit sector through listening tours, anonymous feedback links, and grantee/applicant perception surveys. However, as the Foundation’s work continues to grow and evolve, we felt it was time to expand to a more robust perception survey and report tool. Partnering with CEP provides access to a core survey of well-tested questions via an online system for grantees and applicants. CEP’s Grantee and Applicant Perception Reports also provide the Foundation with the ability to analyze sub-groups of results using the latest online survey methodology – providing benchmarking and comparative data from more than 250 funders and 40,000+ grantees in their database.

We look forward to sharing highlights from the Perception Reports when they become available in early 2014.