We server the underserved

Piloting a New UOS Letter of Inquiry
and Application Process

We understand the considerable time commitment involved in completing a grant request. Knowing your time is valuable, we strive to minimize the burden on applicants and only ask for information necessary for our decision-making. In an effort to further streamline our process, the Weingart Foundation is now piloting a new Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) letter of inquiry (LOI) and application process using information available through GuideStar (which recently joined forces with Foundation Center to become Candid). We will gather feedback from participants to evaluate the pilot and determine next steps.

Participation in this pilot is completely optional and will have no impact on the outcome of your request or the time it will take for the Foundation to review your LOI. Participation is open to any applicant that is interested.

Goals

Through this pilot, the Foundation aims to identify and promote potential benefits for applicants, including:

  • Increasing the visibility and transparency of nonprofit organizations on GuideStar for potential donors and funders;
  • Saving time on the grant application process by utilizing information readily available on GuideStar; and
  • Encouraging other funders to utilize GuideStar in a similar fashion (akin to a common grant application).

Process

The pilot LOI/application process will run throughout 2019. During this time, the Foundation will continue to accept letters of inquiry on a rolling basis through either the existing LOI process or the pilot process. There are no deadlines for submitting a letter of inquiry. If you are interested in participating in this pilot, the following steps are required:

1. Review the Weingart Foundation’s Grant Guidelines to assess if your organization is a fit for funding.

To assist applicants with updating their GuideStar profile and navigating our Grant Portal (steps 2 and 3), the Foundation and GuideStar will be co-hosting OPTIONAL online and in-person GuideStar Nonprofit Profile trainings. Attendance at one of these trainings is not required to participate in the pilot. The trainings will be offered quarterly throughout Southern California (dates, times, and locations TBD). The next training is scheduled for May 15, 2019 in Riverside. To register, click here.

2. Update your free GuideStar Nonprofit Profile* at the Gold Seal of Transparency level (takes approximately three to six hours to complete). Complete the following “Other Sections” in your GuideStar profile:

  • Board Leadership Practices
  • Demographics of Your Organization

NOTE: If you are a fiscally sponsored organization or an organization applying on behalf of a collaborative or group of partner nonprofits, you will be unable to participate in the pilot LOI/application process because you must have your own Employer Identification Number to link to your GuideStar Profile. Please visit our How to Apply page and follow the instructions for submitting an LOI through our current process.

If you are unable to attend a workshop, GuideStar has created a series of video tutorials that can assist you with how to:

  1. Claim your profile;
  2. Begin updates/navigate around the profile;
  3. Earn a Seal of Transparency.

3. Go to the Weingart Foundation’s online Grant Portal to complete and submit the “UOS Pilot Letter of Inquiry.” This LOI will have several additional questions specific to the Foundation’s criteria for funding.

4. After applying, applicants will be asked to take a survey to help us assess how long the process took for nonprofits and if they found it to be of value.

Applicants that meet the Foundation’s baseline criteria as outlined in our Grant Guidelines will advance to the next level of review, which includes a few additional application questions and a conversation or in-person site visit with a program officer.

Not Interested?

Participation in this pilot is completely optional. Applicants that are not interested in participating in the pilot can continue to submit a request through our existing LOI process. To do so, visit our How to Apply page and follow the instructions.

Participation or non-participation in the pilot will not impact the outcome of your request or the estimated time it takes for the Foundation to review your letter of inquiry, which is typically two to four weeks from the time of submission. If an applicant advances to the next level of review, the process usually takes an additional three to six months before a final funding decision is made.

How to Apply

If you’ve decided to apply using our new pilot process, please start by reviewing our Grant Guidelines to see whether your organization is a fit for funding.

You should then complete your Guidestar Nonprofit Profile at the Gold Seal of Transparency level—if your organization doesn’t already have one. You will also need to complete two additional “Other Sections:”

  • Board Leadership Practices
  • Demographics of Your Organization

This process should take approximately three to six hours to finish.

NOTE: If you are a fiscally sponsored organization or an organization applying on behalf of a collaborative or group of partner nonprofits, you will be unable to participate in the pilot LOI/application process because you must have your own Employer Identification Number to link to your GuideStar Profile. Please visit our How to Apply page and follow the instructions for submitting an LOI through our current process.

Finally, go to the Weingart Foundation’s online Grant Portal to answer a few additional questions. You’ll need to create a user account if you don’t already have one. Once you’re in the portal, select “UOS Pilot Letter of Inquiry.” Don’t forget to submit your LOI once it’s done. You will hear back from the Foundation about your request within two to four weeks.