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Unrestricted Operating Support Grants

Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting and building the long-term capacity and effectiveness of nonprofits, collaboratives and coalitions that are working to advance racial, social and economic equity. The Foundation provides flexible, multi-year unrestricted support to carefully selected nonprofits that demonstrate the interest and ability to strengthen their organizational effectiveness and capacity. This includes nonprofits providing quality, essential services in the areas of health, education and human services, as well as those engaged in community organizing, advocacy, civic engagement and movement building.

Recognizing the importance of grassroots organizations, the Foundation is committed to supporting nonprofits at different budget sizes, levels of capacity, and infrastructure through our UOS program.

Guidelines: Successful UOS applicants shall meet the following criteria:

  • Work must be focused in one of the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura;

  • Mission, goals and programming address the critical needs of individuals and communities most impacted by racial, social and economic inequity due to their race, income level, gender, religion, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation or zip code;

  • Has an established track-record that can demonstrate positive impact and progress toward desired goals;

  • Operates as part of a larger ecosystem, engaging in meaningful partnerships, collaborations, coalitions, or networks to leverage resources and increase the impact of their work to advance shared community goals;

  • Programs, services and core activities are culturally and linguistically responsive to the needs of those served;

  • Meaningfully engages clients, constituents and individuals most impacted by inequities to inform the organization’s work and decision making;

  • Demonstrates a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in governance, staffing, organizational practices and collaborative relationships;

  • Evidences an ability to make progress in one or more of the following areas of organizational effectiveness:
    • Board governance and engagement
    • Financial operations and management
    • Fund development
    • Staff and infrastructure
    • Diversity and inclusion
    • Organizational strategy and adaptability
    • Executive leadership

  • Able to articulate how a UOS grant could have measurable impact on organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness.

The size of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant will generally range between $50,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on a number of factors including the budget size of the organization, and the specific needs and opportunities of each applicant.

Operating Reserves: On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the applicant organization, the Foundation may recommend restricting a portion of a UOS grant for the organization’s operating reserve. Operating reserve set-asides are typically recommended when an applicant is seeking to seed or build its reserve fund, and are usually conditional on the existence or creation of a board-approved organizational policy on the use and maintenance of the 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. For more information about operating reserves, please see this toolkit created by the Nonprofit Operating Reserves Initiative Workshop.

CLICK HERE to access the How to Apply page and begin a new UOS letter of inquiry.