Communities for a Better Environment

News

April 2021 News

Message From Miguel A. Santana, President & C.E.O.: Reflection

I remember the first time I felt like an American. On my cross-country trip to New England to begin my graduate program, I stopped at Port Huron, Michigan at an address handwritten on the back of a black and white photograph of my paternal grandparents. In the 1920s it was the home of Victoria and José Santana. These two young immigrants from the central coast of Mexico settled in the furthest edge of the U.S.-Canadian border to pursue a better life. A decade later, they were forced to return to Mexico with their American daughters in the face of the anti-Mexican hostility that emerged at the onset of the Great Depression. Standing in front of this small wood-frame house, in a town built by steel mills that fed a burgeoning automobile industry, connected me to the American history that seemed to belong to someone else. To read Miguel’s full message, click here.  

Announcing the 2021 John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows

The Weingart Foundation is excited to announce the second cohort of the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows program, which is designed to strengthen the network of next-generation social justice and racial equity leaders in Southern California. The program seeks to build the region’s social movement infrastructure by supporting a robust network of leaders committed to realizing a long-term vision of justice and equity for all. Fourteen emerging leaders have been selected to engage in transformative leadership development training, peer learning and coaching over an 18-month period. Congratulations to our new cohort! Click here to view the list of 2021 Fellows.  

Los Angeles Must Commit to an Equitable Recovery

Over the next few years, all levels of government are expected to receive an unprecedented infusion of federal dollars that could total more than $3 billion between the county and city of Los Angeles. These funds present an historic opportunity to address our shared legacy of systemic racism by making direct investments into the communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. The Weingart Foundation calls on every institution—in the private sector, social sector, government and philanthropy—to dig deep and find ways to help create and fund the type of transformative change that is so urgently needed. Click here to read the recent op-ed.  

Private Equity Impact Investing for Supportive Housing

Philanthropy has helped house thousands of people experiencing homelessness using traditional funding methods. We at the Weingart Foundation believe, however, that our region simply cannot make meaningful progress in support of our unhoused neighbors without finding new ways to house more people faster and cheaper. In response to this need, the Foundation recently invested in the S.D.S. Capital Group’s Supportive Housing Fund (S.H.F.), a first-of-its-kind private-equity impact fund that finances new, financially-sustainable permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. Instead of drawing on limited public sector sources that take tremendous time and effort to secure, projects like S.H.F. rely on private-sector capital. This model enables S.D.S. to close on projects in 30-60 days, scaling development volume and velocity—with nearly all the units expected to cost less than half the cost for similar projects in Los Angeles. Click here for more information on the S.D.S. Supportive Housing Fund.