Message from Miguel A. Santana, President and C.E.O.

January 27, 2023

We are mourning the tragic loss of life during recurrent mass shootings in our country. Today, we grieve with the communities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. Our sincere condolence goes out to all the families that lost loved ones during these senseless tragedies and our thoughts are with all those affected.

During difficult times, we turn to community for healing and strength. We are grateful to be inspired each and every day by our community partners and their tremendous effort to provide critical services, build community power, and transform unjust systems. We invite you to learn more about our partners by reading about our latest round of funding.

Investing in the Next Generation of Leaders

Young people today are leading the way in building a just and equitable future. We recently wrapped up the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative, a collaborative effort with partner funders aimed at strengthening the ability of our community partners to lead youth organizing programs and establishing a peer learning community. Check out what we’ve learned and watch this video recap of the initiative: Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative Recap.

In step with our commitment to investing in future leaders, we’re proud to share that the applications for the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows Program are now open. Named after the late civil rights leader and former Weingart Foundation Board Member, the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows program aims to strengthen and develop current and emerging movement leaders to lead social and racial justice work that results in a more just and equitable Southern California region. Learn about eligibility and how to apply here. The deadline to apply is March 10, 2023.

Looking ahead at the year before us, we look forward to continue to advance our mission of racial justice working hand in hand with our community partners. Their unwavering commitment to community brings us hope.

Sincerely,

Miguel A. Santana
President & C.E.O.

Update from The Weingart Foundation December 2022

New Leadership Brings New Opportunities

Through our support of the Committee for Greater L.A. and their research on homelessness, we know that bringing bold solutions that address the issue is a top priority for Angelenos and they are willing to be a part of the solution. These are the findings of a survey of November 8th voters conducted by The Committee and the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

Read this Los Angeles Times story about the findings here.

10 Ideas for Fixing Los Angeles

Our President and C.E.O. Miguel Santana was asked to contribute to this Op-Ed in the L.A. Times with 10 ideas to fix L.A. Read his piece here:

“Angelenos have made it clear that ending homelessness is their top priority, and over the years they have invested an unprecedented amount of money in an effort to house their unhoused neighbors. But the region suffers from fragmented systems, misaligned plans and diverging ideologies.

Now, with new leadership coming to City Hall and the county Board of Supervisors, we have an opportunity to hit the reset button. No one mayor or county supervisor can solve the issue alone.

What we need is a functioning, outcome-driven response system at the scale of the problem, not diffused leadership and finger-pointing. Any credible solution to homelessness needs to have clear data, specific goals and greater transparency. Most of all, moving forward requires clarity of roles and thoughtful coordination between the city and county governments and the region’s many on-the-ground service providers.

The good thing is that while reducing homelessness is a considerable undertaking, it is not an insurmountable problem. Other communities, like Houston in partnership with Harris County, have figured this out, and so can we. The goal should be to create one unified, countywide governing structure that will be accountable to all and which will benefit from the voices of those who have experienced homelessness.”

— Miguel A. Santana

New Report Finds Significant High Levels of Burnout, Mental Health and Financial Challenges Amongst Staff in Immigrant Rights Movement

The California Community Foundation and Weingart Foundation launched a new report, “From Burnout to Wellbeing: Building a Sustainable Immigration Movement,” which examines the current state of nonprofits and staff within Southern California’s immigrant rights movement.

Read the report here.

Open Letters from Latino Civic Leaders Regarding Los Angeles City Council

Following the leaked audio involving Los Angeles City Council members Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de León, Latino civic leaders released the following open letters calling for accountability and reform.


 

October 24, 2022

An Open Letter to Members of the Los Angeles City Council from Latino Civic Leaders

The past two weeks have been a trying time in Los Angeles and throughout California. We joined Angelenos in condemning the appalling dialogue by city leaders representing a significant part of the Latino community in Los Angeles. Like all of you, we asked for their immediate resignation, knowing that in so doing, more than 750,000 predominately Latino residents would be left without representation on the Los Angeles City Council until a special election can be held.

Even as this crisis continues to unfold, we believe it is now time to lay the groundwork for the hard work ahead to rebuild and help heal Los Angeles. This includes strengthening race relations, centering a focus on social justice on policy matters, and establishing higher standards for our elected officials. It is time to chart a principled path for the role an emerging Latino majority plays in our community. In that spirit, we have developed the following statement of principles and call on all responsible leaders, both elected and non-elected, to engage in more productive discussions around these areas of focus.

  1. We reiterate our call for the resignations of the elected officials who participated in the offensive and prejudicial dialogue. These words and attitudes are unacceptable for leaders of this community.
  2. We believe Latinos should hold their elected officials, be they Latino or not, to the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and all Angelenos should do the same.
  3. We believe that the underlying question of Latino under-representation in local government is central to ensuring a true representative democracy. While Latinos are 40% of the state, and 50% of the city and county, that Latinos are only 27% of council seats and 20% of supervisor seats is of concern as our city government is not representative of our population, which hinders and thwarts progress on critical community needs.
  4. Representatives—including those selected to fill the unexpired terms—must authentically reflect the experiences, needs and aspirations of the people they represent. We also firmly believe that those who seek to run for elected office should be committed to building coalitions with other historically marginalized groups and to advancing public policy that eliminates systemic racism and advances social justice and equity.
  5. While zero-sum competition is inevitable for a fixed number of seats, zero-sum politics are NOT. Latinos should hold their elected officials—and indeed all elected officials—to a standard of representation that raises up and improves the lives of all constituents.
  6. We are deeply disappointed by actions and statements which appear opportunistic and designed to inflame and exaggerate differences rather than draw constituencies together. We remind those who would profit from this moment that many Black and Latino elected officials at all levels of government, in office today, hold those seats having received a majority—and often a super-majority—of votes from the other group. Black/Brown commonalities and moments of political cooperation, and indeed cooperation with other communities in Los Angeles, far exceed those of conflict, no matter what you have read in the papers.
  7. The City of Los Angeles is overdue for institutional reform, especially reform that depoliticizes the redistricting process.
  8. We are committed to creating the next era of Los Angeles politics – one that focuses on problem-solving, fair representation, inclusive decision making, and improving the lives for all Angelenos.

As Latino civic leaders who care deeply for the future of all Angelenos, we write to you in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. The next few weeks the council will decide on how to fill the seats vacated resulting from this crisis and how to reform the redistricting process. We request an opportunity to meet with the leadership of the Los Angeles City Council to partner with you in ensuring these principles are at the forefront of your decision making. A representative of our coalition will coordinate with Council President Paul Krekorian on the next steps.

Thank you for your thoughtful management of this difficult time in our City’s history. We remain optimistic, given the diverse and strong outcry from every part of the city, that from this moment a new course of a more equitable and representative City government will emerge.

In Solidarity,

Fernando J. Guerra, Ph.D.
Antonia Hernández
Monica Lozano

Fabian Núñez
Manuel Pastor
Angelica Salas

Miguel Santana
Gary Segura
Arturo Vargas


 

October 11, 2022

An Open Letter Regarding Los Angeles City Council Members Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo from Latino Civic Leaders

We write today in our personal capacity as Latino civic leaders and Angelenos who believe in a just, equitable and inclusive Los Angeles for all. The hateful, racist, and divisive comments heard in the recording released this weekend have no place in public or behind closed doors.

We expect better of our Latino elected officials, and Los Angeles deserves better. We are deeply saddened. These public officials have breached the trust and confidence of our entire city. We condemn their anti-Black, homophobic, and prejudiced sentiments against Indigenous people and other marginalized communities in our city.

Angelenos deserve elected officials who respect them and reflect their values. We must hold these individuals accountable for their hateful remarks and participation. We call for the resignations of Los Angeles City Council Members Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo.

These elected officials have failed us and our community as leaders. They have deepened the pain that our communities have experienced especially during a time when our nation has been struggling with hate speech and political division. It is imperative that these city council members resign and accept accountability.

In Solidarity,

Fernando J. Guerra, Ph.D.
Antonia Hernández
Monica Lozano

Fabian Núñez
Manuel Pastor
Angelica Salas

Miguel Santana
Gary Segura
Arturo Vargas

Read Our F.Y. 2022 Annual Report

We’re delighted to share with you our F.Y. 2022 annual report highlighting our partnership with frontline community leaders, funder colleagues, and cross-sector collaboratives in addressing structural racism throughout Southern California.

This fiscal year, we were able to be back out in person and in community, connecting with, and being guided by our partners as we engaged in proactive grantmaking and impact investing in communities most impacted by systemic racism.

Some highlights from our team in the field.

Looking ahead, we remain committed to learning from, partnering with, and growing people power and movements, to strengthening the infrastructure of the racial justice sector, and advancing racial equity.

Click here to read our F.Y. 2022 Annual Report.

The Weingart Foundation Welcomes Brian Williams As The Foundation’s First Chief Operating Officer

Working with the Foundation’s leadership team, staff, and Board of Directors, the C.O.O. will further operationalize the Foundation’s commitment to racial justice

October 20, 2022 (Los Angeles, CA) — After an extensive national search, the Weingart Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation that partners with communities across Southern California to advance racial justice, welcomes Brian Williams as its first Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.). Working with the Foundation’s leadership team, staff, and Board of Directors, Williams will play an instrumental role in driving the organization’s innovation and operational excellence and in maintaining a work environment that reflects the Foundation’s mission and values.

“As a strategic and thoughtful organizational leader with an unwavering dedication to social change, Brian Williams exemplifies the core values and competencies required to step into this newly created role of Chief Operating Officer,” said Miguel A. Santana, President and C.E.O. of the Weingart Foundation. “He brings a well-rounded and varied professional background, lived expertise, and a demonstrated track record of working collaboratively to achieve ambitious management objectives. We look forward to working closely with Brian as a thought leader and key partner to continue to operationalize the Foundation’s commitment to racial justice.”

Brian Williams brings a wealth of expertise in corporate, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit leadership, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Los Angeles Urban League where he was a key architect of their dramatic turnaround and helped secure more than $10M in grants over four years. He also managed day-to-day operations, facilities, and aspects of finance, human resources, and programming.

“Weingart’s mission and vision for equity, inclusion and social change are perfectly aligned with my own values and vision,” said Brian Williams, incoming C.O.O. of the Weingart Foundation. “I am honored to be the Foundation’s first C.O.O. and I look forward to working with Miguel Santana and his stellar leadership team, Board of Directors, and staff at all levels to achieve organizational excellence consistent with the Foundation’s innovative approach toward racial, social and economic justice.”

A mentor and community advocate in his personal life, Williams also has executive level experience managing and consulting with top-tier and mid-market companies and building teams to achieve bold goals. He holds an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Philosophy from Yale College.

ABOUT THE WEINGART FOUNDATION
The Weingart Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation that partners with communities across Southern California to advance racial, social, and economic justice for all. Our vision is a dynamic and effective social change sector that is creating equitable systems and structures needed to achieve justice. Founded in 1951, the Foundation has to date granted over $1 billion to organizations, strengthening their efforts in human services, housing, health, education, and community power building. In addition, the Foundation builds networks and collaboratives with philanthropic, public sector, and community leaders to advance equity and justice together.