December 2021 Grant and Impact Investing Highlights
The Weingart Foundation is proud to announce our second round of grants and program-related investments for F.Y. 2022. This funding reflects our unwavering commitment to addressing structural racism and socioeconomic injustice throughout Southern California.
Our nonprofit partners represent a continuum of organizations, from health and human service providers to nonprofits elevating resident voice and building power in historically oppressed communities of color. Each of these organizations is doing tremendous work to address the unprecedented challenges and rampant injustices facing our communities.
We look forward to working together with these extraordinary leaders in the years ahead.
Little Tokyo Service Center C.D.C.
The Foundation’s Unrestricted Operating Support (U.O.S.) program is our primary vehicle to support the infrastructure, capacity and impact of social justice organizations. U.O.S. grants continue to offer flexible support for organizations’ infrastructure and capacity needs.
At the same time, our ecosystem and systems change work have continued to deepen over the past few years. Using both a geographic and issue-related lens, our focus on strengthening ecosystems is expanding from our work in Southeast Los Angeles in support of the immigrant rights sector to support of the Black equity ecosystem in the Inland Empire and the power building ecosystem in Orange County. We are also broadening our engagement in systems change work, including our ongoing role in the Committee for Greater L.A. and the L.A. Justice Fund.
Supporting Racial Justice Infrastructure in Regions and Ecosystems
Los Angeles County
The geographic distribution of our new U.O.S. grants generally mirrors our most recent grant dockets. Specifically, in Los Angeles County—where the majority of our grant dollars are awarded—more than half of the grant funding supports organizations working in our special issue area of housing justice. These grants cover a spectrum of strategies that include shelters and housing development to legal and employment services for unhoused individuals. Examples of our latest L.A.-based grants include funding to Skid Row Housing Trust, Chrysalis, L.T.S.C. Community Development Corporation, and Shelter Partnership.
In addition, this docket includes four first-time grant partners that fill critical gaps in housing justice in communities outside the L.A. Metro area. These first-time partners are all BIPOC-led organizations, three of which are relatively new organizations. They include Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre (East L.A.), Newstart Housing Corporation (Southeast L.A.), Veteran Social Services, Inc. (South L.A.), and Street Company (Antelope Valley).
Three L.A-based social justice arts organizations—artworxL.A., InsideOUT Writers, Inc., and Creative Acts—are also included in our new slate of U.O.S. grants. These remarkable nonprofits are working with at-risk, currently and/or formerly incarcerated youth and young adults, employing creative strategies that inspire personal and collective transformation, and promote meaningful social change.
Outside of L.A. County, we continue to support dynamic leaders in the Inland Region. These include nonprofits that are key organizing and base-building groups, as well as those organizations that complement and support them. The critically important work of many of these nonprofits is particularly timely, given their focus on COVID relief and recovery, redistricting, Black-Brown solidarity, and immigrant justice groups. These organizations employ an intersectional approach, working beyond their core issue areas in partnership with other coalitions that we also support. New grants include support to Inland Empire Community Collaborative, Time for Change Foundation, and San Bernardino Community Service Center.
Similarly, in Orange County we are supporting organizations that complement the emerging ecosystem of base-building groups in the region. During our listening session earlier this year, Orange County nonprofit leaders expressed a strong desire for narrative change to counter deeply held beliefs in the County that are antithetical to equity and justice. They also expressed the need for support for infrastructure, particularly for newer social justice organizations and those working toward broader systems change. Our new grants support partners that are addressing these needs include Voice of Orange County, Charitable Ventures of Orange County, and Anaheim Community Foundation.
Areas of Special Interest and Impact Investing
Support to groups working in our special issue areas of immigrant/refugee rights and integration is prominent in this docket, representing over one quarter of our U.O.S. grant partners. These organizations are working along the spectrum of direct/legal services, organizing and policy advocacy for systems changes. Complementing these grants are a number of rapid response grants in support of Afghan refugees (see below), as well as targeted investments to help strengthen the immigrant rights infrastructure in Los Angeles and the Inland Region. We also supported the Immigrants are L.A. Initiative, centered around a campaign to advance a just recovery that includes immigrants, as part of our focus on systems change.
In the area of housing justice, Step Up on Second and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy and their coalition partners present innovative solutions to address the affordable housing crisis in Southern California. We also continue to make impact investments that move capital to advance racial justice. Our new $1,000,000 program-related investment with Enterprise Community Partners will provide capital to BIPOC-led affordable housing developers. This important initiative will help meet the overwhelming need for more equitable housing in our communities.
Youth organizing also continues to be a priority for funding, with start-up support to two emerging youth organizing collectives—the SELA Demand Collective and the Youth Mentoring Action Network. These two promising grassroots initiatives will help build infrastructure and ecosystem for youth leadership and organizing in the Inland Region and Southeast communities.
Rapid-Response Funding for Afghan Refugees
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government led to approximately 125,000 people being airlifted out of Afghanistan by August 30. As a result, nearly 53,000 Afghans are currently living on U.S. military bases, with 14,000 more soon to be on their way to the U.S. from military bases overseas.
California is projected to take more arrivals than any other state, and it is estimated that approximately 5,000 people will be coming to the Southern California area. The Weingart Foundation made a number of rapid response grants to support Afghan communities in this crucial time, including grants to Afghan American Muslim Outreach, Council of American-Islamic Relations, International Rescue Committee, Los Angeles and Sahaba Initiative.
Nearly a quarter of the organizations in this round are first-time partners, maintaining our commitment to remain accessible to groups that are new to us. All of these new organizations are led by a person of color, and nearly three-quarters of the entire U.O.S. docket are BIPOC-led.