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June 18, 2019 News

Weingart Foundation Tightens Criteria for Unrestricted Grants

Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) is the Foundation’s primary grantmaking strategy, and nonprofits continue to tell us that it is critical to building their capacity and effectiveness. Since initiating our UOS program, demand has grown to unprecedented levels. To manage this increase, we are tightening our UOS grantmaking criteria. Unfortunately, this means that we are turning down many strong applicants including those that we previously may have funded, and sometimes doing so earlier in the review process. We are making these difficult decisions based on the strength of alignment with our UOS grant criteria and the individual context surrounding each organization. Priority is given to applicants whose work advances positive systemic change in communities facing the greatest inequities. Applicants will also need to be able to articulate how UOS funding will impact their organizational capacity and effectiveness. The Foundation remains committed to providing UOS funding, and we understand how critical unrestricted dollars are to strengthening and sustaining nonprofits. If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at (213) 688-7799 for more information.

Full Cost Funding: Foundations Have Yet to Move from Theory to Practice

Nonprofit Finance Fund, California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation came together in 2015 to launch the Full Cost Community of Practice Pilot, a partnership designed to test approaches and strengthen the capacity of nonprofits and funders to advocate for full cost recovery. A follow up report from Nonprofit Finance Fund shows that the pilot helped participants strengthen their financial management practices. At the same time, these findings also highlight barriers to full cost funding. Notably, broader acceptance of full cost is penetrating foundations, yet organizations found that most foundations willing to discuss full cost haven’t changed their actually grantmaking. The findings will inform our next steps in this work. To read the report, click here.

Grantees Rate the Work of the Foundation

In 2018, the Weingart Foundation conducted a comprehensive survey of grantees and applicants in partnership with the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP). As a part of this process, nearly 500 current Foundation grantees and recent applicants were invited to participate in a confidential online perception survey. The results of this comprehensive survey were quite positive, giving us assurance that nonprofits believe our strategies and practices are on the right track. We continue steadfast in our commitment to providing Unrestricted Operating Support to build nonprofit capacity, knowing that communities must lead the way in advancing racial and socio-economic equity. In addition, some survey findings are informing ongoing conversations at the Foundation on how we can streamline our grantmaking process, provide additional non-monetary support to grantees, and create opportunities for more engagement between our program staff and grantees. These are all areas that we continually monitor. Thank you to all the organizations that participated in this survey. To read the summary of key findings click here; to read the full report click here.