American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California

Feedback from Our Grant Partners: 2021 Survey Findings

Listening and responsiveness to the field are core values for our foundation and an integral part of our approach to advancing racial justice. To help inform our work, we regularly engage the Center for Effective Philanthropy (C.E.P.) to conduct a survey of grant partners, inviting candid and actionable feedback from nonprofits we support. During the most recent Grantee Perception survey from 2021, C.E.P. heard from 290 Weingart grant partners representing all geographies in our footprint. The full report is available here.

Key Takeaways from the Feedback Survey:

  • Partners value our commitment to racial equity. Over 80% of the partners surveyed made a change related to racial equity as a result of working with us.
  • Partners share thar our unrestricted, flexible and multi-year funding is critical for building organizational capacity, improving outcomes and impact, providing financial stability, and enhancing their ability to respond to emerging needs and opportunities. They encourage us to continue to provide unrestricted operating support, multi-year grants, and to make larger investments.
  • Partners appreciate our more streamlined processes, spending a median of 20 hours across all requirements over the grant period, a shorter amount than is typical with most funders.
  • Partners also shared that we have an opportunity to bring more clarity to our grantmaking process and further deepen our connection to community partners.

To roll out a rapid response to the COVID crisis, in 2020 we shifted our grant application process to an invitation-only process. This proactive approach opened an exciting opportunity for the Foundation to increase support to BIPOC-led organizations that have long been underfunded or overlooked by the broader philanthropic sector. We’ve reduced the burden on partners by creating a simple two-question application and a three-month review process to expedite funds. Today, the majority of our grants support BIPOC-led and serving nonprofit partners focused on building people power towards achieving racial justice.

To delve deeper into the insights we gained through the survey and to share more about our grantmaking process, we created the video below featuring Joyce Ybarra, our Director of Grant Operations, in conversation with Patricia Watkins, who is part of our team of program officers.

Thank you to the nonprofit organizations that took the time to complete the survey and provide us with your thoughtful feedback. Moving into this new fiscal year, we will incorporate these learnings and more as we engage in a comprehensive, facilitated process to deepen our strategies to advance racial equity and inclusion, and to build power in communities most impacted by injustice. This process will involve community leaders, strengthen alignment between our grants and our impact investing, and include a look at the origins of the Foundation’s wealth in the context of Southern California’s history of racial exclusion. The work will inform the Foundation’s planning and approach in F.Y. 2024 and beyond.  We look forward to sharing our refined strategies and practices in a new program plan next summer.