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Weingart Foundation
Fiscal Year 2014 Grant Plan

Weingart Foundation believes that funders are most effective when they solicit and incorporate feedback from their grantees and applicants into their grantmaking plans. Accordingly, our grant planning process begins with identifying needs, opportunities and trends within the Southern California nonprofit community, primarily through frequent and ongoing communication with our grantees. We also conduct focus groups on topics of interest, sponsor or attend special convenings of funders and nonprofits, communicate with key thought leaders in the field, and carefully review current trends in the nonprofit and philanthropic literature.

This process results in the development of a list of assumptions about the nonprofit and philanthropic environment, which we use to inform our grant planning. Every March, our Board of Directors and Staff meet for two days to discuss and refine these assumptions, and we begin the process of developing our strategic grantmaking priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. In April 2013, our draft Fiscal Year 2014 Planning Assumptions were published on the Foundation’s website for review and comment. We are now pleased to publish a summary of our completed Grant Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014).


  • The mission of Weingart Foundation is to build a better America by offering constructive assistance to people in need, thereby helping them to lead more rewarding and responsible lives.
  • We advance our mission by providing grants and other support designed to improve the capacity and sustainability for nonprofit organizations working in the areas of health, human services, and education.
  • The Foundation gives highest priority to activities that provide greater access to people who are economically disadvantaged and underserved.
  • The Foundation also funds activities that benefit the general community and improve the quality of life for all individuals in Southern California.


  • In order to build nonprofit capacity and sustainability, the Foundation prioritizes unrestricted general operating grants (core support), pursues a multi-faceted capacity building strategy and supports both direct and administrative costs for program grants.
  • Whenever possible, the Foundation also looks for opportunities to leverage resources through collaboration with other funders.
  • We also strive to publish clear and complete grant guidelines and structure application requirements that are commensurate with the amount of funds to be granted.
  • Our program staff regularly reviews and works to refine our grantmaking practices. We also continue to survey our grantees and applicants on a regular basis, using their feedback to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our grantmaking programs.
  • The Foundation is also committed to focusing its resources on activities that produce results. This involves funding organizations that evidence strong governance, leadership, management, and effective practices, along with clearly defined grant objectives that are consistent with our mission and focus.


  • Addressing the needs of low-income and underserved communities.
  • Funding organizations that produce results.
  • Respecting the work of our grantees.
  • Using leverage and collaboration for greater impact.
  • Being transparent about mission, grant focus, guidelines, and funding decisions.
  • Maintaining a Board and Staff that reflects the diversity of Southern California.
  • Exercising leadership on issues of importance to the Foundation.


  • In general, demand will continue to strain the capacity of most nonprofit service providers, and particularly those serving low-income and underserved communities.
  • Growth in individual, corporate, and foundation giving will be minimal.
  • Nonprofit organizations who lack access to wealthy donors and have limited fundraising capacity will continue to struggle. This is particularly true for small to mid-sized human service organizations who do not have well established private fundraising programs.
  • Government funding, which declined for many Weingart Foundation grantees in 2012, will remain uncertain and challenging for the foreseeable future.
  • Limited liquidity and cash operating reserves continue to restrict the ability of many nonprofits to withstand unplanned funding reductions, build organizational and fundraising capacity, and invest in new program strategies.
  • Recognizing that organizations are unique and at different stages of organizational development, effective Weingart Foundation grantees will continue to demonstrate and strive toward:

    • A sustainable mission and vision
    • A qualified, engaged and supportive board of directors
    • Strong leadership and management
    • A well trained and supported staff
    • A strategy to accomplish its mission, operate high-impact programs, and learn from results
    • The ability to identify and adapt to internal and external changes
    • A funding model that can support core programs and services
    • An appropriate level of cash reserves to improve organizational sustainability
  • Increased support for activities that strengthen nonprofit performance and impact (capacity building) will remain a critical need for most Weingart Foundation grantees. The need to address financial management, fund development, and adaptive capacity is particularly important.
  • When combined with strong leadership and management, providing unrestricted, multi-year core operating support is one of the most effective ways to build nonprofit organizational capacity. Core Support grants provide the “working capital” nonprofits need to sustain and improve their operations, and necessary infrastructure.


Based on our assumptions about the nonprofit and philanthropic environment, and in accordance with our mission, grantmaking practice and core values, the Foundation will maintain its current grant focus and guidelines. We will continue to prioritize unrestricted general operating support grants (core support) and pursue a multi-faceted capacity building strategy. We will also continue to accept applications for capital and program development projects. Within our general grant focus, the Foundation has also identified specific areas of interest that address the needs of low-income and underserved populations. Last, we will continue to look for opportunities to leverage our resources through collaboration with other funders and key stakeholders.

Specifically, the Foundation will prioritize the following grant and program strategies for FY 2014:

Regular Grant Program – Core Support

  • In order to build nonprofit capacity and sustainability, priority will continue to be given to Core Support funding requests;
  • On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the grantee, Program Officers may recommend restricting a portion of Core Support grants for a grantee’s board designated operating reserve.

Regular Grant Program - Capacity Building, Capital, and Program Development

  • Capacity Building grants will be limited to projects that evidence a credible plan for sustaining costs. Special attention will be given to projects that build the capacity-building infrastructure in Southern California.
  • Capital funding will be generally restricted for projects that are construction ready, in the final phase of fund raising, and that can be paid-out immediately.
  • On a very selective basis, the Foundation will consider “high-reward” community impact programs and projects that offer the potential to produce significant benefit to individuals and communities in Southern California. In general, however, funding for new program development and the expansion of existing programs will be limited to programs of clearly demonstrated effectiveness that have a viable fundraising and sustainability plan.
  • The Foundation is also interested in “high impact” programs and projects that address the needs of low-income and underserved populations in the following areas:

    • Targeted employment training and services for identified mid-skill level jobs;
    • Drop-out prevention;
    • College and career education access;
    • Capacity-building for clinics disproportionately impacted by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Small Grant Program (SGP)

  • The Foundation will continue to operate a Small Grant Program (SGP) to increase access to funding and strengthen the capacity of small, community based, and developing organizations.
  • The San Diego Small Grant Program will continue to prioritize organizations with budgets of $1.5 million or less. Details on the San Diego Small Grant Program will be announced at a later date.

Capacity Building Initiatives

  • Continued support for the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, which provides support for nonprofit restructuring projects.
  • Continued support for targeted Nonprofit Operational Reserve workshops.
  • The Foundation will continue to monitor opportunities to promote immigrant integration and reform within Southern California.

Grant Payout and Administration

  • Our grant payout for the current FY 2013 is projected at $33 million and we anticipate no change in our grant payout for FY 2014.
  • To the maximum extent possible, approved grants will be paid out immediately, and future year commitments will be minimized.
  • Grant guidelines will remain as stable as possible, and communication with grantees and grant-seekers will be maintained at a high level to ensure funding guidelines are clear and responsive.

Program Assessment and Learning

  • A consulting firm has been retained to assist the Foundation in developing a framework for evaluating the overall impact of the grant program.
  • Subject matter experts will continue to be invited to meet with the Board and Staff to discuss areas of interest. Information gained at these meetings will be incorporated into the grantmaking planning process.
  • The grantee perception survey process will continue in conjunction with the consulting firm, Learning Partnerships.
  • Opportunities will be explored to continue convening grantees and funders to discuss issues of importance to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

The FY 2014 Grant Plan is intended as a guideline and may be adjusted throughout the year in response to changes in the internal and external environment.

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