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March 2014 News

Vice President’s Message Highlights New Program Plan Assumptions for FY 2015

This month’s Message from Belen Vargas, Vice President, Programs highlights our preliminary list of key FY 2015 Program Plan Assumptions related to the environment that the nonprofit and philanthropic community will be operating in over the next 12-18 months. These Assumptions will be used to develop and prioritize our grantmaking strategies for the coming year and form the basis of our FY 2015 Program Plan. Our planning process begins with identifying needs, opportunities and trends within the Southern California nonprofit community. As noted below, this year we also commissioned a study from USC to better understand the current philanthropic landscape and how this will impact nonprofits. The FY 2015 Assumptions are still in preliminary development, and we encourage your feedback. To read Belen’s Message and comment on the draft FY 2015 Program Plan Assumptions, click here

New Feature Article on the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

It has been two years since the California Community Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and Weingart Foundation launched the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) in April 2012. In recent months, Weingart Foundation has received a growing number of inquiries from colleagues in philanthropy and the broader nonprofit sector about where we are in the Initiative and what is on the horizon. While it is still too early for formal evaluation findings, we do want to share where we are in the work, some of our preliminary learning – particularly around a funder’s role in supporting strategic restructuring – and our thoughts about the future. It might be helpful, however, to start with why and how this Initiative was started. Click here to read Joanna’s article.

GrantCraft Interviews Belen Vargas on Transparency

Recently Belen Vargas, Vice President, Programs, was interviewed by GrantCraft as part of Transparency Chat, the organization’s new podcast mini-series, developed with support from Glasspockets. In her interview, Belen addresses Weingart Foundation’s commitment to communicate its mission, values, strategies and guidelines to potential grantees in a clear and accessible way. The podcast series accompanies a recently launched GrantCraft guide, Opening Up: Demystifying Funder Transparency. To hear Belen’s interview, as well as related podcasts from other foundation leaders — and to access the new GrantCraft guide on transparency, click here.

New USC Report Shows LA Foundations Still Recovering From Recession

USC's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, with funding from Weingart Foundation, recently interviewed leaders of 20 foundations in Greater Los Angeles to better understand how they are approaching their work. The scan reveals that, like their counterparts in the region and across the country, these foundations are still recovering from the Great Recession of 2008. And, while all of the foundations have changed their grantmaking practices - to varying degrees - over the past five years, most of these changes have been modest and temporary. Over the next few years, it appears there will be a modest increase in the number of foundations that intend to expand the use of initiatives in their grantmaking. In addition, there will be a growing number of foundations interested in avenues for greater impact through partnerships, capacity building and/or mission investing. To read the full report, click here.