American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California

March 2022 Grant and Impact Investing Highlights

The Weingart Foundation announces our third round of grants and program-related investments for F.Y. 2022. We provided 62 grants and one program-related investment, all totaling over $14 million, to organizations addressing systemic racism, and providing critical services to communities in need.

These funds promote strong and healthy communities by investing in BIPOC leadership, collective healing, and essential services to those most impacted by systemic racism.

Eastside LEADS


The Foundation’s current strategic framework outlines three main drivers in our racial justice

  • Strong and healthy individuals and communities;
  • Civic, cultural, economic, and political power of those most harmed by inequities; and
  • Innovative and transformative systems.

The majority of this round of funding, 79 percent, provides Unrestricted Operating Support (U.O.S.) to 51 non-profit partners and power-building coalitions working on advancing racial justice in Southern California. Of these, 85% are BIPOC-led organizations, one-third of which are Black-led.

Forty percent of the nonprofits receiving funding are first-time partners, consistent with the Foundation’s equitable approach of working in communities to learn about and identify non-profits leading impactful work.

Strong and Healthy Individuals and Communities

Organizations that promote strong and healthy individuals and communities include those that provide essential services; collective healing, care and safety; and financial security and resources. Our work in this area also includes leadership development and support to BIPOC-led organizations. For example, in South Los Angeles, the foundation awarded grants to three new partners that are Black-led organizations focused on supporting at-risk or systems-involved youth.

Also noteworthy are the grants awarded to organizations serving BIPOC LGBTQ communities, including three first-time grantees providing leadership development, self empowerment and social services respectively:

Brothers Against Banging Youth (BABY)

Civic, cultural, economic, and political power

In step with the Foundation’s focus on supporting ecosystems that promote civic engagement and power building in communities of color, this round of funding continues investments to emerging organizations in Orange County and the Inland Empire, while also including new partners. These coalitions are working to empower BIPOC youth, voters, and community members to help shape the future of their communities.

Additional partners  lead and/or represent coalitions and networks engaged in power building or advocacy to advance systems change solutions on priority issues such as housing justice, justice reform, and worker rights. These include:

Innovative and transformative systems

The innovative and transformative systems work consist of bold philanthropy; public/private partnership; policy advocacy; and capital investment. This includes our ongoing support of initiatives like the Committee for Greater L.A. and our recent grants to address homelessness governance and to catalyze affordable housing production.

Also in the transformative systems category is our investment in the U.C.L.A. Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies for the community engagement work of the California State Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

Areas of Special Interest

The Foundation prioritizes three issue-based areas of special interest: housing justice, immigrant and refugee rights and integration, and nonprofit capacity building, by partnering with organizations working in these spaces.

  • Immigrant and refugee rights and integration – Nearly one-fourth of U.O.S. grantees receiving approximately $1.5M in funding. These groups include long-time grantees such as COFEM (Consejo de Federaciones Mexicanas) and Access CA as well as first-time grantees such as Sahaba Initiative, Arab American Civic Council, and World Relief Southern California. Access CA, Sahaba, World Relief, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, L.A. were prioritized this cycle given their role in serving Afghan refugees.
  • Housing Justice – Just over 20 percent of U.O.S. grantees representing $1.3M in grant funding are working on issues related to housing and homelessness along a continuum of strategies including shelters and transitional housing, community organizing for tenants’ rights, and the development of community land trusts.
  • Nonprofit Capacity Building – We are supporting organizations with unrestricted dollars to strengthen and support their staff in multiple ways. Nearly 70 percent of U.O.S. grantees identified a goal in this area, with staff wellness, retention, and compensation consistently cited as the highest priorities.
World Relief Southern California

Program Related Investment

The Foundation also approved a program-related investment (below market rate loan) to A Community of Friends for $750,000 for up to six years in support of their innovative approach to build supportive housing faster and more cost-effectively for people who are unhoused with mental illnesses.

For a complete list of our March 2022 grants and program-related investments, click here.