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March 31, 2020 News

COVID-19 Response: Important Changes to the Unrestricted Operating Support Program

The Weingart Foundation stands with communities and nonprofits during this extraordinary crisis. In addition to our initial $1 million in direct response to COVID-19 relief efforts via regional pooled funds, the Foundation has committed another $1 million in emergency assistance to pooled funds supporting individuals and families from highly impacted communities of color. For information on these funds, click here. Going forward, we will focus on supporting the capacity and infrastructure needs of our nonprofit partners.


Modifications to the Unrestricted Operating Support program

Unrestricted operating grants will remain our primary vehicle to support nonprofit capacity and infrastructure as organizations respond to the current crisis. Our Unrestricted Operating Support (U.O.S.) program does, however, require changes in order to effectively respond to the current landscape. We are facing an unprecedented number of new requests for funding while also responding to a large existing pipeline of applications that were submitted earlier this year.

As we work to be as responsive as possible, we also need to move forward thoughtfully given the depth and likely duration of the crisis. We need to hear from partners across our service area to get a deeper understanding of what is happening on the ground as we shape our approach. Therefore, our U.O.S. program will be modified in the following ways:

  • Instead of an open letter of inquiry process, we will move to an invitation-only process to be able to focus on current applicants and expedite funding in the upcoming months to current and past grantees whose programs and services closely align with the grant focus of the Foundation.

  • The application process will be significantly shortened to expedite funding and decrease the burden on nonprofits, using streamlined phone or video conversations;

  • All grant reporting deadlines will be extended for the time being, including for current open and new grants;

  • We will continue to fund direct service, organizing and advocacy groups; and

  • Grantmaking guidelines will continue to be refined to focus on evolving issues of racial, social, and economic justice in communities of color within the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

These changes were informed by conversations with nonprofit partners, and we will seek more feedback as we further develop our approach. Over the next few months, our program officers will reach out to organizations to listen to your priorities and needs.

The Weingart Foundation will do everything in our power—working with nonprofit and civic leaders—to provide critical resources to communities in this time. We commit to ongoing listening, communication, and transparency with our partners, and we will continue to provide timely updates on our website and newsletter. We will also continue to advocate with other funders to provide unrestricted support and to loosen or eliminate restrictions on existing grants. As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.