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The Weingart Foundation Invests $8 Million in Southern California Organizations That are Advancing Equity and Racial Justice

These new grants and impact investments reflect a commitment to growing people power and movements, strengthening nonprofit infrastructure, and prioritizing communities most impacted by systemic racism.

September 23, 2021 (Los Angeles, CA) — The Weingart Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation, is proud to announce $8 million in grants and investments supporting organizations across Southern California addressing crucial needs in communities of color. These investments strengthen nonprofit infrastructure in frontline communities and target resources in addressing structural inequities and systemic racism. The grants and program-related investments are the first round of funding for the foundation for fiscal year 2022.

“We are honored to partner with outstanding organizations that are working tirelessly to provide critical services during these unprecedented times,” said Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO, The Weingart Foundation. “Our first round of grantmaking reflects our dedicated staff’s proactive approach of working in communities to understand their unique context, specific needs, and opportunities.”

Most of the grants invest in organizations for two years with funding ranging between $75k-200K in unrestricted operating support. The grantees lead meaningful work in human services, youth development, crime prevention, housing, food insecurity, and advocacy. The funding also includes a Strategic Opportunity Fund to respond to emerging needs brought on by the double health and economic crisis. Many organizations selected through the invite-only application process are BIPOC-led nonprofits working in immigrant/refugee integration, housing justices, or youth organizing. Nearly a quarter of the organizations receiving funding are first-time grantees as part of Weingart’s growing commitment to addressing racial injustice head-on.

“These investments demonstrate our commitment to responding to the call to action from community leaders on the frontlines of change,” said Joanna Jackson, Vice President of Programs at the Weingart Foundation. “These organizations are advancing racial justice in systemic ways even through the pandemic and economic crisis. With these grants and program-related investments, we stand with these partners in advancing equity and social justice.”

In selecting grantees, Weingart hosted listening sessions learning how organizations adapted and provided rapid response and relief to families most devastated by the pandemic and hearing directly from organizations on the ground about their specific community needs. Many organizations pivoted to fill gaps in the community, such as leading vaccination clinics when health care was traditionally outside their scope of work. Additionally, many direct-service providers deepened their civic engagement and advocacy efforts responding to inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. The Weingart Foundation’s funding considers these emerging trends and provides support to advocacy groups, and collaboratives. First-time grantees represent the foundation’s evolving role in bolstering organizations leading in systems change.

The following highlights select grants and investments:

  • Strengthening Regions and Ecosystems – Investments in organizations led by people of color include two Black-led organizations, Sigma Beta Xi and Youth Action Project. Both nonprofits provide culturally responsive youth development and programming, and play a critical role in local justice-oriented power-building tables, including the Black Equity Initiative.
  • Immigrant/Refugee Rights and Integration – More than half of the new grants support immigrant and refugee rights, including a $1 million grant for the L.A. Justice Fund in alignment with the California Dignity for Families Fund.
  • Responding to the Pandemic – Many organizations expanded their scope to fill critical advocacy and service gaps due to the pandemic. Examples of these include the Thai Community Development Center, Southeast Asian Community Alliance, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, and Pars Equality Center, which set up vaccination clinics though healthcare is not their primary focus.
  • Power Building and Movement Leaders of Color – A number of organizations engage in power building at the state-wide level, for example Power California, Faith in Action Network PICO CA, California Calls, while others provide capacity building to organizations developing leaders, including Youth! Organize California and Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network.
  • Impact Investing in Communities – The Weingart Foundation provides below-market, flexible financing as an important tool to advance racial, social, and economic justice. New program related investment loans are being provided to Mercy Housing California in support of affordable housing, and to Step Up on Second to create permanent supportive housing for chronically, mentally ill individuals experiencing homelessness in Southern California.

For the complete list of September 2021 grants and program-related investments, click here.

ABOUT THE WEINGART FOUNDATION
The Weingart Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation that partners with communities across Southern California to advance racial, social, and economic justice for all. Our vision is a dynamic and effective social change sector that is creating equitable systems and structures needed to achieve justice. Founded in 1951, the Foundation has to date granted over $1 billion to organizations, strengthening their efforts in human services, health, education, and community power building. In addition, the Foundation builds networks and collaboratives with philanthropic, public sector, and community leaders to advance equity and justice together.

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