September 2021 Grant and Impact Investing Highlights
The Weingart Foundation is proud to announce our first round of grants and impact investments for F.Y. 2022. These grants and program-related investments advance equity and racial justice by strengthening nonprofit infrastructure in frontline communities, growing people power and movements, and addressing critical needs in communities of color. Our funding also underscores the Foundation’s growing leadership role in bolstering new and innovative work.
Strengthening Regions and Ecosystems
The Weingart Foundation supports organizations building power and providing critical services throughout our five-county service area. Our new grants in the Inland Empire and South Los Angeles highlight our ongoing support of growing collaborative social justice work, movement building, and BIPOC leadership—areas that have been under-invested in these regions for many years. This constellation of grantees also recognizes the importance and role of direct services, cultural preservation, and youth development.
Inland Empire: Examples of 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. Several other key issue areas are targeted in this regional grantmaking effort, including immigrant rights and integration through our support of Motivating Action Leadership Opportunity (MALO), Alianza Coachella Valley, and Inland Empowerment, which also leads in the area of housing justice.
South Los Angeles: Our partners in South Los Angeles are focused on the priority issue areas of housing and youth development/organizing. This group of organizations reflect our Foundation’s approach to strengthening community-based partners within an ecosystem that is inclusive of key service providers as well as organizing groups, partners creating innovative approaches—including Clifford Beers Housing and Amity Foundation, Brotherhood Crusade and Social Justice Learning Institute—and organizations that work collaboratively with their communities and sit at shared tables to address common issues.
Overall, our special interest areas of immigrant/refugee rights and integration, housing justice, and youth organizing are also well represented throughout our five-county service area. More than half of our new grants support immigrant and refugee rights (52%)—including a $1 million grant for the L.A. Justice Fund in alignment with the California Dignity for Families Fund. Grant dollars to youth organizing partners make up 43% of this funding docket. A third of our dollars supported housing justice (33%).
Responding to the Pandemic
Through our listening sessions earlier this year, we consistently heard that organizations have had to expand to meet tremendous community need stemming from the pandemic. This trend is evident for many of our September partners, who are called upon to step into new spaces and fill critical advocacy and service gaps due to their strong community ties and cultural and linguistic competencies. For example, Thai Community Development Center, Southeast Asian Community Alliance, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, and Pars Equality Center have all set up vaccination clinics within their communities though healthcare is not their primary focus.
Power Building and Movement Leaders of Color
Our September grants reflect our continued commitment to supporting organizations building power and leadership in communities of color. A number of partners engage in power building at the state-wide level (Power California, PICO California, California Calls), while others provide capacity building to organizations that do (Youth! Organize California and Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network). We also fund local grassroots groups including the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition and Community Power Collective. BIPOC leaders are at the forefront of these organizations, including young movement leaders from the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows Program.
Impact Investing in Communities
The Foundation provides below-market, flexible financing as an important tool to advance racial, social, and economic justice. We are excited to provide new program-related investment loans 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. These innovative funding models will enable our nonprofit partners to build housing faster, cheaper and at scale, and better meet the critical need for affordable housing in our communities.