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Special Issue Areas

In addition to our other strategies, the Weingart Foundation will focus targeted resources in five special issue areas that are in strong alignment with our equity commitment: 1) housing for homeless and low-income individuals, 2) immigration, 3) Census 2020, 4) youth organizing, and 5) leadership for movement building.

NOTE: Organizations seeking funding within our special issue areas may submit letters of inquiry for Unrestricted Operating Support at any time. Organizations seeking other types of support should first contact a member of our program staff. Please review our grant guidelines for information on how to apply.

Housing for Homeless and Low-Income Individuals

Goal: We seek to prevent and combat homelessness in Southern California by supporting the production and preservation of affordable housing for homeless and low-income individuals. Housing for Homeless and Low-Income Individuals has been a long-standing area of focus for the Foundation. In FY 2018 we invested $3.5 million in support of housing and continue to prioritize this area.

Our strategies are:

  • Support the Home for Good Funders Collaborative in Los Angeles County to increase system and provider capacity, expand production of supportive housing, and reduce street homelessness, including utilizing policy, advocacy and research efforts to accomplish these strategies.

  • Support community engagement and education efforts to garner the public support that leads to the successful approval and siting of future permanent supportive housing developments for the homeless in the City and County of Los Angeles.

  • In conjunction with the City and County of Los Angeles, advocate for the full and effective implementation of Measure H and Proposition HHH.

  • Support increased production of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing for homeless and low-income individuals.

  • Leverage funding opportunities that build the capacity of homeless service providers and nonprofit housing developers to scale their work and increase housing production.

  • Support bridge/interim housing opportunities with a connection to integrated services.

Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Integration

Goal: We aim to strengthen nonprofits, networks, collaboratives, and coalitions that advance the rights and integration of Southern California’s diverse immigrant and refugee communities, including Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, AMEMSA (Arab, Middle-Eastern, Muslim, South Asian), and Black communities. In FY 2018 the Foundation provided $3 million in grants to immigrant and refugee serving organizations and continues to prioritize this area given the critical role immigrants play in our region.

In the context of changing federal policies, the Foundation will focus on supporting a range of nonprofit organizations centered on those most vulnerable. We will consider rapid response funding where warranted.

Our strategies are:

  • Strengthen the infrastructure, capacity and effectiveness of organizations, networks, coalitions, and collaboratives focused on a broad range of activities including:
    • Community organizing and base-building
    • Intersectional and cross-sector movement building
    • Legal services and direct representation
    • Policy advocacy
    • Detention and deportation support, including rapid response
    • Know your rights education and family contingency planning
    • Citizenship and naturalization services
    • Mental health services
    • Civic engagement
    • Workforce development and economic security
    • Work to counter hate, bias, bigotry and racism
    • Communications and storytelling

  • Support organizations working to advance the rights and integration of the following three vulnerable populations:
    • Undocumented youth
    • Low-wage immigrant workers
    • Refugees and asylees

  • Partnership with the Orange County Opportunity Initiative and the Central Coast Immigrant Justice Fund.

  • Partnership with and oversight of the LA Justice Fund.

  • Sponsorship of convenings to support coordination within the sector as well as across sectors.

Census 2020

Goal: The Foundation seeks to support an accurate count for the 2020 census, focusing on historically undercounted communities throughout our six-county region. These populations include low-income households, communities of color, indigenous people, children under five years old, immigrants, LGBTI communities, people with disabilities, and people living in rural areas. The census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to expand fairness and inclusion by directing federal funding to where it is needed most. Census data guides the distribution of over $600 billion in federal dollars each year, determines the number of congressional seats allocated to states, and is used to enforce civil rights laws.

Our strategies are:

  • Participate in local, regional, and statewide funder tables to coordinate strategy and align funding. Strategies will also be coordinated with nonprofit leaders, local and state government, the Census Bureau, and other stakeholders.

  • Support nonprofit organizations engaged in the following activities:
    • Census policy advocacy
    • Field research on effective messaging, messengers and delivery
    • Community outreach and education
    • Leading nonprofit and cross-sector collaborations on the census
    • Training and technical assistance to community organizations on outreach and education
    • Integrating census outreach and education with existing community organizing, base-building, and/or civic engagement work
    • Communications and media work for census promotion, including ethnic media
    • Get-out-the-count activities

Youth Organizing

Goal: We seek to strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations and coalitions that develop youth leaders through a community organizing approach aimed at achieving positive outcomes for youth and long-term change on key issues facing their community. In 2017 the Foundation began exploring opportunities to support the capacity of nonprofit organizations engaged in youth organizing, given the strong social justice, civic engagement and academic achievement outcomes associated with this work. We engaged Dr. Veronica Terriquez from UC Santa Cruz, a leading researcher in youth organizing, to assess both needs and opportunities to grow the youth leadership pipeline in Southern California. To read Dr. Terriquez’s report, click here.

Our strategies are:

  • Strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations engaged in youth organizing, especially in the following key areas of need:
    • Transportation for young people to attend meetings and events
    • Increased opportunities for youth volunteers to become paid staff
    • Staff development and training and capacity building
    • Increased staff
    • Supporting and enhancing summer and regional training programs

  • Explore interest in building youth organizing collaboratives that are poised for growth in Orange County and Southeast Los Angeles.

  • Consider opportunities to coordinate with other youth organizing initiatives in the region.

  • Consider the feasibility of replicating best practices in communities currently underserved by youth organizing groups.

  • Disseminate a report that identifies the opportunities and the needs within the field.

  • Organize a funder convening to share needs and opportunities and identify other funders to support these strategies.

In 2019, the Foundation joined with partners to create the Youth Organizing Capacity Building Initiative, providing a total of $4.1 million in grants to 26 nonprofits engaged in youth organizing. 

Leadership for Movement Building

Goal: The Foundation aims to strengthen the individual and collective leadership skills of movement builders through the development of a leadership pilot program aimed at advancing racial, social and economic equity in Southern California. In 2017 we began to explore ways to provide nonprofits with the leadership training and support they need to build grassroots power and transformative movements. We formed an advisory group of key leaders and conducted field interviews to guide the development of a pilot project for movement leadership development.

In 2019, the Foundation launched the John W. Mack Movement Building Fellows program aimed to strengthen and develop the pipeline of next-generation movement leaders.