Working With the Weingart Foundation
At the Weingart Foundation, we strive to provide our applicants with clarity and transparency regarding our grantmaking. The Foundation utilizes our website as the primary vehicle for communication in these areas.
The following information is intended to complement our grant guidelines and designed to provide applicants with a better understanding of the application assessment and review process.
How Our Grantmaking Works
Prospective applicants should review our grant guidelines thoroughly to see if your organization might be a fit for funding. Below is a brief summary of our overall approach.
Who We Fund
The Weingart Foundation seeks to achieve inclusion and opportunity for all Southern Californians, especially for those who have historically been at the greatest disadvantage due to their race, income level, gender, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code. Therefore, the Foundation’s grantmaking is designed to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, collaboratives and coalitions working to meet essential needs, expand opportunity and eliminate structural barriers to equity.
What Our Funding Is Designed to Do
Once we’ve determined that applicants are in alignment with our focus on advancing equity, we make grants designed to strengthen these organizations’ capacity and effectiveness. We believe that effective nonprofits and leaders rooted in the communities they serve are the best agents for lasting change, and should lead the way in addressing inequity. By strengthening the nonprofit infrastructure within communities, we can change the dynamics of inequity and expand opportunities.
How We Make Grants
Multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) is our primary vehicle for supporting and strengthening the capacity and effectiveness of organizations, collaboratives and coalitions that are working to achieve equity in our most under-resourced communities. We have learned that when multi-year unrestricted funding is provided to organizations with clear and reasonable capacity goals and strategies, leaders are able to make the important investments in organizational infrastructure that are critical to their ongoing effectiveness. The Foundation believes that unrestricted funding is also essential to providing nonprofit leaders with the flexibility and nimbleness needed to effectively manage and respond to a dynamic environment. UOS is completely unrestricted funding.
In addition to UOS, we also provide limited funding for program related investments (PRIs) and Special Opportunity grants.
Throughout our grantmaking, we understand that every nonprofit operates in its own distinct context, and the even the strongest organizations have challenges. The Foundation recognizes that capacity needs may differ depending on where nonprofits are in their organizational lifecycle. We are therefore committed to supporting organizations at different budget sizes, levels of capacity, and infrastructure.
What to Expect When Working With Us
At the Weingart Foundation, we strive to provide excellent “customer service” to our nonprofit applicants and grantees. That means that our program staff are available to provide guidance and answer questions organizations might have about our grantmaking priorities, guidelines, and application processes. Although all of the Foundation’s program staff have prior experience working in the nonprofit sector, we all serve as generalists at the Foundation and believe nonprofit organizations understand best how to address the needs and opportunities facing the communities they serve.
Given the large volume of applications we review, we are typically unable to meet in person with organizations outside of the formal grant application process or attend nonprofit events. We are also unable to review drafts of letters of inquiry (LOIs) or applications before submission. Organizations with a question related to our process or guidelines should feel free to call or email us.
If your organization has reviewed our guidelines and is comfortable applying without contacting us, please feel free to do so. We review each application on the strength of its fit with our guidelines, and there is no special advantage for agencies that have called first.
For information on how to apply, click here.
Letter of Inquiry
After submitting an online LOI, you can expect to hear back from us within approximately four weeks. During that time, we may contact organizations for clarification or additional information regarding the LOI. If it is determined that the request meets the Foundation’s general guidelines and priorities, you will be provided with the instructions and a link to complete our online application, which is a continuation of your LOI.
All applications are first screened for completion and fit with Foundation guidelines. Applications are then assigned to our program officers, who conduct site visits with each applicant organization. Site visits, which typically take under two hours, are an opportunity for mutual learning and dialogue. Program officers then prepare a written assessment of the application’s fit with Foundation guidelines and present it to our team of program staff as part of a peer review process. After management review, this information is shared with our Board of Directors at one of five grantmaking Board meetings each year. Due to the high volume of requests, the entire process from LOI to Board meeting typically takes approximately six months.
After the Grant Has Been Awarded
Once a grant has been awarded, the grantee organization will receive a grant agreement via email for signature as well as specific information on report requirements and due dates. These reports are an important way for us to learn about the organization’s progress, as well as about any challenges. At a broader level, the reports also help us better understand how we can strengthen our grantmaking to support the capacity and effectiveness of grantees. We do not require additional communication from grantees. At the same time, we welcome timely updates regarding major organizational changes or requests for grant modifications.
Learning & Assessment
The Foundation began implementation of our Learning and Assessment Framework at the start of FY 2016. The framework is designed to assess how the Foundation’s unrestricted grants contribute to strengthening our grantees’ organizational effectiveness. What we learn through this framework will be used to inform our practices as a grantmaker and contribute to learnings for the field. As part of the framework, executive directors from grantee organizations will be asked to complete a grantee survey as part of their grant reporting requirements, described below.
For Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) grants over $25,000, executive directors from grantee organizations are asked to complete a Grantee Survey and engage in a close-out phone conversation with their Weingart Foundation program officer in lieu of a final report at the end of the grant period, which is typically two years. There are no interim reports required for UOS grants.
If Your Request Is Declined
In the event that your LOI or application is declined, we encourage you to call the Foundation for information regarding our decision. You may contact your assigned program officer or Angela Carr, grants manager, at (213) 688-6314 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We strive to be as transparent as possible and can share where an application may simply be outside of our funding guidelines or where it can be strengthened for a more competitive request in the future.