FY 2016 Program Plan Assumptions

As a responsive grantmaker, Weingart Foundation works to ensure that our grantmaking programs, practices and policies are responding to and supporting the priority needs, challenges and opportunities of our grantees and the communities they serve. We identify these needs in a number of different ways.

As part of our ongoing grant review process, our program staff solicits and identifies key information and trends in the work of our grantees. In addition, we hold a number of focus groups and listening tours throughout the year, where we are able to have a more intimate and structured conversation with nonprofit leaders, capacity builders and funders. Organizations also provide us with unsolicited information through our “Tell Us What You Think” link on our website, where they can identify themselves or provide anonymous feedback. We also attend special convenings of funders and nonprofits, communicate with key thought leaders in the field, and review current reports and trends in the nonprofit and philanthropic literature.

This year, we piloted a new feedback tool, providing an opportunity for current grantees to participate on a conference call with Weingart Foundation President & CEO Fred Ali. More than 200 current grantees participated in the call and provided their candid perspectives.

All of this information is used to develop a list of Assumptions to guide our planning for the upcoming fiscal year. For FY2016, we have identified eight key assumptions listed below. Many of these Assumptions are similar to those from past years, primarily because the funding environment that supports the nonprofit sector continues to fall short in meeting the growing needs in our communities.

  • There is continued and growing demand for services for the poor and underserved.
  • The need exists to focus greater attention on critical issues that will impact the future of Southern California, including: child welfare; public education; immigrant integration; workforce development; re-entry; affordable and special needs housing; and youth development.
  • Growing disparity and service gaps exist in the distribution of nonprofit resources available to low-income individuals and communities.
  • After adjusting for inflation, private and public funding is still below pre-recession levels for the majority of Weingart Foundation grantees. Most notably, government funding for health and human service programs is uncertain, continues to decline and does not cover the full cost of services.
  • There are continuing challenges for nonprofits attempting to strengthen organizational capacity and effectiveness.
  • Nonprofits have a preference for multi-year, unrestricted funding when seeking grant support from Weingart Foundation. In addition, capital grant requests will continue to increase.
  • Nonprofits look to the Foundation to provide sector leadership, and advocate for improved grantmaking policies and practices in a number of areas.
  • There is a need for the Foundation to remain open to using a portion of its resources for special opportunities aligned with our mission and programmatic interests.

We welcome feedback on these Assumptions. For example, are our findings consistent with your organization’s experience, or do you have a different perspective? Are there important trends or factors that we are missing? To comment, click here.