Fiscal Year 2016 Program Plan

Weingart Foundation believes that funders are most effective when we solicit and incorporate feedback from grantees and applicants into our grantmaking plans. Accordingly, our program planning process begins annually with identifying needs, opportunities and trends within the Southern California nonprofit community, primarily through frequent and ongoing communication with our grantees. We also conduct focus groups on topics of interest, sponsor or attend special convenings of funders and nonprofits, communicate with key thought leaders in the field, and carefully review current trends in the nonprofit and philanthropic literature.

This process results in the development of a set of assumptions about the nonprofit and philanthropic environment, which we use to inform our grant planning. Every March, our Board of Directors and staff meet for two days to discuss and refine these assumptions, and we begin the process of developing our strategic grantmaking priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. In March 2015, our draft FY 2016 Planning Assumptions were published on the Foundation’s website in order to solicit review and comment. We are now pleased to publish a summary of our completed Program Plan for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016).


The new formal mission statement of the Foundation reads as follows:

To build a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved.

In order to achieve this mission, the Foundation:

  • Provides grants and other support designed to improve the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations delivering quality services in the areas of health, human services, and education for people and communities in need;

  • Exercises leadership on issues that strengthen and support the nonprofit sector, and the ability of nonprofit organizations to achieve their missions and desired outcomes. This includes advocating for support for programs, policies, and services that address the needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities; and

  • Gives highest priority to activities that provide greater access to people and communities who are economically disadvantaged and underserved.


Weingart Foundation engages in the following practices that help strengthen and support the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector:

  • The Foundation prioritizes multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support grants as our primary strategy for building capacity, and supports full cost funding for program grants. ("Full cost funding" is the practice of ensuring that an organization recovers the total cost of delivering a service or project, including indirect and administrative expenses.)

  • Whenever feasible, the Foundation also looks for opportunities to leverage resources through collaboration with other private and public funders.

  • We strive to publish clear and complete grant guidelines and structure application and reporting requirements that are commensurate with the amount of funds to be granted.

  • We survey and engage our grantees and applicants on a regular basis, using their feedback to continuously learn, refine and improve our grantmaking processes and practices.

  • The Foundation is also committed to focusing our resources on activities that produce results. This involves funding organizations that demonstrate ability and commitment to achieving strong governance, leadership, management, and effective practices, along with clearly defined organizational and program objectives that are consistent with our mission and focus.


  • Addressing the needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities.

  • Respecting the work of our grantees.

  • Funding organizations that produce results.

  • Using leverage and collaboration for greater impact.

  • Ongoing assessment, learning, and improvement.

  • Being transparent about mission, grant focus, guidelines, and funding decisions.

  • Maintaining a Board of Directors and staff that reflect the diversity of Southern California.

  • Exercising leadership on issues of importance to the Foundation.


  • There is continued and growing demand for services to low-income and underserved individuals and communities.

  • 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 operating 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.


Successful Weingart Foundation grantees have and/or demonstrate the commitment to achieving:

  • A clear mission and vision;

  • A qualified, engaged and supportive board of directors;

  • Strong leadership and management;

  • A well trained and supported staff;

  • Programs and services that are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of its clients;
  • A board of directors and staff that reflect the diversity of people and key interests of the communities served;
  • A process to solicit and utilize client feedback;
  • A strategy to accomplish its mission, operate programs that produce positive
    outcomes, and learn from results;

  • The ability to identify and adapt to internal and external changes;

  • A funding model that can support core programs and services;

  • An appropriate level of cash reserves to sustain the organization.

Unrestricted Operating Support Grants

In order to build nonprofit capacity and effectiveness, priority will continue to be given to multi-year Unrestricted Operating Support funding requests. Our Unrestricted Operating Support grant program is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting and strengthening the organizational, programmatic and advocacy capacity of our grantees. (Previously, Unrestricted Operating Supporting was known as Core Support funding. The name was recently changed to more accurately reflect the nature of our funding program. The grant guidelines for this type of support have not changed.)

  • The size of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant will generally range between $75,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on a number of factors including the budget size of the organization, and the specific needs and opportunities facing each applicant.

  • In addition to meeting normal screening requirements, applicants for Unrestricted Operating Support grants will be evaluated against the following criteria:

    • Are established, well managed, and financially viable organizations that operate effective programs that serve the needs of low-income, economically disadvantaged, and underserved communities;
    • Have developed specific and realistic short and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs;
    • Can demonstrate how an Unrestricted Operating Support grant could have a measurable impact on their organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness;
    • A grant would provide the opportunity to build upon prior WF grants/investments to the organization.

  • Operating Reserves: On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the grantee, program officers may recommend restricting a portion of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant for a grantee’s operating reserve. Operating reserve set-asides are typically recommended when an applicant is seeking to seed or build its reserve fund, and are usually conditional on a match in private fundraising and the existence of a board-approved organizational policy on the use and maintenance of the reserve.

Capital Grants

Capital funding will be generally restricted for projects that are in or about to start construction, in the final phase of fund raising, and where the Foundation's grant would be able to be used immediately. Applicants must also demonstrate how they will support the costs associated with operating new or enhanced facilities. Capital grant requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation's Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) stage before being invited to submit a full application.

Special Project Grants

On a selective basis, the Foundation will consider Special Project funding for high-impact projects that are aligned with the mission and grant focus of the Foundation and offer the potential to produce significant benefit to low-income and underserved individuals and communities in the Foundation's service area.

  • At each Foundation Board of Directors meeting, Management will provide a report on Special Project grants under review, inviting feedback and questions.

  • All requests of $500,000 or more will be previewed with the Foundation's Board of Directors at the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) stage before being invited to submit a full application.

  • Given the highly competitive nature of this funding, Special Project applications will only be presented to our Board of Directors at the Foundation's December and June meetings.

  • High priority will be given for projects that "expand" or "provide access to" needed programs and services in high-poverty, under-resourced communities.
  • Special Project Guidelines:

    • Program development, enhancement and/or expansion requests;
    • Innovative new program ideas attempting to “prove concept,” as well as “proven” programs attempting to scale or replicate;
    • Requests accepted from individual organizations as well as a collaborative of organizations;
    • Leverage will be encouraged by limiting Weingart Foundation’s contribution to generally no more than 30% of the project budget;
    • Applications must include an evaluation (learning and assessment) component;
    • Applications must include a funding model that describes how the project will be continued after the grant period;
    • As appropriate, multi-year funding requests are encouraged.

Foundation Initiatives

Through our listening, learning and planning process, the Foundation has identified and developed strategies to address important issues aligned with the mission and grant focus of the Foundation. While grantmaking in these areas will be initiated by the Foundation, we invite comments and suggestions.

In addition to the five Initiatives described below, the Foundation is in the earlier phases of planning and exploration for three additional areas of interest: 1) A South Los Angeles anchor institution strategy, 2) Improving teaching and learning within LAUSD Schools, and 3) Support of effective re-entry programs. As these strategies become more fully developed, additional information will be published on the Foundation’s website.

1. Child Welfare

Goal: To improve the welfare and safety of children under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County.

Strategy: 1) Support for the creation of a Philanthropic Liaison position within the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection; 2) Support to increase the number of foster homes through better coordinated retention, recruitment and referral efforts; and 3) Support for nonprofit and funder collaboratives and projects designed to improve outcomes for youth in foster care and other County systems, including probation.

Projected Results:

  • Increased coordination between philanthropy and County entities engaged in child welfare resulting in the targeted investment of private funds to improve to County systems involving children, including the foster care and probation systems;
  • An increase in the number of foster homes through better coordinated recruitment and referral efforts of new foster parents and improved retention of current foster homes;
  • Leveraging of Weingart Foundation dollars through participation in existing effective funder and nonprofit collaboratives.

2. Full Cost Recovery For Nonprofit Organizations

Goal: To strengthen nonprofit capacity and organizational effectiveness by advocating for full cost recovery from philanthropy and government.

Strategy: 1) State-wide funder collaborative focused on education, advocacy and skills-building to engage, educate, and advocate for change in the practices and policies of private foundations to support the full costs of project grants; 2) State-wide initiative to strengthen the skills of nonprofit organizations to better understand, calculate and advocate for full-cost recovery from both private and public funders, and 3) State and local advocacy to ensure that new Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rules regarding indirect costs and other contracting requirements are fully and properly implemented at the State, City, and County level in Los Angeles.

Projected Results:

  • Achieve full and proper implementation of the new OMB rules at the State level and at the City and County levels in Los Angeles.
  • Increase the number of private funders implementing changes to their policies and practice in support of full-cost funding.
  • Strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations by increasing support for the full costs of their work.
  • Build the skills of individual foundation staff to implement policies and practices in support of full cost funding.
  • Build the skills and capacity of the nonprofit sector in calculating and advocating for full cost recovery.
  • Establish the groundwork for larger change and reform around nonprofit government contracting.
  • Be a leader and example for other states on the issue of supporting full costs by both public and private funders.

3. Immigrant Integration

Goal: To provide funding to support immigrant integration outreach and enrollment activities and organizational development efforts in Southern California.

Strategy: Provide funding to support: 1) Ongoing DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) enrollment; 2) Ongoing Administrative Relief preparation efforts in Los Angeles County; consideration of support to local nonprofit collaborative efforts working on Administrative Relief that are based in Orange County and in Riverside and San Bernardino counties; 3) Outreach and application assistance for health care and driver’s licenses; 4) Continued work supporting unaccompanied children; 5) Naturalization, citizenship, and nonpartisan civic engagement efforts; and 6) Continued consideration of unrestricted operating and project-based funding through the Foundation's responsive grantmaking process to support the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations working on immigrant integration issues.

Projected Results:

  • A minimum of 100,000 Southern Californians will be educated about and provided with enrollment assistance for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and for DACA.
  • A minimum of 100,000 Southern Californians will also be connected to opportunities for driver's licenses, health care, and other integration opportunities.
  • Key nonprofits working with low-income immigrant communities will be able to sustain themselves organizationally while responding to significant program demands.

4. Supportive Housing

Goal: To provide funding to efficiently and effectively house the homeless in Los Angeles County.

Strategy: 1) Over a two-year period, support one-time move-in costs needed to house chronically homeless patients of the Department of Health Services (DHS) in supportive housing in Los Angeles County. The program will be implemented through a grant to the DHS nonprofit housing intermediary; 2) Remain active and continue to provide multi-year funding as part of The Home for Good Funders Collaborative in Los Angeles. To date, the Collaborative, including Weingart funding has raised over $18 million in private funding, leveraging an additional $420 million in public resources, which has supported over 19,000 homeless individuals being housed. Grant funds will likely provide comprehensive support services for homeless individuals placed in permanent housing, as well as enhancements to the Coordinated Entry System.

Projected Results:

  • Approximately 750 long-term homeless DHS patients will be placed in supportive housing with move-in assistance funding, leveraging approximately $24 million in public health savings over a one-year period.
  • A continuation through the Funders Collaborative of coordinated planning, service delivery, advocacy, and resource development for permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
  • A minimum of 1,200 homeless individuals will be permanently housed with supportive services in Los Angeles County.

5. Vulnerable and At-Risk Youth – PropelNext California Initiative

Goal: To help organizations serving Southern California’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth to strengthen their program models and incorporate the use of data and evaluation for ongoing learning and improvement to attain better outcomes for the youth they serve.

Strategy: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Sobrato Family Foundation, and Weingart Foundation have joined with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) to replicate EMCF’s innovative capacity building program, PropelNext, in California. PropelNext is exploring new, efficient and effective ways funders can support nonprofits along their journey to improved performance and enhanced results. The PropelNext California Partnership will work with a cohort of 15 California youth-serving nonprofit organizations (six in Weingart’s service area) to develop the mastery to use and apply data for ongoing learning and improvement.

The three-year PropelNext program will include five components that integrate: 1) multi-year unrestricted funding; 2) group learning sessions; 3) individualized coaching; 4) performance management; and 5) a peer network.

Projected Results: Upon completion of the PropelNext program:

  • Grantees will have enhanced their program models, implemented strong performance management systems, and developed organizational cultures that practice ongoing learning and evaluation.
  • Grantees will be able to set strategic priorities informed by data and improved decision-making, and use evidence to increase support for their work.
  • Ultimately, it is hoped that the life prospects of many disadvantaged youth will be improved by the development of even smarter and stronger organizations.

The Foundation will also develop strategies to assess its work in each of these targeted areas, and will share key updates and learnings with the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Program Related Investments

Based on individual circumstances and as an alternative to a grant, the Foundation will consider a limited number of Program Related Investments (below market loans) to select organizations for the capital needed to maintain or expand facilities and/or services to underserved individuals and communities.

Small Grant Program

The Small Grant Program (SGP) aims to increase access to funding and strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of small, community based, and developing organizations, with priority given to organizations with operating budgets under $1 million.

  • The Foundation will attempt to achieve an average grant size of $15,000 in the SGP, with the maximum grant size at $25,000;

  • The program will prioritize Unrestricted Operating Support grants as the sole type of grantmaking in the SGP.

San Diego County Small Grant Program

The JCF-Weingart Grant Program for San Diego nonprofits will conduct its last grantmaking cycle in 2015. Weingart Foundation will end its grantmaking in San Diego County after concluding the July-November 2015 grant cycle, including monitoring all grants until their close at the end of 2016.

Weingart Foundation’s decision to close the program was a difficult one, made after much thought and consideration as part of an overall strategic planning process. This decision was especially difficult given the success of the grant program over the last few years. The Foundation’s Board of Directors ultimately decided that, at this time, the Foundation will focus its resources in areas closer to its geographic base in Los Angeles.


  • Our grant payout target for FY 2016 is projected at $37 million, and we anticipate a qualifying distribution ratio of approximately 5%;

  • To the maximum extent possible, approved grants will be paid out immediately;

  • Grant guidelines will remain as stable as possible, and communication with grantees and grant-seekers will be maintained at a high level to ensure funding guidelines are clear and responsive;

  • Based on a strategic review of its grantmaking in Santa Barbara County, the Foundation has adopted the following policy:

    The Foundation will continue to target 60% (over a five-year period) of our Santa Barbara County grantmaking to organizations in the northern region of the County that provide programs and services to low-income and underserved individuals and communities.


The Foundation will exercise leadership on issues that strengthen and support the nonprofit sector, and the ability of nonprofit organizations to achieve their missions and desired outcomes.

  • Participate in and provide support for activities of field-building organizations working to improve nonprofit and philanthropic effectiveness. This would include the Center for Philanthropy and Public Policy, Southern California Grantmakers, the CalNonprofits, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and the Foundation Center.

  • Support efforts to change and improve government and private funder practices that limit nonprofit organizational effectiveness. This would include:
    • Advocating for the wider adoption of unrestricted funding;
    • Increasing support for capacity building activities;
    • Encouraging public and private funders to support the full costs of achieving program outcomes (see the Foundation’s initiative focused on full cost recovery for nonprofit organizations);
    • Improving nonprofit government contracting practices and policies;
    • Making grant application and reporting processes commensurate to the size of the grant.

  • Encourage funders to adopt ongoing and transparent communication practices with applicants and grantees, including a process to obtain nonprofit feedback to help inform funders' grantmaking programs and strategies.

  • Advocate for support of programs, policies, and services that address the needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities, including funding advocacy and community organizing.


Weingart Foundation has always held "learning" as a core organizational value. In FY 2014, our Board of Directors approved the following Learning and Assessment Framework, which is designed to comprehensively assess how the Foundation’s Unrestricted Operating Support furthers the organizational effectiveness of our grantees. The development and implementation of this new framework further solidifies our systematic practice in the area of learning.

Weingart Foundation Learning and Assessment Framework

Grantees will be better able and more effective in addressing needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities Maintain a grantmaking program that responds to organizational and programmatic need as identified by our grantees Maintain policy and practice to help grantees better provide and sustain their programs and services Exercise leadership in the nonprofit and philanthropic community to influence policy and practice

In FY 2015, the Foundation continued its planning and testing of the framework. This included the development of a system and new tools to implement the framework. Grantees and Foundation staff helped develop and pilot the tools, and we will fully implement the new Learning and Assessment Framework at the start of FY 2016.

Program Learning

In addition to the implementation of our new Learning and Assessment Framework in FY 2016, the Foundation will also continue to engage in the following learning activities:

  • Subject matter experts will continue to be invited to meet with the Board and staff to discuss areas of interest. Information gained at these meetings will be incorporated into the grantmaking planning process, as occurred in FY 2015 with the development of a number of Foundation Initiatives;

  • Opportunities will be explored to continue convening grantees and funders to discuss issues of importance to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors;

  • As part of the Foundation’s ongoing planning process, “listening sessions” and other means to get nonprofit feedback will continue to be conducted with grantees to identify challenges and opportunities, review planning assumptions, receive recommendations for future programming, and obtain feedback on our current practices and policies. We will conduct one listening session each month between September and December 2015.

  • The Foundation plans on conducting its next Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey through The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) in FY 2017. This will give our applicants and grantees time to assess any recent and upcoming refinements to our grantmaking process, including the introduction of the new Learning and Assessment system in FY 2016. The previous CEP survey was conducted in Sept-Oct of 2013, and CEP recommends that the survey be conducted every two to three years. This perception information is very important for planning purposes and for continued improvement of our policies and practices.



In keeping with the mission and values of Weingart Foundation, the overarching goal of the Foundation’s communications is to provide information and transparency regarding our grantmaking to the nonprofit community. The Foundation’s primary objective is to enable our grantee community (current and potential grantees) to become more knowledgeable about the work and guidelines of the Foundation, as well as to improve their overall effectiveness. In all cases, the primary focus of our communications is on the needs and programs of our grantees.

Secondarily, the Foundation’s goal is to communicate with the greater philanthropic community and other interested parties regarding lessons learned in our grantmaking practices. As a learning organization, the Foundation seeks to share information and promote collaboration with funding colleagues including other foundations, individual philanthropists and public funding sources.


The Foundation believes that funders are most effective when they solicit and incorporate feedback from their grantees and applicants into their grantmaking. For this reason, we are committed to thoughtful and transparent communications with grantees.

The Foundation’s website serves as a critical resource for individuals to learn about Weingart Foundation, including who we are and what we do. As such, the website is the cornerstone of our communications efforts. We strive to maintain clear and easily accessible information regarding: the Foundation’s mission, goals, and values; our grantmaking practice, priorities and guidelines; the process for applying and how to contact us. The website is also growing as a venue for grantees and the philanthropic community to access information on the field. Additionally, the website is a vehicle for ongoing two-way communications providing individuals with the ability to provide anonymous feedback through a link on our homepage.

In addition to the website and the grantmaking process, the Foundation proactively engages grantees and the larger nonprofit and philanthropic communities in direct communication. We conduct regular “listening tours” in the grantee community, sponsor, attend or present at special funder and nonprofit convenings, and communicate with key philanthropic and civic thought leaders. The Foundation also sponsors or presents research on the critical issues facing the nonprofit sector and disseminates this information to both our grantee and funder audiences.

In all of our communications, we are committed to maintaining high-quality interactions, clarity of messages and a strong commitment to responsiveness.

FY 2016 Areas of Focus

In alignment with the FY 2016 Program Plan, the Foundation’s Communications Strategy will prioritize:

  • The importance of Unrestricted Operating Support in strengthening organizational capacity and effectiveness;
  • The need for public and private funders to support full-cost funding for program grants and contracts;
  • The need to increase support for nonprofit capacity building activities;
  • Clearly communicating and soliciting feedback related to the Foundation’s new Learning and Assessment Framework;
  • Sharing information and results on the Foundation’s Initiatives;
  • Sharing resources that support nonprofits’ efforts to increase the capacity and effectiveness of their organizations;
  • Continued engagement and feedback from applicants and grantees to continuously learn, refine and improve our grantmaking practice and refine our grantmaking strategies;
  • Advocating for policies and practices that support nonprofit effectiveness to better support the needs of low-income and underserved individuals and communities.

The Foundation may explore opportunities to place articles in the nonprofit and philanthropic trade press on issues of importance to the Weingart Foundation and the local nonprofit/philanthropic sector. The process for Board review of such external communications is outlined below. Whenever possible, the Foundation will use “stories” and examples from our grantee population to illustrate our work.


The FY 2016 Program Plan is intended as a guideline and may be adjusted throughout the year in response to changes in the internal and external environments.

We welcome your feedback. To comment, please click here.