FY 2017 Preliminary Program Plan Assumptions: Advancing Social and Economic Equity

For many years, the Weingart Foundation has focused our grantmaking on addressing the needs of low-income, underserved communities. Our mission statement and tagline, revised one year ago to more accurately reflect our grantmaking, read:

“The Weingart Foundation’s mission is to build a better Southern California by supporting
nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved.”

“We serve the underserved.”

Despite this focus, we see increasing and growing signs of inequity in the availability and quality of services for our most vulnerable people and communities. We see disparities associated with failing schools, disproportionate levels of incarceration, chronic unemployment, poor health outcomes, and underinvestment in poor neighborhoods of color. During our listening sessions, we frequently hear comments and concerns about the “gaping holes in our safety net” that reinforce the view that Southern California is increasingly being divided into separate and unequal places. Accordingly, we have added a focus on advancing social and economic equity to the FY 2017 Planning Assumptions listed below.

  • Continued and growing demand for services to low-income and underserved individuals and communities, and the inability of many community-based organizations to meet this need.
  • Growing disparity and service gaps in the distribution of nonprofit resources, resulting in an overconcentration of services in some areas, and the lack of resources in others.
  • Continuing infrastructure challenges that limit nonprofit effectiveness, including insufficient unrestricted funding, limited operating reserves, and the failure of government as well as private funders to support the full cost of providing services.
  • A pressing need to focus greater attention on critical issues that are associated with the growing inequity and inequality of opportunity in Southern California, including: child welfare; immigrant integration; workforce development; post-incarceration re-entry; homelessness; and youth development.
  • Demand for Weingart Foundation leadership in two key areas: 1) improved grantmaking policy and practice that supports and strengthens the nonprofit sector, especially in under-resourced communities, and 2) policy and advocacy efforts that address the root causes of inequality by advancing equity and increasing services to the underserved.

We welcome and encourage 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? Feedback from the nonprofit sector is very important as we work to finalize our Assumptions in the next couple of months. The final Assumptions will guide our FY 2017 Program Plan, which will be released and shared on our website in July 2016, at the start of the Foundation’s upcoming fiscal year. To comment, click here.