Effective April 13, 2016:
Temporary Hold on New Small Grant Program Applications

Our Small Grant Program focuses on increasing access to funding and strengthening the capacity of small, community-based, and developing organizations. As the Foundation continues to plan our FY 2017 grantmaking strategy, we expect changes to the Small Grant Program guidelines that will continue to refine our focus in order to have greater impact on the most vulnerable individuals and communities in our region. Therefore, during this planning period, we will not be accepting new grant applications to the Small Grant Program. Applications that have already been submitted (as of April 13, 2016) will be reviewed according to our current guidelines, process and timeline. Our updated Small Grant Program guidelines will be part of our FY 2017 Program Plan, which we will announce in July 2016. We understand that many nonprofits are interested in accessing Small Grant funds and appreciate your patience during this time.

Small Grant Program

Weingart Foundation is known for supporting nonprofit organizations addressing a wide range of needs in Southern California. Our grantees include small community-based organizations focused on a single neighborhood, large institutions serving the entire region, as well as organizations focused on advocacy and community organizing.

Definition and Purpose

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

The program is a good opportunity for organizations to introduce themselves to the Foundation, and allows us to expand the availability of our resources to nonprofits and geographical areas we might not otherwise reach. We believe that these grants provide important support for much needed services to diverse communities throughout Southern California.

General Grant Focus

Weingart Foundation considers applications from organizations working in the areas of health, human services and education. Highest priority is given to organizations that provide greater access for people who are economically disadvantaged and underserved. Typically, the Small Grant Program supports requests for agencies or for programs where at least 70% of those served are low-income. Of particular interest to the Foundation are applications that specifically address the needs of low-income children and youth, older adults, and people affected by disabilities and homelessness.

In the area of arts and culture, the Foundation specifically funds nonprofit organizations whose core mission and programs focus on providing comprehensive arts education for low-income and underserved populations. Programs should engage individuals over a period of time in a sequential series of interactions leading to a growth in knowledge, skill, level of appreciation, etc., and in the case of youth programs, should typically be aligned with core educational state standards. In general, we do not fund organizations that provide mainly one-time events such as attending a performance or visiting a museum, or short term programs consisting of a few interactions. Organizations where only one or two programs align with Foundation guidelines will generally not be competitive for funding.

Generally, requests from organizations with less than three years operating history in the Southern California region will not be considered at this time.

Geographic Area of Grant Focus

Weingart Foundation supports organizations providing services in the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles; Orange; Riverside; San Bernardino; Santa Barbara; and Ventura.

San Diego County Small Grant Program

The JCF-Weingart Grant Program conducted its last grantmaking cycle in 2015. Weingart Foundation will end its grantmaking in San Diego County after concluding the July-November 2015 grant cycle. For more information, click here.

Eligibility Criteria

An organization that is certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and is not a private foundation as defined in section 509(a) of that Code is eligible for consideration. The Foundation does not fund Section 509(a)(3) Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organizations.

Financial Documentation

  • Audited financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year are required of all organizations in existence for more than five years and with operating income of $500,000 or more.
  • Organizations with annual income under $500,000 or agencies founded within the last five years, if they do not have an audit, must submit an independent review of their financial statements, completed by a CPA.
  • Small Grant applicants that cannot meet the financial documentation requirements may be eligible for an exemption on a case by case basis upon review of the full application. Organizations do not need to specifically request this exemption, and can choose to submit an application with unaudited or internal financial statements with the understanding that if a grant were approved it would be as an exception to policy.

Board Governance. The role and function of each applicant’s governing board is an important element of our review process. Please click here for more information on Weingart Foundation’s perspective on nonprofit board best practices and our assessment of board governance.

Types of Support

The Small Grant Program provides support solely in the form of Unrestricted Operating Support grants, given our goal to strengthen organizations and to support their development. Unrestricted Operating Support is unrestricted funding that enables an organization to carry out its mission. It can be used, for example, to underwrite administrative infrastructure, implement a strategic plan, build or strengthen organizational capacity, and/or to maintain core programs and essential staff.

Generally, requests for start-up support will not be considered at this time.

Funding Amounts and Grant Duration

Maximum grant award is $25,000 for a 12-month period. However, given the high demand for funding, it should be noted that average SGP grant awards range between $10,000 and $15,000 and typically do not exceed 10% of an organizations operating budget.

Small grantees are eligible to apply for a second consecutive year funding through an abbreviated application and renewal process. Eligible grantees will receive an email from the Foundation upon the close of their current grant with detailed instructions on how to apply for a  renewal grant. There is no guarantee of renewed funding.

Generally, after two consecutive Small grants, agencies must wait one year after the close of the second grant to re-apply to the Small Grant Program.

Grant Limitations

Grants are not made:

  • To organizations that discriminate against certain groups or individuals in the delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.
  • For influencing legislation and/or elections, promoting voter registration; for political candidates, political campaigns.
  • For social or political issues outside the United States of America.
  • To individuals.
  • For temporary exhibits, travel, surveys, films or publishing activities.
  • For endowment funds.
  • For fundraising dinners or events.
  • For research.

Grants generally are not approved for:

  • National organizations that do not have local chapters operating in the geographic area of grant focus.
  • Religious programs, consumer interest or environmental advocacy.
  • Feasibility studies.

For More Information

If you have additional questions related to the Small Grant Program, please review our FAQs or contact one of our Small Grant Program team members: Eric Medina, Program Associate,, (213) 688-6316; Patricia Watkins, Program Associate,, (213) 688-6305.

For examples of organizations and projects that the Foundation has previously funded, we suggest that you review the listing of recent grants and in our most recent Annual Report available on our website.