Joint Message from our Chairman and our President
Introducing the FY 2018 Program Plan
One year ago, the Weingart Foundation announced our full commitment to advancing social and economic equity. This commitment is inspired by a vision of a Southern California where all people can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential—a place where diversity is celebrated and justice flourishes.
As we’ve begun filtering all of our financial and programmatic decisions through this equity lens, we’ve done a lot of listening and learning. We introduced several new strategies and appointed two new board members, Dr. Robert K. Ross and Miguel Santana, to help guide our efforts. And while a commitment to fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all Southern Californians has always been implied in our work, our grantmaking continues to evolve as we gain more clarity about what it really means to put equity at the center of everything we do.
We have increased our investments to organizations—direct service providers, community organizing groups, and policy advocates—strongly aligned with our commitment to dismantling systemic barriers. We have also struggled with, and in the end, declined requests from a number of valued long-time partners that are unfortunately no longer a fit with our focus. These organizations do important work, and it is with humility and deep respect that we acknowledge the limits of our funding. We hope that our support over the years has helped these groups strengthen their capacity to meet their missions.
We are still in the early days of this journey, and there is much to learn from the communities we serve, as well as our cross-sector partners. This past March, we sponsored the Achieving Equity convening that brought together national and regional thought leaders, social sector practitioners and activists who challenged us with their experience, expertise, and insight. The convening elevated the dialogue across sectors about the challenges and opportunities of creating equity, and resulted in a significant amount of learning and the identification of action steps for the future. The convening also provided the Foundation with an opportunity to use our voice to advocate for opening up new pathways of opportunity for those who have been left behind.
Today, it seems more important than ever to defend and advance core values of fairness and justice. As a nation, we have entered profoundly difficult times, where many of the underpinnings of our free society seem to be in jeopardy. In our conversations with nonprofit and community leaders, it’s clear there is a heightened sense of anxiety and confusion about what the future might bring given our new political reality. Many express concerns about losing the progress gained on issues such as health care and immigrant rights, as well as the possibility of significant reductions in government funding and the elimination of programs for the most vulnerable.
The FY 2018 Program Plan outlines our learning over the past 12 months, and most importantly, our plans for the coming year. We have attempted to design a Program Plan that responds to the concerns voiced by our nonprofit and community partners—addressing the imbalances we see across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines in our education, health, economic, and justice systems.
As outlined in the Program Plan, the Foundation remains committed to providing Unrestricted Operating Support in order to support nonprofits’ capacity and effectiveness. We believe that strong nonprofits and leaders rooted in the communities they serve are the best agents for lasting change, and should lead the way in fighting against systemic inequity. We have further refined our program guidelines and developed an equity lens to guide all our grant decisions. In FY 2018, the Foundation will increase our investments in South and Southeast Los Angeles—two historically under-resourced areas where there are growing opportunities for grassroots change. We will also commit greater dollars to our work ending homelessness, and supporting immigrant rights and integration.
We continue to move forward aggressively, challenging ourselves to work with a sense of urgency, and to take risks. Despite the significant challenges in front of us, we believe this era is ripe with potential for collective action toward creating a more fair and just society. Buoyed by an increase in activism and civic engagement in the communities served by the Foundation, we are fortified in our belief that we can create a better world.
We encourage you to join us.
President & CEO
Monica C. Lozano
Chairman of the Board
To read the FY 2018 Program Plan, click here.