In times of economic stress, nonprofit organizations are generally faced with increased demand for services, and reduced revenue. This was certainly the case in 2009, as continuing difficulties in the financial markets were compounded by a State budget crisis that led to significant reductions in support for nonprofit organizations. In response, our Board of Directors elected to maintain the Foundation’s grant payout level in Fiscal Year 2009, making over $44 million in grant payments. A list of Foundation grants can be found by clicking here.
In January 2009, the Foundation also announced a realignment of its grantmaking policies. This included a focus on providing core operating support grants to organizations that had been significantly impacted by the financial crisis, as well as an expansion of our Small Grant Program that serves community based organization in areas of particular need. The response to these changes was overwhelming, and despite our decision to maintain a very high grant budget, we could not meet all the demand.
During Fiscal Year 2009, the Foundation also continued its work in a number of Special Initiative areas including Developmental Disabilities, Homeless Healthcare, and Urban Public School Districts. These are important program areas in which the Foundation hopes to achieve special impact through a combination of targeted grant making, grantee convening, and peer learning.
In Fiscal Year 2010, we will continue to focus resources on core operating support grants, and have once again expanded the Small Grant Program. On a more limited basis, the Foundation will accept requests for project, capacity building, and capital support grants. In addition, the Foundation has embarked on a multidimensional capacity building project in Los Angeles County that will allow us to learn more about opportunities that foster organizational effectiveness, and improve our ability to support nonprofit organizations.
I want to thank the members of our Board and staff for their commitment and hard work. On behalf of the entire Weingart Foundation, I also want to commend the excellent work of our grantees, whose collective efforts result in a better Southern California.
Steven L. Soboroff