F.Y. 2021 Program Plan
Announcing the Weingart Foundation’s F.Y. 2021 Program Plan
July 21, 2020
In August 2020, I will begin my 22nd year as the President of the Weingart Foundation—and the work has never been harder.
Simply stated, we had too much inequality and injustice before the pandemic, and now we have more. COVID-19 has put deep-rooted structural racism on full display, and the disproportionate impact of the crisis on our most vulnerable and marginalized communities has been devastating.
Simultaneously, the growing and potentially transformative movements around Black lives and racial and socioeconomic justice are creating historic opportunities for change. We stand with communities powerfully advocating for change and will continue to use our voice to advance racial equity and justice. It is also important that we act with humility and center the voices of communities of color—including youth—in everything we do. We pledge to use our privilege, resources, and influence to address structural and systemic issues, and to deeply invest in and follow the leadership of impacted communities.
The Foundation’s immediate response to the pandemic focused on providing emergency response funding, providing direct assistance to individuals. We quickly and strategically made over $2 million in emergency response grants throughout our service area, and sought the advice of our nonprofit partners for a longer-term effort. Not surprisingly, nonprofit leaders stressed the importance of unrestricted, multi-year operating support. We also helped initiate a cross-sectoral planning process designed to ensure a just recovery and advance systemic change, and maintained our support for Bold Vision 2028, an ambitious initiative focused on youth of color.
In the current fiscal year, which started July 1, we will focus on nonprofits’ longer-term needs. Our F.Y. 2021 Program Plan outlines our goal to distribute over $20 million in Unrestricted Operating Support grants to core partners in order to help them maintain and strengthen capacity and—most importantly—to build power. We will also allocate additional resources to make program related investments, maintain flexibility to respond to emerging needs, and sustain our Youth Organizing and John W. Mack Fellows programs. The Foundation will continue to target resources to the historically underfunded communities of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles, and to the issue areas of Immigrant/Refugee Rights, Housing and Homelessness, and Nonprofit Effectiveness. Cutting across all of our grantmaking and program investments will be a focus on addressing the structural racism and socioeconomic injustice exposed by this crisis.
A just recovery must move resources and power to the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society, and it will require that we change the systems that are no longer working. This is no easy task, but real change is both necessary and possible. We look forward to working with our partners to advance the vision of a caring, safe, and thriving society through this crisis and beyond.
President & CEO
NOTE: The Weingart Foundation will be hosting a webinar in September to walk through the F.Y. 2021 Program Plan and answer your questions. More information will be coming soon.
The Weingart Foundation’s F.Y. 2021 Program Plan prioritizes our ongoing commitments to developing strong and sustainable nonprofits that advance racial, social, and economic justice. Our planning assumptions highlight the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color, and our program strategies focus on the critical role nonprofit organizations will play in recovery efforts.
Most importantly, the Foundation recognizes the need to address profound systems and structural inequities that have been exposed by the pandemic and by the recent uprisings. We commit to sustained support to address racism in all forms—with a focus on anti-Black racism—and to invest in long-term community power building. Ultimately, our focus will be on addressing structural racism and socioeconomic injustice, including ableism, across all of our work.
- The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating deep-rooted racial, social, and economic disparities.
- Low-income communities of color will disproportionately bear the impact of the crisis, resulting in critical service needs.
- Responses to such crises are often broad and do not take into account root causes of these disparities, leaving vulnerable communities behind.
- The crisis provides an opportunity to organize around and advocate for long-term systems change to achieve social justice.
- Nonprofit organizations will need flexible dollars and targeted support to sustain organizational infrastructure and capacity to respond effectively.
While Unrestricted Operating Support (U.O.S.) is always important, in times of crisis it becomes even more critical. During F.Y. 2021, U.O.S. will become our primary strategy for supporting our nonprofit partners. We will distribute $20 million in U.O.S. grants to core partners to maintain and strengthen capacity and—most importantly—to build power. This represents an increase from previous years, as we maximize the level of flexible dollars awarded in this challenging time. We trust our nonprofit leaders to use this funding to respond effectively to the organizational challenges and community needs that have been magnified by the COVID-19 crisis.
In order to expedite unrestricted funding to current and recent grantees, and minimize the requirements associated with normal application processes, we have made some important changes. The Foundation has suspended our practice of accepting unsolicited grant proposals, and instead will use an invitation-only process and significantly shorten and streamline application requirements. These changes were informed by conversations with nonprofit partners and we are grateful for the important and actionable feedback we received.
We will also maintain flexibility to respond to emerging needs through our Strategic Opportunity Fund, and provide loans through our Program Related Investment Fund. Following a very successful inaugural year, our Youth Organizing and the John W. Mack Fellows programs will continue. As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, these initiatives have been modified to work in a virtual environment. The Foundation will also maintain our special focus on South Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, Immigrant/Refugee Rights and Integration, Housing and Homelessness, and Strengthening Nonprofit Effectiveness.
Our commitment to equity requires that all of our policies and practices align with our focus on advancing fairness, inclusion, and opportunity. Just as our grantmaking has evolved because of this commitment, we have also significantly adjusted our investment and financial strategies, as well as our administrative practices. We have significantly increased mission investments, and we are excluding investments in areas like firearms, tobacco, private prisons, and activity that harms the environment. Similarly, our board development, hiring, and selection of vendors reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As the Foundation continues to monitor developments, our strategies may be adjusted over the course of the year in order to better support our nonprofit partners and the communities they serve. Please see below for additional information on our F.Y. 2021 Program Strategies.
Grants and P.R.I.s
Areas of Special Interest
Leadership, Voice, and Influence
The Weingart Foundation partners with communities across Southern California to advance racial, social, and economic justice for all. We aim to support and grow a dynamic and effective social change sector in Southern California that is creating equitable systems and structures needed to achieve justice.
For more information on our values and practices, click here.