Update on Greenlining Foundation Grantmaking in California: Big Progress or only the Appearance of Progress?

Print Share on LinkedIn More

After all of the sturm und drang from both the foundation sector and advocates about increased grantmaking for racial diversity, the reaction to the foundations’ plan has been ho-hum, almost negligible.  It may be that in the aftermath of the June 2008 deal between the foundations and the legislature, the economy collapsed, the endowments of many foundations shrunk 20 to 40 percent, and all concerned are focused differently–on the economic survival and recovery of communities.  Has racial equity in philanthropy, once described by leading figures at the Council on Foundations as the challenge facing the foundation sector, taken a back seat to what some might think of as more fundamental policy and practice issues?

Or maybe it is that after 6 months of deliberations, the resulting program commitments in the foundations’ report are not all that impressive, or as groundbreaking as some might have anticipated.  One wag suggested that the lackluster response to proposed commitments is because they are the appearance of activity, not major strides toward redressing the problems of people of color-led organizations in foundation grantmaking.

Be your own judge.  Here is the chart of the commitments from 9 large California foundations:

Foundation “New and Enhanced” Grantmaking Commitments New Foundation Process and Practice Commitments
Ahmanson Foundation *Provide (unspecified) funding for grassroots orgs’ executive directors and board chairs to attend appropriate seminars *Train Ahmanson staff

*Update Ahmanson website so that grassroots groups can become familiar with the foundation

*Seek out organizations that would like to attend seminars

*Work with grantmaker associations to provide seminars that will “better nonprofits”

Annenberg Foundation $3.2 m over 2 years to include:

*Small grants program funding (unspecified) for gen op grants

*Increase from 4 to 8 per year the number of Annenberg Nonprofit Leadership Seminar

*Double the capacity of the Project Grantsmanship workshops

*Fall 2009 “Peer to Peer” LA Networking Forum to foster positive dialogue

The California Endowment *Partnership w/California Wellness and Weingart to provide core support to small minority-led organizations through Liberty Hill Foundation and an additional unnamed regrantor ($1m over 2 years)

*$6m over 2 years for place-based capacity building and leadership development for POC-led organizations

*$100,000 for the Diversity in Philanthropy Project

*Conduct internal Diversity Audit

*Up to $250,000 for California grantmaker associations for leadership/capacity-building of minority-led organizations

*Up to $300,000 to explore role of foundation affinity groups as bridge to philanthropy for needs of disenfranchised populations

California Wellness Foundation *$200,000 2-year grant to CompassPoint for leadership development training in SF Bay Area

*$1m 2-year grant to Liberty Hill Foundation (with Weingart and California Endowment) for regranting capacity-building

*No plans to change TCWF open application process (1-page letters of interest)

*Seeks to engage for board and staff persons reflecting diversity, pluralism, inclusiveness

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation *$3.5m over 3 years in organizations serving people of color and low-income communities (in conjunction with Irvine and Packard foundations) *Reviewing program portfolios to target organizations that would benefit from gen op and capacity-building support
James Irvine Foundation *$2.5m over 3 years (in conjunction with Hewlett and Packard foundations) to provide small/mid-sized minority-led organizations with core support

*Unspecified investments in leadership and growth capacity of community-based organizations

*Addt’l $2.8m over 3 years to expand the Families Improving Education Initiative to the Inland Empire

*Expand College and Career Connections Fund to other regions (unspecified amt.) after pilot program in the Inland Empire

*$1m for Creative Connections Fund in 2009 to target diverse artistic expressions

David and Lucile Packard Foundation *$1m annually for Organizational Effectiveness program for leadership development and capacity building for organizations serving low-income and communities of color

*$2-3m over 3 years (in conjunction with Hewlett and Irvine foundations) to provide core support and TA to small, “often” minority-led organizations

*Be more intentional about advancing diversity and inclusion as part of strategies in foundation programs such as Agriculture and the Environment, Land and Water Conservation, After-School Programs for Children and Youth, Philanthropic Sector Improvement, Nonprofit Capacity-Building, Early Childhood Development, and grantmaking in five Central Coast counties
UniHealth Foundation *$500,000 in 2009 for enhancing organizational capacity of community clinics serving “safety net” populations

*$300,000 in 2009 to fund 6 medical school scholarships for students for students to practice in medically underserved communities

*$50,000 in 2009 for enrolment of bilingual medical graduates in UniHealth’s International Medical Graduate Program

*$50,000 in 2009 for programs fostering awareness of career opportunities in healthcare (through the UCLA Healthcare Management Program)

*$50,000 in 2009 for intermediary organizations to assist smaller providers of healthcare services

*Listen to and learn from iterative process with all eligible grantees

*Promote cultural competency in provision of healthcare services

Weingart Foundation *Up to $1m over 3 years for increased gen op grants up to $25,000 for capacity-building for community-based and minority-led organizations

*$250,000 or more in funding for partnerships with community-based groups for outreach to groups in South LA, East LA, the Inland Empire, and the North San Fernando Valley

*$1m over 2 years (in conjunction with Wellness and the Endowment) for capacity-building regranting through Liberty Hill Foundation

*Unspecified capacity-building grant support to Southern California Grantmakers to engage other funders on systemic issues

*Expanding the availability of general operating support in 2009