What’s Behind the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation’s Halo Award?

Each year, the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation opens up an application for the Halo Award to strengthen volunteer efforts throughout Greater Los Angeles. Other than this award, Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation has remained somewhat of a mystery for grantseekers in Southern California. The foundation doesn’t have a website and doesn’t publicize any other grantmaking programs.

Related: Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

So what’s the deal with this Halo Award and how can you get your nonprofit involved with this local funder? The Deutsch Foundation has been around since 1997 and is based in Santa Monica. The Halo Award is a $25,000 grant that includes $20,000 for a nonprofit to strengthen and sustain its volunteer efforts, and a $5,000 award to a nominated volunteer who has gone "above and beyond" in volunteerism.

The scope of this award is incredibly broad and local nonprofits working in the following fields are encouraged to apply: arts education, homelessness prevention, mental health, career and college access & retention, early childhood education, veterans, foster youth and workforce development. 

The idea behind the award is to put resources behind a critical area for capacity building among Los Angeles nonprofits. And the leverage potential of this effort is obvious, since helping an organization draw in more volunteers can translate into much more than $25,000 worth of added value. 

But the foundation also emphasizes how the award celebrates the partnership between individual volunteers and the nonprofits with whom they work.

The foundation specifically looks for nonprofits that are working to boost their volunteer efforts and that can identify one particular volunteer to highlight as an example of the good work already being done. The deadline for this award is typically in July each year. After each grant is awarded, the foundation stays involved by providing technical assistance to develop and implement volunteer management plans with each organization. 

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles was one Halo Award recipient in 2011, and one of the organization’s most dedicated individuals, Marty Greenberger, was the featured volunteer. Marge Terhar and MEND, a 99 percent volunteer-driven nonprofit working to alleviate poverty, was a 2012 recipient. Seven separate nonprofit-volunteer teams won the Halo Award in 2011 and six in 2012.

At the end of 2012, the Deutsch Foundation reported just shy of $111 million in assets and nearly $5 million in total giving.

Nominations are only accepted from nonprofits working actively with volunteers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. Nonprofit founders are eligible for the award as long as that person is unpaid and actively serving the organization. Keep in mind that past winners are not eligible for future awards, and a Halo Award Committee comprising local nonprofit and Foundation leaders selects the winners.

General inquiries about the Halo Award can be directed to HaloAward@crdfoundation.org or by phone at 310-453-0055 ext. 6. The Foundation Center lists Janis Minton and the Deutsch Foundation’s Senior Advisor and Michelle Francois as the sole program officer.