Corporate Giving in L.A., the Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate Way

With over $12 billion in annual sales volume and more than 14,000 real estate transactions per year, you’d expect big things from a corporate funder that’s one of the top five brokerages in the nation.

You should recognize the Berkshire Hathaway name from our Wall Street Donors coverage; however, the philanthropic arm of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is called The Charitable Foundation, which has provided over a thousand grants totaling over $4.4 million to local organizations in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

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Specifically, grants in Los Angeles are made in the funding categories of health, education, community, and environment. Although Los Angeles Chapter of the Charitable Foundation does support local causes, those causes often have a national and international reach. Take for example, TCF’s recent grant to a nonprofit in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles. TCF awarded a $30,000 grant to Children of the Night, the only full-service program in North America that rescues children from prostitution.

Over the years, TCF has ramped up support for nonprofits that it previously supported and that have proved their worth. In the example of Children of the Night, TCF donated $10,000 more this year than in 2014, which was $10,000 more than in 2013.

As you review TCF’s website, it’s not entirely clear how to apply for a grant and how welcome unsolicited grant inquiries really are. The funding guidelines page leaves a lot to be desired. There are no application forms to download online, nor are there any deadlines to adhere to. The best way to get in touch is by actually contacting the San Diego office, where the Charitable Foundation Administrator is located, at admin@thecharitablefoundation.net or 858-792-6085.

However, there are a few things that TCF simply won’t fund, and those things are politically-affiliated organizations, religiously-affiliated organizations, and private educational organizations. But remember, this isn’t a traditional corporate funder either. Remember that Children of the Night grant we were talking about? That $30,000 was raised at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties’ third annual summer celebration through a silent auction and raffles. So the funding is actually backed by real estate agents, which is a pretty interesting philanthropic model.

The Los Angeles Chapter of the foundation was established in 1995, making it the oldest chapter, followed by San Diego in 1999 and Orange County in 2007. Check out the list of Los Angeles Chapter grant recipients on the Contribution Recipients page. Surely, you’ll recognize a few names on there and yes, the chapter does seem to fund a little bit of everything.