What Are the Hilton Foundation’s Biggest Issues in L.A. Right Now?

A whopping $20.56 million in new grants was just announced by none other than the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. No big surprise, there. Hilton is a big, stalwart funder that just keeps pumping out the grants. It's a major player on the Los Angeles funding scene, even as it also gives nationally and internationally. This is a foundation, remember, that currently has assets of some $2.5 billion. And, as we've reported, that endowment is likely to double in coming yearswhich is good news for nonprofits in Hilton's home town. 

So where is the foundation's latest local money going? Here's a quick look. 

Substance Use Prevention

The Hilton Foundation takes a local approach to addressing substance use prevention in and around Los Angeles. In the most recent grant cycle, the California Community Foundation received $300,000 to support a partnership with Children's Hospital Los Angeles. This money is also funding a CCF collaboration with the L.A. Trust for Children’s Health to implement Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) at four school-based wellness centers in Los Angeles County.

The foundation mostly gives to substance use prevention programs that assist youth and young adults.

Foster Youth

Another big local issue for the Hilton Foundation is foster youth. The foundation awarded $1.2 million to the Aspen Institute to coordinate the launch of a program and to improve career pathways for foster and opportunity youth in Los Angeles. A $400,000 grant was also made to LeadersUp for a project that provides employer engagement strategies and workforce training to connect foster youth with careers in Los Angeles.

The foundation focuses much of its foster youth program on youth between the ages of 15 and 21.

Homelessness

Last but not least, the Hilton Foundation is still deeply committed to curbing homelessness in Los Angeles, as we've reported. To show this support, it awarded $550,000 to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to support organizational capacity building, community-wide program implementation, and technical assistance efforts to end homelessness.

In case you missed it, the Hilton Foundation also recently announced a $5.44 million grant to the UCLA WORLD Policy Analysis Center to create an initiative to train the next generation of world leaders and thinkers.

Hilton’s homelessness efforts are pretty much exclusively focused on Los Angeles County.

Related: U.N. Connection: Why Hilton and UCLA Are Linking Up to Support Future Leaders

Another piece of good news for local nonprofits is that Hilton is expecting to outdo itself in terms of grantmaking this year. 

“We are pleased and privileged to be providing more than $20 million in funds in just three months to organizations serving some of the most vulnerable populations in the world,” Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation, said in a press release. “At our current funding pace, we expect to surpass our 2015 grantmaking of $107.8 million in 2016.”

Of course, this is all just a hint of things to come, once the foundation expands in size. 

The foundation’s other focus areas that received grants in the first quarter of 2016 are hospitality, multiple sclerosis, Catholic sisters and schools, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and avoidable blindness. However, these grantmaking categories are less Los Angeles-specific.