California Community Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The California Community Foundation (CCF) focuses nearly all of its grantmaking on underserved populations in Los Angeles. Each program focus area has its own straightforward set of deadlines, and all program areas are open to unsolicited proposals.

IP TAKE: Review the "eligibility" section in your program area on the CCF website. The foundation specifies the types of programs it considers to be competitive, so you can use this as a guide to construct your proposal. The program staff is very accessible for grantseekers, which is helpful if you'd like extra clarification.

PROFILE: The California Community Foundation is a major funder in the region, and it has given out around $2 billion in grants. Today, the foundation has manages around $1.5 billion in assets within 1,600 charitable funds.

A few specifics: The priority areas are the arts, civic engagement, housing and economic opportunity, health, youth empowerment, and transit development. However, the funder is also concerned with immigrant integration, community building, the education pipeline, and nonprofit sustainability. Both core operating support and project support are available. And it gives priority to community-based solutions for problems faced by specific populations in Greater Los Angeles.

CCF has been around since 1915, traditionally giving out about 10% to 20% of its assets each year. Joe Satori, who was the head of Security Pacific Bank, founded CCF and established a legacy fund of $1 million that is still active today. It was known as the "typewriter foundation" for many of the early years because its grantmaking was primarily devoted to technical equipment and capital building. Although the foundation's name might suggest a broader regional focus, its mission is "Strengthening Los Angeles communities through effective philanthropy and civic engagement."

Health and education have historically been two of CCF's highest-funded programs. As a health-care funder, the foundation works primarily to serve low-income adults and children in the region. To accomplish this mission, CCF funds community clinics and health-care facilities, advocacy, and the development of regional health programs. 

    Whether it be related to urban farming, teaching business skills to teenagers, or ending violence against women, CCF is constantly making headlines. Each year, CCF invests in multi-million-dollar initiatives that revolve around specific issue areas which need long-term support in Los Angeles County. Several examples: The BLOOM initiative aims to reduce incarceration rates among teenage black males in Los Angeles. The One Los Angeles, One Nation initiative aims to incorporate Muslim culture into Los Angeles. And the Los Angeles Preschool Advocacy Initiative aims to improve early childhood education programs. Separate from the traditional grantmaking program, CCT funds civic engagement projects that promote public policy change and collaboration throughout the state of California.

      Applying for grants is a straightforward process, and you can view a sample letter of intent here. Letters of intent are accepted throughout the year.  CCT prefers that art applications serve low-income communities and create year-round opportunities for education and involvement. If you're in need of an education grant, make sure your proposal benefits early childhood education and the K-5 demographic. CCT considers a very broad range of health proposals, emphasizing everything from mental care to disease prevention, workforce development, senior care, and health-care reform. CCT's housing program takes a fairly standard approach to providing affordable homes and financial support to families within the Los Angeles County borders.

      Applications should be submitted online, and questions should be directed to one of the  grants specialists at (213) 239-2330 or grantsmanager@calfund.org.

      PEOPLE:

      • Nike Irvin, Vice President of Programs
      • Vera de Vera, Director, Community Building Initiative 
      • Peter Rivera, Senior Program Officer, Education
      • Rosemary Veniegas, Program Officer, Health Care
      • Denise Tom, Program Manager, Health and Transition Aged Youth

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