Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation supports local nonprofits the work to advance education, health, medicine, religion, and vulnerable populations. The foundation prioritizes Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. 

FUNDING AREAS: Education, medicine, religion, health and welfare, children and youth, elderly needs

IP TAKE: Although not all Doheny grants support religious causes, faith is important to this funder. Also, keep in mind that this is a funder that prefers recurring funding strategies and long-term commitments over one-time grants and brand-new grantees.

PROFILE: The late Carrie Estelle Doheny, widow of Los Angeles oil producer Edward L. Doheny, established the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation as a trust in 1949 with $30 million. Doheny was a devout Catholic and a significant portion of her foundation’s grantmaking focuses on faith. The foundation “seeks those programs that recognize the individual dignity and spiritual needs of the people served, as well as their capacity to become tomorrow’s mentors and community leaders.” It supports education, medicine, religion, health, youth, and the elderly.

Doheny directs education grants to inner-city Catholic schools. It also provides scholarship funds for Catholic high schools and universities. Its grantmaking to medicine largely focuses on research related to the Doheny Eye Institute and hospitals and convalescent care facilities that serve disadvantaged populations. In terms of religion, Doheny funds evangelization and mission-based work of the Roman Catholic Church and local faith-based organizations. Health grantmaking focuses on assisting the disabled, foster children, seniors, and pregnant women. Finally, “aid to those in need” is a–priority that area involves food banks, homeless shelters, literacy efforts, and programs that promote economic self-reliance.

Doheny grants typically range between $5,000 and $50,000. Past grantees include the Archdiocese of LA Cardinal’s Award Dinner, Little Sisters of the Poor, the Sophia Institute, and the USC Caruso Catholic Center. To be eligible for a Doheny grant, organizations must be a registered nonprofit. Funding is not provided for publishing books or a media program, travel funds, advertising, individual scholarship, endowment, or any political purposes. Funding is almost exclusively limited to Los Angeles and surrounding communities. For a list of recent grants awarded by year, check out the foundation website’s Past Grants List page.

There are themes in place for each grant cycle, such as hunger, literacy, pregnancy, evangelism, prayer, physically challenged individuals, and job training. Therefore, it is important to apply to the grant cycle that most closely matches your organization’s mission and programs. Organizations may apply for grants just once per year, and there are applications available for the standard grant program, for capital requests, and for summer camp scholarships. Site visits are common with this funder, and the grant review process takes up to three months. The Doheny Foundation is run by a small staff, consisting of a chief administrator/financial officer and four grants administrators. General questions can be directed to the foundation staff at 213-488-1122 or submitted via online form.


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