David Bohnett Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: Through his Foundation, David Bohnett has awarded grants totaling well over $50 million to LBGT, arts, gun violence, animal rights, and social justice issues. The David Bohnett Fund for Los Angeles supports local organizations improving the civic and cultural lives of Los Angeles residents.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, gun violence, animal rights, voting rights, LGBT issues

IP TAKE: Los Angeles nonprofits should definitely check out the David Bohnett Fund for Los Angeles. Although many of his foundation’s programs have a national focus, this one is all about LA. Unfortunately, the foundation doesn’t accept unsolicited grant requests for this giving area, but you can reach out to Program Officer Paul Moore for more information about eligibility.

PROFILE: David Bohnett might be best known as a prominent art and LBGT funder, but he’s also a local funder that regularly gives to Los Angeles nonprofits through his foundation. Bohnett got rich from selling GeoCities to Yahoo in the late '90s and established the David Bohnett foundation in 1999. With a broad mission of “improving society through social activism,” Bohnett puts his tech-savvy nature to work for the people of Southern California.

LGBT issues have always been a big deal to Bohnett, who once worked a gay crisis hotline to counsel students about coming out and has given over $17 million to LGBT groups since establishing his foundation. After launching a CyberCenter program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 1998, the foundation invested over $3 million to help the LGBT community stay connected with the world. Bohnett’s LBGT giving has historically had a national focus, although Bohnett has always been there for LA's gay community, too.  

Related: David Bohnett Foundation: Grants for LGBT 

On the local scene, Bohnett’s arts giving has made headlines, thanks to a $20 million pledge to the LA Philharmonic and a collective $8.8 million in grants to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He stepped outside of social justice funding for the LA Philharmonic several years ago to help the organization broaden programming, awareness, and diversity for underserved communities.

In a recent year, the foundation reported over $3.8 million in total giving. Through the David Bohnett Foundation, Bohnett has awarded grants totaling well over $50 million to LBGT, arts, gun violence, animal rights, and social justice issues. Like Bohnett’s LGBT funding, his gun violence and voting funding has maintained a national focus. However, a few Los Angeles organizations typically make the annual grants list, including UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Los Angeles Police Foundation. The foundation also supports animal language research, the funding of service animals, and stopping rare animal trade. Recent local animal grants have been awarded to PAWS/LA and SPCA-Los Angeles.

David Bohnett definitely has a soft spot for the city of Los Angeles, and he’s developed the Fund for Los Angeles to take care of his closest neighbors. These grants provide support to local organizations that improve the civic and cultural lives of LA residents. Unfortunately, the foundation doesn’t accept unsolicited grant requests for this giving area, but you can reach out to Program Officer Paul Moore at paul@bohnett.com for more information about eligibility.

Past local grantees include Ciclavia Inc., the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, KRCW Foundation, Heart of Los Angeles, Pentacle Dance Works, and AIDS Project Los Angeles. Bohnett has committed over $21 million to this giving area, and a full list of Fund for Los Angeles grants can be viewed on the foundation website.

The Bohnett Foundation is run by a small staff of four, led by Executive Director Michael Flemming. Individual staff members can be reached by email or phone at 310-276-0001. If you want to reach out to David Bohnett directly, he can be reached at david.bohnett@yahoo.com.

Related: Read IP’s Profile of Michael Flemming

The David Bohnett Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry for the following giving areas: LGBT Community, CyberCenters, Gun Violence Prevention, Voting, and Animals. Inquiries must be no longer than two pages and can be completed through an online grant application website. These are typically due in December and June of each year, whereby the foundation responds by May and November.

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