OVERVIEW: The Eisner Foundation takes an intergenerational approach to grantmaking that is pretty unprecedented around the country.
IP TAKE: This is a transparent and accessible funder, and grants are distributed to connect children and the elderly in truly unique and local ways.
PROFILE: Created in 1996, the Eisner Foundation was established by Michael and Jane Eisner, due in part to the overwhelming success of the Walt Disney Company. It seeks to support “high-quality and innovative programs that unite multiple generations for the enrichment of our communities.” After working at NBC, CBS, ABC, and Paramount Studios, Eisner served as the Chairman and CEO of Disney from 1984 to 2005. Today, he remains active with his investment company, the Tornante Company, his studio, Vuguru, and his philanthropy, the Eisner Foundation.
The foundation prioritizes programs that allow youth to assist the elderly and the elderly to assist youth. It is specific to Los Angeles, in terms of geography and seeks to establish mutual intergenerational benefits.
For children in Los Angeles County, the Eisner Foundation typically supports after-school programs and programs that support arts, quality healthcare options and abuse prevention. For the aging population in Los Angeles County, the foundation supports organizations that improve the quality of life by alleviating poverty, offering access to healthcare, and promoting cultural enrichment. Eisner considers requests for general operating support, project support, capacity building, and capital support.
Most Eisner grants are between $100,000 and $300,000 for well-established organizations in the Los Angeles area. However, the foundation also makes $10,000 to $25,000 grants to smaller, grassroots organizations. Past Eisner grantees include Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children Today, Common Sense Media, Grandparents as Parents, Inside Out Community Arts, and North Valley Caring Services. There are a few special initiatives as well, including California Institute of the Arts, the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, the Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center, and the Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence.
To apply for an Eisner grant, Los Angeles County organizations must complete a letter of inquiry consisting of no more than two pages. There are no deadlines to apply for a grant, as letters of intent are accepted year-around on a rolling basis. The foundation will notify nonprofits if they are invited to submit a full grant application and the timeline for the review process at that time. It usually only takes a few weeks to hear back about the status of a LOI.
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