John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Haynes Foundation awards about $3 million per year to social sciences programs in the California counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange. The Foundation’s Board considers major research grant proposals four times a year; archival grants, doctoral dissertation fellowships and faculty fellowships are each considered once each year.

FUNDING AREAS: Social sciences, Southern California history; urban studies related to education, transportation, local government, public safety, elections, and natural resources

IP TAKE: Keep in mind that this is a research-oriented grantmaker, so don’t expect to receive funds for general operating support or anything for medical or arts programs. Haynes typically funds well-established organizations and universities, but smaller social science and research local organizations can definitely apply for grants, too.

PROFILE: A lot of local names might come to mind if you try to guess the oldest private foundation in the city, but the low-profile John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation probably isn’t one of them. This foundation was established in 1926, making it the oldest grantmaker in the Los Angeles. Every year, the foundation distributes nearly $3 million in grants and scholarships to various local institutions.

In the past century, the foundation has committed itself to funding hundreds of urban studies related to education, transportation, local government, elections, public safety, demographics, public personal services, and natural resources. By funding studies in a wide range of program areas, the Haynes Foundation uncovers the causes of social problems in Los Angeles and recommends ways to address them.

Although John Randolph Hayes was born in Pennsylvania, he began his reform career in Los Angeles by organizing a local chapter of the Union Reform League in 1897. Although Christian socialism was the League’s long-term goal, it also advocated for women’s suffrage, graduated taxes, public ownership of utilities, and civil service. John was active in local politics, serving on numerous Los Angeles charter revision committees, and later advocated for the protection of coal miners and the rights of Native Americans. Dora Fellows Haynes was an equally impressive figure in Los Angeles and American history. Like her husband, Dora embrace the nation’s progressive movement and became one of Los Angeles’ prominent suffragists by 1909. The couple established a family foundation upon their philosophy of promoting the social betterment of mankind.

Today, the Haynes Foundation funds major research grants related to prominent economic, social, and political problems in the greater Los Angeles area. The foundation likes to find grantees that bring deeper understanding to these issues and promise to influence policies and practices about them. Research projects that study the history of Southern California are also considered for grants.

Aside from research grants, the Haynes Foundation funds archival grants to support archive and catalog projects at libraries and educational institutions in Los Angeles. Each year, the foundation awards faculty fellowships to social science faculty members teaching at any university or four-year college in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernadino, or Riverside. Haynes also provides yearly doctoral dissertation fellowships to graduate students getting their Ph.D. degrees in social sciences in the Los Angeles area.

Haynes’ grantmaking program is entirely exclusive to the Los Angeles area, and grants are only awarded to nonprofit organizations, not individuals. The grant process generally begins by submitting five copies of a completed proposal by mail and one PDF copy by email. Some of the 2014 Haynes grants were awarded to California State Polytechnic University Pomona, the Los Angeles City Historical Society, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Most grants tend to be in the $12,000 to $20,000 range, however, it's not uncommon for some grants to tip the scale over $100,000. 

The foundation’s board of directors considers major research grant proposals four times per year and other programs once per year. Keep in mind that this is a research-oriented grantmaker, so don’t expect to receive funds for general operating support, air travel, commercial subcontracts, infrastructure, capital, training, or dissemination of results. You can find a list of upcoming proposal due dates and past grants awarded by category on the foundation website.

You’re welcome to reach out to the Haynes Foundation’s lone staff member, Administrative Director William J. Burke at He’s been leading foundation grantmaking since 2007, since his successor, Diane Cornwell, retired after 20 years in the lead position. You can also contact with general questions and sign up for the foundation mailing list on the foundation website.


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