Liberty Hill Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports social justice issues in Los Angeles, California. Interests are the local LGBTQ community and justice for all races, immigrants, the environment, and the economy.

FUNDING AREAS: Social justice, immigrant rights, environmental justice, LGBTQ justice, economic justice, racial justice

IP TAKE: This is a refreshing and forward-thinking foundation that has been very involved in local collaborations lately. It’s all about Los Angeles for Liberty Hill, a funder that’s not afraid to take some risks.

PROFILE: The Liberty Hill Foundation is based in Los Angeles and has been an epicenter of social justice work since 1976. The founders are Anne Mendel, Win McCormack, Sarah Pilsbury, and Larry Janss, who came together as young adults with inherited wealth. They hired Mary Jo von Mach to go around Los Angeles and determine if there was a need for a foundation that provided seed money for social change, and the answer was a definite "yes."

LHF interests today are social justice, immigrant rights, environmental justice, LGBTQ justice, economic justice, and racial justice. Los Angeles is at the heart of this funder’s grantmaking, where most grants stay. Liberty Hill focuses on injustice involving youth incarceration, the homeless population, and issues related to the fact that Los Angeles is the largest urban oil field in the country, among other topics.

As part of the funder’s Agenda for a Just Future, Liberty Hill is raising $2 million from individual donors to strengthen Los Angeles as a national model for social change. The funder’s LGBTQ interests in Los Angeles mostly involve young LGBTQ people of color and the discrimination and barriers they face, such as homelessness, healthcare, employment, and criminalization. Regarding economic justice, Liberty Hill supports labor rights, collective bargaining, fair wages, affordable housing, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline for Los Angeles students.

Liberty Hill supports environmental justice groups to fight global warming, environmental hazards like pollution in L.A. neighborhoods, and oil drilling in residential neighborhoods. The funder’s racial justice mission can be seen throughout its programs and campaigns, with particular focus on young men of color and on bringing together other philanthropists and foundations to collaborate on racial justice work. Examples of grassroots grantees include Academia Avance, Asian Pacific Islander Equality-LA, and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

At certain times of the year, grantseekers can submit a letter of inquiry for the Fund for Change, which is Liberty Hill’s main competitive grantmaking program. The program is focused on community organizing. Email for more information.

Grants tend to be between $10,000 and $50,000 each. Current financial data is here. The foundation hosts an annual gala, the Upton Sinclair Awards Dinner, to bring together progressive leaders in Los Angeles and recognize local people who are advancing similar goals.

This foundation is led by President and CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith, and there are eight program staff members. See who’s on the Liberty Hill advisory council here. Keep up with foundation happenings on its blog and news section.

The address is 6420 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 700, Los Angeles, California 90048, and the phone (323) 556-7200. General questions can be directed to


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