OVERVIEW: The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, which focuses exclusively on Los Angeles, practices responsive grantmaking in human services, civic and cultural, education, and health.
IP TAKE: The Parsons Foundation maintains a detailed and complex website that spells out how applicants can access its funds.
PROFILE: A longtime Los Angeles funder, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation has a broad impact throughout the region. It seeks to “support the work of the County’s best nonprofit organizations, recognizing that communities thrive when all individuals are able to access the resources they need to feel safe, stable, and engaged.” Parsons, who founded a company that specialized in engineering and construction, established his philanthropy in 1961. During his lifetime, Ralph M. Parsons built everything from oil facilities to shipyards, power plants, irrigation projects, airports, subways, and NASA facilities in more than 30 countries. This foundation supports a variety of interests, which include civic, culture, education, health and human services.
Cultural grants prioritize Los Angeles and support museums, botanical gardens, arts education programs, and civic engagement activities.
Education grants invest in early childhood care, K-12 education, academic enrichment, charter schools, college access, vocational training, and higher education.
Parsons makes health grants to organizations that address vulnerable populations, community clinics, prevention services, emergency centers, and healthcare facility improvements.
Finally, its human services grantmaking supports foundations that help Los Angeles residents with foster youth, seniors, the working pool, and the homeless. It also supports basic needs and youth development within this category.
Most foundation grants are less than $100,000, and only organizations that serve Los Angeles County are considered. Applicants can search for past grantees through the foundation’s Grants Database. This funder awards grants for general operating expenses, capital requests, and specific programs. Multi-year funding is rare, but possible. Overall, Parsons awards approximately 250 to 300 grants each year.
The application procedure begins with an initial letter of inquiry, which can be submitted at any time of the year. Applicants can create a LOI using an online form, and the full application is online as well. Direct grantseeker inquiries should to Nicole Larsen, the grants manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Melanie Yamamoto, the program assistant, at email@example.com. The foundation’s phone number is 213-362-7600.
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