Wasserman Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Wasserman Foundation awards around 100-150 grants per year that range between $500 and $5 million. The program focus areas are pretty broad, and organizations working to improve art, education, and health in the Los Angeles area are all considered for grants.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, arts, and health

IP TAKE: The Wasserman Foundation funds many types of organizations in Los Angeles. There's also a global program competing for Wasserman funds. Hollywood insider Casey Wasserman runs the show but doesn't show his cards.                              

PROFILE: Founded in 1952, the Wasserman Foundation was created by Lew and Edie Wasserman Lew was a talent agent, studio executive, and MCA manager. While running MCA, he dominated Hollywood and represented stars like Bette Davis and Ronald Reagan. Before Lew's grandson, Casey, took the helm of the foundation, he worked as an entertainment executive, sports agent executive, and owner of the Los Angeles Avengers arena football team.

The Wasserman Foundation awards around 100-150 grants per year that range between $500 and $5 million. The program focus areas are pretty broad, and organizations working to improve art, education, and health in the Los Angeles area are all considered for grants. Some of the foundation's past grants include $700,000 to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and $500,000 to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

In addition to making the yearly grants, Casey has served on the board of the Clinton Foundation, overseen the opening of the $116 million Edie and Lew Wasserman medical building at UCLA, and served on the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Wasserman also funds programs for the Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Police and scholarship programs at six universities.

Unlike some foundations in the city, Wasserman does provide support for capital campaigns, endowments, and research projects. Wasserman grantmaking has been trending towards technological solutions for social and educational problems. For example, the foundation has shown support for new educational video games and iPads for students.

Wasserman does not accept unsolicited proposals for funding. Although the foundation has an impressive website, it does not contain any information about how to apply for a grant or push a letter of inquiry through the right channels. Grant seekers’ best bet to get in contact with the foundation is by phone at 310-407-0200 or fax at 310-407-0300.

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