Weingart Is Not Only Listening to Grantee Feedback, They're Acting On It

Obviously, some foundations are more transparent than others, but the Weingart Foundation has been exceeding even our expectations lately. This Los Angeles grantmaker recently released the results of a survey it conducted last fall, asking grantees and grant applicants to rate the work it’s been doing (Read Weingart Foundation: Los Angeles Grants).

More than 700 people were invited to respond to Weingart’s confidential online survey, and here’s what they revealed:

Positive Feedback:

  • Weingart’s six-figure, multi-year core operating support grants are having the most impact in organizations
  • Over 50 percent of Weingart grantees report enhanced program capacity, compared to 30 percent for reported for a similar funder cohort

Areas for Improvement:

  • Organize grantee training opportunities and networking meetings
  • Shorten time between application submission and funding decision
  • More discussion about post-award assessment and explanation of evaluations

According to Weingart President and CEO, Fred Ali, “The results of this comprehensive survey are encouraging, giving us assurance that our focus on providing multi-year core support is helping to build grantees’ organizational and programmatic capacity — and that our staff and grant review processes are working effectively for nonprofits.”

With these recommendations in mind, the Weingart Foundation put together a set of FY 2015 Program Plan Assumptions to set the stage for foundation grantmaking for the next 12-18 months. In developing the plan, Weingart used survey feedback and also held focus group sessions with grantees to spawn deeper conversation. "During the last four months, our President/CEO, Fred Ali, and I met with almost 50 nonprofit leaders through six focus groups held in San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties," wrote Vice President Belen Vargas.

Here’s what Weingart is assuming:

  • Human services organizations will need more support due to reduced government funding and competitive fundraising
  • Organizations need more funding to invest in basic infrastructure
  • More multi-year, unrestricted funding and capacity building core support will be needed
  • To secure grants, nonprofits will need to demonstrate commitment to strong leadership, trained staff, adaptability, a sustainable vision, and an appropriate level of sustainable cash reserves

Do you think Weingart’s assumptions are on track or off base? As you might have guessed, Weingart wants your feedback on this too. Complete this online feedback form (anonymity optional) to keep this awesome level of communication and transparency flowing back and forth.

According to Vargas, Weingart will post a summary of its FY 2015 Program Plan on the foundation’s website in July, with a focus on updated assumptions and key strategies the Board is looking to pursue in the upcoming year.