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James Irvine Foundation
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Mike Welch
Office of Assemblymember
Joe Coto
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Foundation Leaders, Tri-Caucus Chairs, Announce New Project to Strengthen Support for Minority and Low-Income Communities

Sacramento ? A coalition of ten large California foundations joined with the chairs of the three ethnic legislative caucuses to announce a pathbreaking project designed to strengthen nonprofit organizations serving low-income and minority communities. The foundations will work together over a multi-year period to make grants that provide capacity building support and technical assistance targeted to minority-led and grassroots, community-based organizations that primarily serve minority and low-income communities in California. In addition, the foundations intend to provide support for leadership development activities that will bolster and train a diverse pipeline of executives, staff and board members for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

The statement was developed through a series of productive discussions among the foundation leaders as well as community organizations and the chairs of the Latino Legislative Caucus,Legislative Black Caucus, and Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. The foundations also committed to funding ongoing research on the nonprofit sector in California, including the number of minority-led, community-based nonprofits and their capacity needs.

The full text of the ten foundations’ statement follows.

Statement by Selected California Foundation CEOs on Strengthening
Nonprofit Minority Leadership and the Capacity of Minority-Led
and other Grassroots Community-Based Organizations

June 23, 2008
The undersigned, consisting of a group of California private foundations, issued the following statement:

As leaders in the philanthropic community, we recognize that California’s future depends on all of its communities enjoying meaningful opportunities to improve their quality of life.  And, as one of the most diverse states in the nation, our future depends significantly on the success of the communities of color that together comprise a majority of our population.

Consistent with our institutions’ particular missions, the intentions of our donors, our founding documents and any restrictions imposed by regulatory bodies, we reaffirm our continuing commitment to incorporating the values of effectiveness, diversity and inclusiveness into our all aspects of our work.

Nonprofit organizations throughout the state play a critical role in addressing the challenges facing minority and other predominantly low-income communities. Yet three systemic issues restrict the ability of these organizations to realize their full potential:

  • The lack of capacity of many minority-led organizations and other grassroots community-based organizations to compete for funding from large foundations.
  • The need for additional investment in capacity building and leadership development targeted at such organizations and leaders of color; and
  • The lack of access to larger foundations by many minority-led and other grassroots community-based nonprofits.

The undersigned foundations, which represent some of California’s largest philanthropic organizations, are committed to undertaking tangible actions to address these issues.  In doing so, we shall build upon existing initiatives and will dedicate the resources necessary to carry out new ones. We expect that other foundations will join in these efforts.

By the end of 2008, we plan to announce a comprehensive set of grantmaking activities, which we expect to be overall in the multi-million dollar range and over several years, to begin in 2009 that will lead to increased funding for:

(1) Capacity building support and technical assistance targeted to minority-led and grassroots, community-based organizations that primarily serve minority and low-income communities in California; and

(2) Support for leadership development activities that will bolster and train a diverse pipeline of executives, staff and board members for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

We believe the organizations receiving funding for these capacity building and leadership activities will be involved in a variety of programmatic activities, including but not limited to: youth development, healthy communities, civic engagement, environmental justice, financial literacy and policy advocacy.

We are confident that, over time, these measures will increase and improve the efficacy of our and other donors’ funding of programs and services that will benefit minority and low-income communities in California.

As part of these grantmaking activities, we intend to meet on a periodic basis with key community leaders to review progress against stated objectives and to benefit from the perspectives of those who understand these issues and can inform our work. We will also report publicly on an annual basis on the activities undertaken by the foundations as part of this collaborative effort.

Finally, to help focus our efforts, we plan to supplement ongoing research on foundation giving in California with an independent study of the nonprofit sector in California, including the communities it serves, and the number of minority-led, community-based nonprofits and their capacity needs.

The members of the Foundation Coalition include:

The Ahmanson Foundation                      The California Wellness Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation                   The Annenberg Foundation
UniHealth Foundation                              The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation           The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The California Endowment                      Weingart Foundation