Unrestricted Operating Support Grants

Weingart Foundation

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Counties in California: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County

Location of residency: Counties in California: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County

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About this funder:



General Grant Focus

We strongly suggest you first read the Foundation’s FY 2019 and FY 2020 Program Plan before reviewing these guidelines. This will provide you with a greater context and understanding of our current strategic grantmaking priorities.

The Weingart Foundation’s grantmaking is based on our commitment to building a Southern California where inclusion, opportunity and well-being are available to all people—a place where diversity is celebrated and justice flourishes. We strive to advance racial, social and economic justice for all, particularly for those who have historically been excluded due to their race, income level, gender, religion, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code.

Realizing this vision requires community-driven solutions and strong community-based organizations. Therefore, the Foundation’s grantmaking is designed to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, collaboratives, and coalitions working to meet essential needs, expand opportunity and eliminate structural barriers to equity.

Areas of Special Interest

In addition to our longstanding focus areas of human services, health, and education, the Foundation has identified several areas of special interest that we have prioritized to amplify our impact in advancing equity. Organizations seeking funding within our areas of special interest may submit letters of inquiry for Unrestricted Operating Support at any time. Organizations seeking other types of support should first contact a member of our program staff. For more information on our goals and strategies for each area of special interest, please click on the links below.

Special issue areas:

  • Housing for homeless and low-income individuals
  • Immigrant and refugee rights
  • Youth organizing
  • Census 2020
  • Leadership for movement building

Geographic areas of focus

  • South Los Angeles
  • Southeast Cities of Los Angeles County

Unrestricted Operating Support Grants

Unrestricted Operating Support (UOS) is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for supporting and building the long-term capacity and effectiveness of nonprofits, collaboratives and coalitions that are working to advance racial, social and economic equity. The Foundation provides flexible, multi-year unrestricted support to carefully selected nonprofits that demonstrate the interest and ability to strengthen their organizational effectiveness and capacity. This includes nonprofits providing quality, essential services in the areas of health, education and human services, as well as those engaged in community organizing, advocacy, civic engagement and movement building.

Recognizing the importance of grassroots organizations, the Foundation is committed to supporting nonprofits at different budget sizes, levels of capacity, and infrastructure through our UOS program.

The size of an Unrestricted Operating Support grant will generally range between $50,000 and $200,000 over two years, depending on a number of factors including the budget size of the organization, and the specific needs and opportunities of each applicant.

Operating Reserves: On a case-by-case basis and after consultation with the applicant organization, the Foundation may recommend restricting a portion of a UOS grant for the organization’s operating reserve. Operating reserve set-asides are typically recommended when an applicant is seeking to seed or build its reserve fund, and are usually conditional on the existence or creation of a board-approved organizational policy on the use and maintenance of the reserve. When appropriate, the Foundation will consider adding a condition on the reserve portion of the grant requiring a one-to-one match from the agency’s board or a one-to-one match from other private sources, in order to encourage board engagement or additional private support. For more information about operating reserves, please see this toolkit created by the Nonprofit Operating Reserves Initiative Workshop.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Applicant Eligibility
    • An organization that is certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and is not a private foundation as defined in section 509(a) of that Code is eligible for consideration
  • Financial Documentation
    • Audited financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year are required of all organizations in existence for more than five years and with operating income of $500,000 or more.
    • Organizations with annual income under $500,000 or agencies founded within the last five years must submit an independent review of their financial statements, completed by a Certified Public Accountant.
    • Applicants that cannot meet the financial documentation requirements may be eligible for an exemption on a case-by-case basis upon review of the full application.
  • Who we fund
    • The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, collaboratives, and coalitions that provide quality essential direct services in the areas of human services, health and education for individuals and communities facing the greatest barriers to opportunity and inclusion.
    • Equally important, we also support those engaged in community organizing, advocacy, civic engagement and other movement building activities to achieve positive social change.
    • Recognizing the importance of grassroots organizations, the Foundation supports nonprofits of various sizes and at different levels of developing their capacity and infrastructure.
  • In addition to the specific guidelines outlined for each type of grant, all applicants must meet the following baseline criteria to be considered for grant funding:
    • Works in one of the following six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura;
    • Mission and work effectively addresses an essential human service, health, or education need for individuals and communities most impacted by economic, racial and social injustice.
      • Specifically, this applies to those who have historically faced the greatest barriers to opportunity and inclusion due to their race, income level, gender, religion, immigration status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or zip code;
    • Has an established track-record that can demonstrate positive impact and progress toward desired goals;
    • Operates as part of a larger ecosystem, engaging in meaningful partnerships, collaborations, coalitions, or networks to leverage resources and increase the impact of their work to advance shared community goals;
    • Programs, services and core activities are culturally and linguistically responsive to the needs of those served;
    • Meaningfully engages clients, constituents and individuals most impacted by inequities to inform the organization’s work and decision making; and
    • Demonstrates a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in governance, staffing, organizational practices and collaborative relationships.
  • Guidelines: Successful UOS applicants shall meet the following criteria:
    • Evidences an ability to make progress in one or more of the following areas of organizational effectiveness:
      • Board governance and engagement
      • Financial operations and management
      • Fund development
      • Staff and infrastructure
      • Diversity and inclusion
      • Organizational strategy and adaptability
      • Executive leadership
    • Able to articulate how a UOS grant could have measurable impact on organizational and programmatic capacity and effectiveness.


  • NOTE: The Foundation no longer funds in Santa Barbara County.
  • The Foundation does not fund Section 509(a) (3) Type III non-functionally integrated supporting organizations.
  • Grants are not made:
    • To organizations that discriminate against certain groups or individuals in the delivery of programs and services on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability;
    • For elections, political candidates, or political campaigns;
    • For social or political issues outside the United States;
    • To individuals;
    • For temporary exhibits, travel, surveys, films or publishing activities;
    • For endowment funds;
    • For fundraising dinners or events;
    • For animal welfare.
  • Grants generally are not approved for:
    • Research;
    • National organizations that do not have local chapters operating in the Foundation’s geographic area of grant focus;
    • Religious programs, or consumer interest;
    • Feasibility studies.