Welcome to the first blog of the Weinberg Foundation and the first blog that I have ever written. 

To be completely honest, I’m skeptical of blogs. They feel indulgent…and I generally believe that a call to action requires more than personal commentary. But I’m also reminded that the written word wields power. Period. And any forum that disseminates information for the common good has the potential to change the world for the better. As Sir Jonathan Ive, the chief design officer at Apple, said, “The best ideas start as conversations.” So let the conversation begin.

When you read a press release about the Foundation, or Google the Foundation, you quickly learn that the Foundation is BIG, in both assets and impact. Since 1980, the Weinberg Foundation has distributed grants totaling more than $2.2 billion. In 2019 alone, the Foundation will provide approximately $125 million in grants to nonprofits that provide a variety of direct services to our most vulnerable neighbors.

But consider this. We accomplish what we do with one of the smallest boards and staff among our peer groups: five trustees, 34 staff in Baltimore, and 17 in Hawaii. While our numbers and impact might be big, our personality, culture, and ethos are modest. This is also our strength and provides an agility and nimbleness that allows us to move swiftly in tackling some of the greatest challenges facing those we serve. We are small but mighty!

How do we do it?

We have geographic focus. The Foundation administers the majority of its funding in its priority communities: Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaii, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily surrounding other priority communities). These areas are hometowns that represent personal ties to the life and legacy of Harry Weinberg, as well as cities where Weinberg Foundation trustees reside and provide leadership. 

We have core program areas of focus. Following months of careful consideration and planning, the Foundation has reorganized its grantmaking into four core focus areas: Housing, Health, Jobs, and Education. By streamlining our grants structure, we hope to increase the Foundation’s ability to be strategic and impactful, while simplifying the grantee experience. 

We continue to prioritize specific populations. The Foundation continues to be dedicated to meeting the needs of specific populations, including older adults, women and their children at risk, people with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness, and veterans. In short, our focus on meeting the basic needs of low-income, vulnerable people remains steadfast. 

We are grateful and know the nonprofits the Foundation funds are doing the hard work. Whether you are a current grantee or seeking funding, a partner, or simply a friend of the Weinberg Foundation, thank you for all that you do every day to make our communities stronger. 

We have a talented, dedicated, and kind team. I also wish to acknowledge that none of the Foundation’s accomplishments would be possible without the leadership and support of our mission-driven board and the unwavering commitment of our superb, hardworking staff.

We seek input. Do you have a criticism? An idea? A suggestion? I can’t promise we will take action on all of the advice we receive, but we will take it to heart! If you want to share your thoughts, you can find me at rmonroe@hjweinberg.org. Like many of you, I receive several hundred emails a day, so your patience with me in replying is appreciated. 

So, are you still reading? Was it worth the read? Skepticism aside, I am grateful for the opportunity to start—and continue—the conversation. Here’s to taking advantage of this informal forum and creating a better tomorrow for those who might otherwise never catch a break.