The Foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaiʻi, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily rural areas within proximity to other priority communities). Foundation funding extends to the greater metropolitan areas of the specific cities listed. All of these locations represent personal ties to the life and legacy of Harry Weinberg, as well as communities where Weinberg Foundation trustees reside and provide leadership.
Within each of its priority communities, the Foundation is focused on meeting the basic needs of people experiencing poverty by supporting organizations that provide direct services in the areas of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services. Requests for funding should align with the Foundation’s grantmaking priorities within at least one of the focus areas. Specific strategies for two of the Foundation’s Priority Communities, Israel and Rural Communities, have been completed. As indicated, strategies for other Priority Communities are still being developed and will be shared as soon as possible.
- Baltimore: Our Hometown
- New York City
- Northeastern Pennsylvania
- San Francisco
- Rural Communities
Baltimore: Our Hometown
The Greater Baltimore region has served as home to the Foundation’s headquarters since its founding by Harry and Jeanette Weinberg in 1959. The Foundation as we know it today has existed since 1990. Over the past three years, the Foundation’ s Trustees have approved approximately $91 million in new grants to nonprofits that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families in the region. Today, nearly 25 percent of the Foundation’s approximately $130 million in annual grantmaking continues to be aimed at direct service providers in Greater Baltimore, operating across all of the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give).
Housing Upgrades to Benefit Seniors (HUBS)
To date, the Foundation has invested $7 million in this Baltimore City initiative, which enables low-income older adult homeowners to remain independent by providing home modifications and repairs—including grab bars, electrical and plumbing repairs, and roof and furnace replacements—in addition to wraparound services. This initiative is currently being replicated in Baltimore County.
Deeply Affordable Housing
Beginning in 2011, the Foundation has contributed $5 million to programs in Maryland and Illinois that provide deeply affordable housing for people with disabilities. In 2020, the Foundation committed another $3 million to further advance this initiative in Maryland. In partnership with state agencies, these programs create affordable apartments that enable eligible individuals with very low incomes to live independently and within their communities.
Baltimore Elementary and Middle School Library Project
The Foundation has committed $10 million to this multi-year, collaborative effort to build or transform up to 24 Baltimore City Public School libraries in selected elementary and middle schools. To date, the Foundation and its more than 30 partners have completed 16 libraries, serving more than 7,000 students and their families.
Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative
This partnership of 14 Baltimore funders supports high-quality summer programs for children and youth, with more than $3 million in grants annually. Programs address one or more of the following areas: literacy; STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math); youth employment; college and career readiness; environmental education; health and overcoming stress and trauma; and enrichment, including sports and arts programming.
Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative
The Foundation is a member of this group of 19 private and public funders focused on advancing the labor market prospects of unemployed and underemployed residents while meeting employer needs for a skilled workforce in the Baltimore region. The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative is committed to advancing equity, job quality, and systems change efforts that lead to family sustaining wages, strengthened communities, and a vibrant local economy. Annually, the Collaborative aligns more than $18 million around common workforce development goals and strategies.
In 2019, the Foundation adopted a special focus on supporting organizations that are working to create opportunity in neighborhoods that have historically experienced the disinvestment of capital and resources. For example, the Foundation has established a partnership with Central Baltimore Partnership and others to help neighborhoods expand capacity to provide direct human services, attract investment, and develop and implement plans for neighborhood revitalization that honor and engage residents. The Foundation will continue to release updated information on the initiative as it develops.
The Foundation provides one-time support to small nonprofits (with annual operating budgets of $500,000 or less) that serve low-income individuals and families in Baltimore City through direct services. Eligible organizations may apply for up to $10,000 for one year in order to assist with general operating expenses and capital costs, including equipment purchases, capacity building (e.g., evaluation and audit costs), and other eligible expenses. For more information please click here.
The Foundation supports nonprofit, direct service providers operating in Greater Chicago that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families. Program and operating grants are restricted to the City of Chicago. Capital grants are open to the broader collar counties, with a preference for projects being developed in Cook County. Grants in Chicago align with the Foundation’s portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give).
Recent grants have focused on the following areas:
- Out-of-school time programs that prepare young people for postsecondary success
- Job-training programs that result in an industry-recognized credential
- Strengthening divested neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago through direct service grants to community organizations
- Addressing housing instability and homelessness
The Foundation supports capital projects that provide new units of supportive housing, expand health centers, create new job-training sites, and increase the provision of supplemental food.
Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities
The Foundation participates in this partnership of philanthropic organizations committed to reducing gun violence in Chicago by aligning their grantmaking and collaborating with community leaders and organizations, as well as those in the public and private sectors, to make significant progress toward the common goal of reducing gun violence and creating the conditions for long-term peace and safety. From 2016 to 2019, there was a 38 percent decline in fatal shootings in nine target communities, largely as a result of the work of this partnership.
Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance
The Foundation is a member of this initiative and supports several workforce development programs that provide job training, placement, and retention services. These include programs that assist individuals in preparing for, securing, and sustaining quality employment while also assisting them in breaking the cycle of poverty. For example, one Foundation partner based in Chicago provides training in manufacturing, which results in industry-recognized credentials for participants seeking careers in the metalworking industry.
Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness
The Foundation is a member of this effort that supports several programs aimed at reducing homelessness including All Chicago, which leads coordination of homeless services across the city. The Foundation supports the creation of new units of affordable housing, particularly permanent supportive housing for vulnerable individuals and families. To learn more about Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness, click here.
The Foundation helps build thriving local communities through grants that support nonprofit, direct service providers dedicated to meeting the needs of low-income individuals and families throughout the islands. Today, the Foundation invests approximately $12 million annually in nonprofit organizations operating in Hawaiʻi that have a core focus on serving vulnerable individuals and families. The Foundation provides program, operating, and capital grants across its portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give).
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Native Hawaiian Community-Based Youth Initiatives
In the past year, the Foundation granted $2.1 million to projects that elevate Native Hawaiian community-based approaches to preparing youth for the future. These collaborative efforts, most of them in rural communities, provide at-risk youth with leadership skills, strengthened connections to land and culture, career and college preparation, work-based learning opportunities, and improved health outcomes.
Rural Community Health Centers
The Foundation provides capital and operating grants to federally qualified health centers serving low-income residents across the state, with a special focus on community health centers in rural areas. The Foundation has recently provided $6.2 million in capital and operating grants that increase access to primary, dental, and behavioral health care for individuals and families. This includes community collaborations in areas such as school-based behavioral health programs and diabetes prevention.
Affordable Homeownership in Rural Communities
The Foundation supports pathways to affordable homeownership for families in the places they call home. Most recently, the Foundation made grants to support organizations that provide owner-built housing opportunities and financial education to families seeking affordable homeownership in rural communities and on Hawaiian homelands.
Collaborative Solutions to End Family and Youth Homelessness
Since 1991, the Foundation has provided grants to Hawaiʻi nonprofits that provide critical supports for people facing housing insecurity. Most recently, the Foundation provided over $4 million in capital and operating grants to a range of nonprofits working together to provide emergency and permanent housing for individuals and families across the State of Hawaiʻi.The Foundation is an active participant in Hawaiʻi’s Continua of Care, and supports collaborative efforts aimed at reducing homelessness statewide and assisting families to raise their keiki in safe, affordable homes.
Resilient Local Food Systems
In Hawaiʻi’s rural and urban “food deserts,” low-income community members have a difficult time obtaining food that supports long-term health. The Foundation supports collaborative efforts to strengthen the long-term food security of vulnerable communities in Hawaiʻi. The Foundation invested $1.3 million this year in networks of nonprofit organizations, local farmers and producers, and community health centers working together to rebuild community food systems.
Today, the Foundation invests approximately $12 million annually in direct service amutot in Israel that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families. The Foundation’s grantmaking in Israel is focused on the following three areas, which are aligned with the Foundation’s funding priorities under the Housing, Health, and Jobs portfolios: Aging in Community, Jobs, and Women at Risk and Their Children. For more information on these areas, please see the “Select Grants and Initiatives” section below.
Aging in Community
As in the United States, the Foundation supports projects that enable older adults to age independently, within their communities, and with maximum quality of life.
The following are examples of appropriate projects:
- Home modification programs that provide access to wraparound services and benefits
- Models that address older adults’ social determinants of health, with the goal of preventing hospitalization, readmission, and institutionalization
- Affordable housing that includes access to wraparound services and benefits
- Caregiver support programs that help with older adults’ daily personal care (bathing, dressing, walking, eating, etc.)
- The multisector Eshkolot or “Clusters” initiative led by the National Insurance Institute (NII) (This project currently supports the capital renovation of day care centers, especially those serving older adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.)
The Foundation supports non-academic, technical training programs leading to economic independence. Projects may serve a range of populations, including but not limited to Israeli-Arab citizens, the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox population, Ethiopian Israelis, women at risk, older adults, and adults with disabilities.
Here are two examples of appropriate projects:
- Culturally sensitive employment programs that train vulnerable populations, including Israeli Arabs, the ultra-Orthodox population, and Ethiopians, for work in the technology sector
- Residential programs that include individualized employment training, counseling, and other wraparound services for low-income and vulnerable individuals
Women at Risk and Their Children
The Foundation supports organizations and programs that meet the needs of women at risk and their children in Israel, including those experiencing homelessness, escaping domestic violence and other forms of abuse, transitioning from sex work, or experiencing unstable employment. Projects should prioritize access to wraparound services and focus on achieving economic independence.
Here are a few examples of appropriate projects:
- The renovation and construction of shelters that serve women and children escaping domestic abuse
- Programs focused on providing financial literacy training, comprehensive case management, and wraparound services that lead to greater economic independence for vulnerable women and their children
- Prevention programs that strive to reduce the effects of violence against women
For several years, the Weinberg Foundation has been privileged to bring prominent community and government leaders, primarily from Maryland, to visit Israel. Participants have the opportunity to meet with major Israeli political and community representatives, including social service agencies that reflect the Foundation’s grantmaking in Israel. The Foundation also introduces participants to experts on poverty in Israel who share not only several of the major challenges the country faces now, but also the obstacles that are likely to be present in the future. The Foundation sees this trip as an opportunity to provide leaders of similar organizations with relevant data and information.
While the Jewish community of Baltimore began sponsoring this trip in 1981, the Foundation has funded the Mission since 2001, and it has been solely running and leading the Mission since 2007. The goal is to provide participants with a rare opportunity to better understand and interpret the complex realities of the Middle East, as well as offer a firsthand look at the Weinberg Foundation’s grantmaking in Israel.
After building relationships with Mission participants for several years, in 2008, the Foundation launched the Alumni Scholars Program. This program includes annual events with keynote speakers covering current issues in Israel and throughout the Middle East as well as book mailings, an alumni directory, and reunion dinners. Nearly 600 Israel Mission Alumni now remain connected with the Foundation, as well as each other. This network of meaningful, lasting relationships has produced tangible benefits for the community at large in the form of partnerships and initiatives rooted in their shared experiences in Israel.
New York City
The Foundation supports nonprofit, direct service providers operating in New York City that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families. The Foundation’s grantmaking in New York City covers the five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. All grants align with the Foundation’s portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give).
Alleviating Poverty Within the Jewish Community
New York City is home to the largest Jewish population in the United States, and 361,100 individuals—20 percent of the Jewish community in the city—live below 150 percent of the federal poverty level (defined as $33,000 for a family of four). There are specific populations that experience poverty within the Jewish community at higher rates, notably ultra-Orthodox Jews and immigrants from the former Soviet Union (FSU) including Holocaust survivors. However, overall, poverty within the Jewish community mirrors the country, affecting older adults, single parents, individuals with disabilities (and their families), and unemployed or underemployed individuals with limited assets. Select initiatives focused on combating Jewish poverty in New York City include:
- Food Insecurity Partnership: The Foundation is partnering with UJA-Federation of New York (UJA-NY) and Met Council on a strategic initiative to alleviate food insecurity within the Jewish community in New York City. Most recently, the Foundation awarded a grant to UJA-NY to support the expansion of digital technology to a network of food pantries, enabling low-income individuals and families to obtain healthy food in an efficient and dignified manner.
- Older Adult Housing / Holocaust Survivors: The Foundation has partnered with organizations in the Jewish community that provide comprehensive services and supports to older adults, enabling them to live with maximum independence and quality of life. Services provided to older adults include transportation, access to health care, support for Holocaust survivors, and services for survivors of elder abuse.
The Foundation supports job-training programs that result in industry-recognized credentials, as well as job-placement and retention services. In New York City, the Foundation supports programs in many sectors including but not limited to information technology, health care, facilities management, woodworking, construction, food service, and administrative and customer service. The Foundation also supports capital projects, including a recent grant to Henry Street Settlement in support of its Firehouse renovation, which resulted in a comprehensive Workforce Development Center that provides employment and support services for immigrants, young adults, public housing residents, and transitional shelter residents. The Foundation is also a member of New York City Workforce Funders, a group of more than 50 public and private funders that pool and align more than $70 million annually to support a more effective workforce system for low-income job seekers in New York City.
LGBTQ Older Adults
Across its priority communities, the Foundation supports LGBTQ older adults as they age in their communities. In New York City in particular, the Foundation has provided program support for caregivers and nonprofits that are dedicated to helping LGBTQ older adults age independently and with maximum quality of life. The Foundation has also provided capital grants to support the construction of 224 units of affordable housing located in LGBTQ-supportive buildings that include senior centers focused on meeting the unique needs of LGBTQ older adults.
The Foundation supports nonprofit, direct service providers operating in Northeastern Pennsylvania that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families. The Foundation’s grantmaking in Northeastern Pennsylvania covers Scranton and the surrounding counties. Grants must align with the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give).
The Foundation’s recent support includes local convenings held in Scranton, facilitated by the Aspen Institute’s Communities Strategy Group, which focused on how public and private partners can better align and address the workforce needs of the region. The Foundation is building upon this work through new support for National Fund for Workforce Solutions to assemble foundation, government, and private-sector funders and partners interested in a sector-focused effort to address the needs of unemployed and underemployed residents in rural areas. The Foundation supports job-training programs that result in industry-recognized credentials, as well as job-placement and retention services. Employers must engage with the training organizations to verify program content, and support placement and retention services.
Older Adults and Aging Services
The Foundation has a special focus on helping low-income older adults age in their communities, with maximum independence and quality of life. Recently, the Foundation held a two-day convening in Scranton of local and national leaders in the field of aging, to discuss how to replicate best practice models in rural communities. The Foundation prioritizes funding projects that provide comprehensive No Wrong Door service delivery models, and that highlight collaboration between multiple nonprofits, government, and/or the business community—crucial to long-term sustainable success in the region. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Foundation’s recent three-year $1.5 million grant to NeighborWorks is supporting the development of a comprehensive aging in place program, including the development of a five-year strategic plan that focuses on enabling the community to better provide older adults with affordable housing, benefits counseling, health care access, and more.
See also priorities for rural grantmaking.
The Foundation supports nonprofit, direct service providers operating in the San Francisco Bay Area that are dedicated to meeting the basic needs of low-income individuals and families. The Foundation’s grantmaking covers the entire Bay Area, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Eligible organizations can apply for program, operating, and/or capital grants that align with the Foundation’s portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services (see How We Give). The Foundation is particularly interested in partnering with nonprofits in the Bay Area that:
- Provide direct services in the area of youth and family homelessness
- Run scaled out-of-school time and/or college- and career-preparedness programs in the Bay Area
Youth and Family Homelessness
The Foundation has a special interest in alleviating youth and family homelessness in the Bay Area. In 2019, the Foundation joined the Rising Up Campaign as a funder, supporting this public-private partnership between the City of San Francisco, local nonprofits, and philanthropic partners with the goal of reducing youth homelessness in San Francisco by 50 percent by 2023. The Foundation has awarded operating, program, and capital grants in this special area of focus since beginning to fund in the Bay Area in 2018.
The Foundation is supporting out-of-school time and summer programs working at scale in the Bay Area. Of particular interest are programs that emphasize academic achievement with enrichment opportunities woven in. Preference is given to programs that work with students over multiple years, and that demonstrate partnerships with other organizations and local school districts to support young people through grade school and to college and a career.
College and Career Preparedness
A family-sustaining career is the ultimate pathway out of poverty, and there are multiple paths to that career. Although the Foundation does not fund colleges and universities directly, it is interested in partnering with organizations that support students on pathways to and through college, community college, or career training. Important pieces for application include evidence of degree completion, industry-recognized credentials, and/or employment of young people.
The Foundation has committed $3.7 million over three years to support several key initiatives aimed at improving the lives of Stockton residents. Funding will go to Reinvent Stockton Foundation to support Stockton Scholars and Stockton Service Corps with the goal of strengthening the high school to career pipeline and civic leadership in Stockton. Funding will also go to Advance Peace, an organization that provides transformational opportunities for young men involved in lethal firearm offenses by placing them in a high-touch, personalized fellowship.
The Foundation’s rural grantmaking focuses on communities located within, or surrounding, any of the Foundation’s priority communities. The Foundation has chosen not to adopt a strict definition of “rural.” Instead, potential grantees should provide, as part of their Letter of Inquiry, sufficient information to demonstrate that their service area is rural. Factors to be considered include but are not limited to population size and concentration, proximity to large metropolitan areas, number of service providers in the area, and infrastructure challenges that make meeting the needs of isolated and vulnerable people especially difficult.
In addition to aligning with the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolios of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services, special consideration will be given to grant requests that align with the funding priorities listed below.
Rural communities face unique challenges connecting low-income residents to critical services, including geographic isolation, lack of transportation options, and limited cell phone and internet service. The Foundation awards capital and program grants that focus on helping low-income individuals and families in rural areas access these services.
Here are a few examples of appropriate projects:
- “Demand-Response” Transit Programs allow individuals to make advance requests for transportation to access critical services such as medical care, behavioral health services, employment-training programs, or after-school programming. Programs include vanpools, car-sharing and share-ride programs, taxi subsidies, and volunteer driver programs.
- Care Coordination Models take a unique approach to providing comprehensive care services. One example is Program for Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) centers that coordinate all Medicare and Medicaid benefits, including health care (i.e., primary care), meals, social services, and transportation. PACE programs also utilize converted vans, small trucks, and other vehicles to provide health screenings, dental services, benefits enrollment, and other services.
- Technology and Telehealth Models use telecommunications and information technology to provide immediate assistance, particularly in the area of behavioral health.
The Foundation is interested in specific jobs programs that seek—in partnership with local stakeholders—to bring best practices and programming to rural communities. In particular, the Foundation is focused on supporting youth in rural communities through high-quality, school-based career exploration programs, as well as career and technical education initiatives that help students move directly from graduation to work-based internships or apprenticeships.
Capacity Building and Technical Assistance
The Foundation recognizes that organizations serving rural populations are often limited in the number of people that they can serve, and in their ability to develop organizational infrastructure and implement best practices. The Foundation is interested in supporting capacity building and technical assistance for rural nonprofits, including but not limited to efforts to improve data collection and management; develop systems and processes for tracking metrics and outcomes; enhance technological and other infrastructure; and replicate best practices in a given area that align with the Foundation’s funding priorities.
Statement on COVID-19 emergency funding: The Foundation is working in each of its priority communities to support grantees in meeting urgent needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. For an overview of emergency grants made to date, please click here.