On July 24, 2020, 43 foundations and SCG submitted a letter to the LA County Board of Supervisors advocating for our nonprofit sector’s sustainability. This letter responded to the direct request from nonprofit leaders asking philanthropy to show solidarity with them by asking the County to take immediate and long-term actions to help nonprofits survive and thrive. The letter asks the Supervisors to seriously consider the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force’s Sector Work Group’s recommendations on Foundations and Nonprofits.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) established the Los Angeles County Economic Resiliency Task Force in April 2020 to “leverage public-private partnerships to improve the economy, create jobs, and return to full employment.” This Task Force expects to develop actionable recommendations based on the best practices for a phased recovery of the County’s economy. The Task Force consists ofthe five members of the board and the representatives from 13 economic sectors.
The Board of Supervisors
County of Los Angeles
Board Executive Office, Room 383,
Hall of Administration Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Board Chair Barger and Honorable Members of the Board:
We are encouraged by Los Angeles County’s demonstrated understanding of the vital role nonprofit community partners play in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing urgent racial and social justice issues, ensuring social and economic recovery, and contributing to the region’s employment goals.
Given the devastating impact that COVID-19 and the consequent economic recession are having on our county, Los Angeles’ 10,000 nonprofits have never been more essential than now in providing the safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities and, in so doing, maintaining Los Angeles’ civic structure. Yet without immediate and deliberate action from this Board to protect the nonprofit sector, we believe that the County is in danger of undermining its stated goals of improving service access and delivery to high-needs communities at this moment of crisis.
The urgency for Board action is further underscored by the current conversation about redefining “public safety.” The financial stability of the nonprofit/social impact sector is essential to ensure that our County can meet the current need for services and adapt service models that better empower nonprofits to engage and serve hard-to-reach communities.
Immediate solutions recommended by the Work Group that we support include:
Restructure LA County’s contracting process for nonprofit/social impact organizations to acknowledge the key partnership role that they serve in equitably and proportionally extending the County’s workforce. Now is the time to fast-track contract reform efforts that promote more nimble, less restrictive funding so that nonprofit organizations can better respond to emerging needs and carry out critical safety net functions. Reforms include granting the flexibility to extend contracts or carry surpluses into the next contract year, adopting the LA County CEO’s 2015 recommendation to reduce County administrative costs related to wasteful duplication across departments (estimated at 1% savings, or $300 million), improving the County’s redundant, time-consuming contracting and auditing system, and concluding the Indirect Cost Project to change the out-of-date reimbursement rate to better reflect accurate nonprofit cost structures.
Develop partnerships between the public, nonprofit, corporate, and philanthropic sectors to establish funding priorities, improve coordination, and better align resources. Given the disproportionate impact of these crises on communities of color, the County must prioritize service delivery to the most vulnerable populations through substantive partnerships with community-based organizations that elevate and rely on these nonprofit organizations’ expertise and experience. Together with these nonprofit leaders, and those from the corporate and philanthropic sectors, the County should establish transparent, agreed-upon, data-driven economic recovery plans, and accountability metrics and track progress against these goals. Finally, the County should direct the Center for Strategic Partnerships to incentivize County departments to collaborate with nonprofit organizations—in addition to philanthropy, the corporate sector, academia, and local city governments—in order to improve coordination, drive creativity, and better leverage resources.
Support the safe reopening of service delivery in communities. The County must ensure that community-based organizations have the necessary PPE equipment to re-open their workplaces safely—and to stay open for the immediate future—and ensure that organizations following proper safety protocols are legally protected from liability linked to COVID-19.
Los Angeles’ philanthropic community responded to the first phase of the COVID-19 crisis by donating well over $100 million to the nonprofit/social impact sector and loosening grant restrictions across the board, demonstrating that we care deeply about the long-term viability of these organizations, most of which drive the equitable and proportional delivery of service at the community level. Despite our sizable collective contribution, our resources are limited, and these limitations force us to see our role as providers of adjunct support to augment the larger funding from the Los Angeles County government that sustains nonprofits to carry out their missions. These nonprofits are the entities closest to the communities that need help most, and they are best positioned to influence how those communities will fare at this critical juncture.
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a healthy future for all Angelenos and look forward to continuing to working together to support Los Angeles’ valued nonprofit community.
Fred Ali, President & CEO, Weingart Foundation
Frank Baxter, Trustee, K & F Baxter Foundation
Judy Belk, President and CEO, The California Wellness Foundation
Nancy M. Berman, President and Executive Director, The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation
Diana Buckhantz, Executor, Vladimir and Araxia Buckhantz Foundation
Elise Buik, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Debbie I. Chang, M.P.H., President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation
Wendy Chang, Director, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
Kym Eisner, Executive Director, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
Shawn Escoffery, Executive Director, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation
Cara Esposito, Executive Director, Leonetti-O'Connell Family Foundation
Chris Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers
Sophie Fanelli President, Stuart Foundation
Michael Fleming, Executive Director, David Bohnett Foundation
Wendy Garen, President & CEO, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Bernadette Glenn, President, WHH Foundation
Shane Goldmith, President & CEO, Liberty Hill Foundation
Antonia Hernandez, President & CEO, California Community Foundation
Cathy Hession, President, The Carol & James Collins Foundation
Don Howard, President and CEO, James Irvine Foundation
Alan C. Johnson, President, Crail-Johnson Foundation
Cinny Kennard, Executive Director, Annenberg Foundation
Surina Khan, CEO, Women’s Foundation of California
Scott P. Koch, Executive Director, The Reissa Foundation
Robin Kramer, Managing Director, The Smidt Foundation
Peter Laugharn, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Rachel Levin, President. Fundamental Philanthropy
Mary Good Lindgren, Trustee, George and Marcia Good Family Foundation
Janis Minton, Senior Advisor, The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation
Lisa Parker, President and Executive Director, The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation
Claire Peeps, Executive Director, Durfee Foundation
Gerun Riley, President, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Angel Roberson Daniels, Executive Director, Angell Foundation
Robert K. Ross, President and CEO, The California Endowment
Rachel Roth, Vice President, Roth Family Foundation
Tara Roth, President, Goldhirsh Foundation
Marvin I. Schotland, President & CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Renata Simril, President and CEO, LA84 Foundation
Trent Stamp, Executive Director, Eisner Foundation
Sarah Walczyk, Executive Director, Satterberg Foundation
Winnie Wechsler, Executive Director, Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation
Adrienne Wittenberg, Executive Director, S. Mark Taper Foundation
Joe Womac, President, Specialty Family Foundation
Richard S. Ziman, Trustee, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation