The David and Lucile Packard, James Irvine, and William and Flora Hewlett foundations have announced commitments totaling $8 million over three years for a new project designed to strengthen grassroots organizations that are led by or serve people and communities of color in the states.
The Community Leadership Project will support small and midsize organizations in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast region, and San Joaquin Valley — regions selected after staff at the foundations interviewed community leaders about their needs, studied the state's changing demographics, and considered the geographic priorities of each foundation.
The project comes on the heels of a December 2008 report (30 pages, PDF) by the Foundation Coalition, which was formed by several California foundations — including Packard, Irvine, and Hewlett — to discuss how to better meet the needs of nonprofits in the state. The report lays out a set of grantmaking activities for 2009 and beyond that will provide greater support for leadership development and capacity building among California nonprofits.
In an open letter announcing the project, Packard president and CEO Carol S. Larson, Irvine president and CEO James E. Canales, and Hewlett president Paul Brest wrote that the state's future depends significantly on the success of communities of color, which together comprise a majority of California's population. "And while this new project is designed to last three years," the letter states, "we view it as part of a continuing and open-ended commitment on all of our parts to listen to these communities and to work to assure that all of California's citizens prosper through effective grantmaking."