California Community Foundation pledges $1 billion to L.A. County nonprofits

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In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the California Community Foundation is pledging $1 billion to Los Angeles County's nonprofit organizations over the next decade. The funding announcement follows a survey that found L.A. County residents want to be involved in their communities but believe they don't have enough time or knowledge to help. In the USC Dornsife/California Community Foundation/Los Angeles Times poll, 49% of respondents said they were too busy or didn't have enough time to be involved; 39% said they weren't sure how to help.

"Our commitment to L.A. County is very strong," said Antonia Hernandez, president and chief executive of the foundation. "For us, making that commitment of $1 billion over 10 years in a way gives a sense of stability and continuity and that we’re here for the long run to handle the difficult issues and challenges facing L.A. County."

Nonprofit organizations must apply for the funds, which will be given out as grants, loans and scholarships. Applications will be reviewed by staff and the foundation's 20-member board when it meets four times a year. The foundation hopes to focus on early childhood education, low-income housing, community clinics and the arts, Hernandez said.

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The California Community Foundation provided $700 million in grants over the last decade. In El Monte, there's the 10-year Scholars Savings Program that helps parents put away money for higher education and promotes the importance of college to kids and teenagers. The BLOOM program, a five-year initiative funded by the foundation, targets African American boys between the ages of 14 and 18 who have been under the supervision of probation officers and helps them get a job or get into college.

To provide these new funds, foundation staff will have to fundraise in addition to the interest received from a $1.5-billion endowment.

"For us, it’s a stretch and we will have to go out there and work more with our donors, but we feel that we will be able to meet that commitment,” Hernandez said. "We didn’t want to make a statement or commitment where we felt it was not doable.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas are expected to join foundation officials Wednesday for the funding announcement and a town hall meeting on improving life in the region.

(The Broad Foundation has granted funds to the California Community Foundation to support Education Matters, a new Times digital initiative devoted to more in-depth reporting on schools.)

Read more at latimes.com