The Southern California Program has a broad mission to support projects in five areas: Arts and Culture, Civic and Community services, Early Childhood care and education, Health Care, and Pre-collegiate Education. Within these areas of interest, the Foundation seeks to promote the healthy development of children and youth, strengthen families, and enrich the lives of people in the region.

We support capital projects, expansion of programs that are promising or part of a larger effort, piloting new models, and systems change initiatives.

We prioritize support for organizations that strengthen the resiliency of under-resourced communities in Los Angeles County. We place a special emphasis on projects that focus on children and youth from low-income families and special needs populations, including the developmentally disabled, foster children, and homeless families.

The Southern California Program’s process consists of an optional Concept Review, an Application, and an invitation-only Site Visit.

FUNDING GUIDELINES

Please keep in mind the Southern California Program’s areas of
interest and funding guidelines:

WHAT WE FUND
Projects that:
  • Are consistent with the Foundation’s funding areas of interest
  • Are for multi-year program grants
  • Are for construction, renovation, and/or equipment
  • Demonstrate organizational leadership and support, and thorough planning
  • Focus on low-income children, youth, and families
  • Improve the lives of those who are disabled, in the foster care or probation systems, or are homeless
  • Can result in significant, long-term impact for the target population,organization, region and/or field
  • Have potential to inform the field and/or make “systems change” at scale
  • Can provide data on the effectiveness of the approach
  • Expand or replicate a proven program or model
  • Demonstrate other funding sources are being fully utilized
WHAT WE DO NOT FUND
Projects that:
  • Occur outside of Los Angeles County
  • Are only for one year (calendar or fiscal)
  • Are for capital but lack site control (via signed lease or closed escrow) and, if required, a Conditional Use Permit
  • Are proposed by organizations with an interim CEO or Executive Director
  • Are for the same purposes previously funded by the Foundation
  • Are for core operating or general administrative overhead
  • Reduce an operating deficit or are for deferred facilities maintenance
  • Establish or build endowments and/or award scholarships
  • Sponsor special events such as fundraisers, galas, and/or conferences
  • Underwrite book publication and/or film and theater production
  • Request less than $100,000 or more than $1 million

Grant Cycle Timeline

We award grants semi-annually in June and December.

FOR THE JUNE GRANT CYCLE:

  • Concept Review
    (optional)
  • October 1 –
    November 15
  • Application
    Deadline
  • January 5* by
    4:30 pm (PT)
  • Invite / Decline
    Notification
  • By February 22
  • Invitation-Only Site
    Visit Phase
  • March to mid-April

FOR THE DECEMBER GRANT CYCLE:

  • Concept Review
    (optional)
  • April 1 – May 15
  • Application
    Deadline
  • July 5* by
    4:30 pm (PT)
  • Invite / Decline
    Notification
  • By August 22
  • Invitation-Only Site
    Visit Phase
  • September to
    mid-October

*If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) the following Monday.

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Concept Review (optional)

Our semi-annual Concept Review process provides the opportunity to confirm your organization’s eligibility and receive feedback from Foundation staff on up to three (3) project ideas. While participation in the Concept Review is not a prerequisite for applying to the Southern California Program, it is strongly encouraged. Please see the Eligibility Requirements section at the end of this page for more details or download our Eligibility Checklist.

TIMING

The Concept Review process starts in the W. M. Keck Foundation online portal. The portal is open for this process from October 1 until November 15 for our June grant cycle and from April 1 until May 15 for our December grant cycle. We allow one submission per organization per cycle. Once your Concept Paper is received, staff will respond within four weeks.

CONCEPT GUIDELINES

When preparing the Concept Paper, please keep in mind the Southern California Program’s areas of interest and funding guidelines. Concept Papers must not exceed two (2) pages and may contain the descriptions of up to three (3) proposed projects. The following details must be included for each proposed project:

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    • Project Title(s)
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    • Overview(s) emphasizing evidence of efficacy, piloted efforts (if applicable), and potential for impact.
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    • Timeline specifying dates. If capital, specify construction start date.
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    • Estimated cost and total funds raised to date.
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    • Amount requested and an explanation of how Keck dollars will be allocated.
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    • In addition to the concept paper, please include the organization’s one-page fact sheet, if available.

Submit a Concept Paper

To access the Concept Review portal…

SUBMIT HERE

Returning Users

To access Concept submissions in progress or submitted requests…

ACCOUNT LOGIN
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Application

Eligible organizations may submit one application per grant cycle to the Southern California Program. We will not accept applications after the deadline. For the June grant cycle, applications are due January 5th by 4:30pm (PT),and for the December grant cycle, applications are due July 5th by 4:30 pm (PT). We appreciate early submissions. Your organization will receive an email receipt confirming that we have received the application. At any point during the application process, your organization may withdraw the application without prejudice to future requests.

The Foundation will notify applicants whether they are invited to the site visit phase. Please do not contact the Foundation to check on the status of an application.

APPLICATION CHECKLIST

The Application Checklist is available for download as a PDF .


Items you will need to apply online:
  • Cover Page (Form provided in portal)
  • Institutional Priority of Request (Form provided in portal)
  • Project Abstract
  • Five-page Narrative (Form provided in portal)
  • Resumes of Key Project Personnel
  • Five unaffiliated experts in the field who can objectively review the request and are unaffiliated with the organization
  • Project Budget (Form provided in portal)
  • Fundraising History (Form provided in portal)
  • Audited Financial Statements (an accountant’s review or compilation does not suffice)*
  • IRS Section 501(c)(3) Determination Letter and designation as a public charity*
  • State of California 23701(d) Determination Letter*
  • Governing Board (name and affiliation only)
  • Fact Sheet or Annual Report

*All tax-exempt documentation and audited financial statements must be in the same, current, and full legal name of the qualifying organization. Please refer to the Foundation’s Eligibility Requirements at the end of this page for more information.

Submit a new Application

To access the application portal…

APPLY HERE

Returning Users

To access applications in progress or submitted requests…

ACCOUNT LOGIN
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Site Visit (by invitation only)

After we review your completed application, we will notify you whether or not you are invited to a Site Visit. The Site Visit is by invitation only. You must submit all requested documents for this phase by:

  • March 1 at 4:30pm (PT) for consideration at our June board meeting
  • September 1 at 4:30pm (PT) for consideration at our December board meeting

If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) on the following Monday.

We will conduct Site Visits during the periods listed below. Details on dates and times will be provided in the invitation letter.

  • March to mid-April
  • September to mid-October
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Eligibility

An Eligibility Checklist is available to download as a PDF.

Organizations must be headquartered in Southern California. The Foundation may also consider national or statewide organizations with an independent affiliate or local chapter or local office in Southern California for projects that benefit communities within Los Angeles County.

Organizations must be:

  • Exempt from federal taxation as defined by 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be designated as one of the following:
    • A public charity as defined by Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) or 170(b)(A)(I-VI) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • An exempt operating foundations as defined by Section 4940(d)(2).
    • No grants will be made to private foundations (other than exempt operating foundations) or 509(a)(3) organizations.
  • Exempt from California State Franchise or Income Tax under Section 23701(d) of the Revenue and Taxation Code, if located in the State of California.
    • A public charity as defined by Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) or 170(b)(A)(I-VI) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • An exempt operating foundation as defined by Section 4940(d)(2).
    • No grants will be made to private founfiations (other than exempt operating foundations) or 509(a)(3) organizations.
  • Able to provide current full, certified, audited financial statements prepared on an annual basis in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. If in existence less than five years, the organization must be able to provide at least two consecutive full, certified, audited financial statements prepared on an annual basis.
    • A public charity as defined by Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) or 170(b)(A)(I-VI) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • An exempt operating foundation as defined by Section 4940(d)(2).
    • No grants will be made to private founfiations (other than exempt operating foundations) or 509(a)(3) organizations.
  • Able to provide the most recently filed complete Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), including Public Charity Status and Public Support (Schedule A).
    • Any organization designated as an exempt operating foundation must be able to provide the most recently filed complete Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF) in place of Form 990.

If the Organization:

  • Is proposing a collaborative project, the lead institution must be identified and all members must meet the Foundation’s eligibility requirements. Other members of the collaboration may be requested to submit additional documentation.
    • the federal, state or local laws pursuant to which the organization is created and governed;
    • whether the organization also is a (a) school as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii), (b) hospital or medical research institute as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) or (c) other organization described in Section 170(b);
    • that the organization is legally and financially responsible for its debts; and
    • that the organization is not a non-operating private foundation within the meaning of Section 509.
  • Is a government unit as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(v) and (c)(1) and, therefore, does not receive a determination letter as to such organization’s tax exempt classification from the Internal Revenue Service, the organization must submit a Declaration of Status signed by the organization’s chief executive or president and by its chief legal officer. The declaration must specify:
    • the federal, state or local laws pursuant to which the organization is created and governed;
    • whether the organization also is a (a) school as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii),
      (b) hospital or medical research institute as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) or (c) other organization described in Section 170(b);
    • that the organization is legally and financially responsible for its debts; and
    • that the organization is not a non-operating private foundation within the meaning of Section 509.
  • Is part of a group that received a determination letter as to such group’s tax exempt classification from the Internal Revenue Service, such organization must provide such determination letter that identifies such organization as part of such group. Such organization also must provide an attestation as to the continued group status of such organization. Such attestation must be signed by the organization’s chief executive or president and by its chief legal officer. The Form 990 required for such organization may be the Form 990 of the group.
    • the federal, state or local laws pursuant to which the organization is created and governed;
    • whether the organization also is a (a) school as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii), (b) hospital or medical research institute as defined by Section 170(b)(1)(A)(iii) or (c) other organization described in Section 170(b);
    • that the organization is legally and financially responsible for its debts; and
    • that the organization is not a non-operating private foundation within the meaning of Section 509.

All tax-exempt documentation, audited financial statements and the Form 990 must be in the same, current and full name of the qualifying organization.

The management and fiscal condition of an institution is taken into account when reviewing an institution for eligibility.

Grant agreements will be deemed to have been entered into in the County of Los Angeles, State of California; and, California law will apply to the interpretation and enforcement of the grant provisions.

Please feel free to contact the Foundation in advance to check eligibility and tax requirements.