Grantmaking Update from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
The COVID-19 crisis requires all hands on deck to meet the challenge of our time. In the spirit of collective action and an unwavering belief in what we can achieve together, The Broad Foundation is reevaluating its grantmaking to help sustain, support and rebuild our community in the coming months and years as the pandemic’s devastating impacts are revealed. Over 50 years ago, Eli and Edye Broad arrived in Los Angeles and found a city where they could realize the American Dream. In the decades since, despite tremendous effort and goodwill, Los Angeles has struggled to give that opportunity to more of its residents. It’s time to reimagine that promise.
First, we continue to ensure a stable future for the education, scientific and arts institutions we have created including The Broad Center, the Broad Institute, The Broad museum and The Broad Stage. More than ever, we believe in the need to address inequities in our K-12 public education system, the power and truth of science and the joyful and provocative experience of visual and performing arts.
We have also pivoted to take care of grantees by relaxing reporting requirements and allowing more flexibility with funds so they can respond to their urgent immediate needs and continue their essential work.
The fragility of our Los Angeles community is real and it is urgent. Immediate relief was essential, so we have made new grants to support:
1. Vulnerable families and their basic needs
2. Low-income students struggling with distance learning
3. Small businesses and nonprofit institutions integral to low-income communities
Our initial COVID-19 grants supported collaborative efforts to provide childcare for essential front-line workers, financial assistance to individuals and families facing economic hardship, and connecting individuals and small businesses to critical local, state and federal financial resources.
Most recently we have made contributions to:
Food Forward, a nonprofit that fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing surplus fresh produce and distributing it to 1,800 hunger relief and service agencies feeding families across Southern California. An estimated 1.1 million L.A. County residents experience food insecurity on an ongoing basis—more than any county in the nation. Now, with an increasing number of food insecure families, L.A. food banks are struggling to meet demand. Food insecurity impacts a child’s ability to learn and a family’s ability to function; meanwhile food waste (40 percent of our countries food supply is wasted) is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. The cycle is vicious: those same greenhouse gases disproportionately impact health outcomes for vulnerable families. We will continue to look for organizations that utilize a double or triple utility approach to our recovery.
Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation, to help address the educational crisis made worse by access to technology. The digital divide—the unequal access to devices and technology for low-income students—has left many unable to participate in distance learning. Tens of thousands of students in L.A. County were either completely unable to join remote classes or resorted to using a parent’s phone to complete assignments. Our funds will help provide laptop computers, internet access and other needed digital tools to students in need.
We are actively exploring opportunities to prevent further learning loss for L.A. students by partnering with out-of-school time STEM organizations to offer engaging, creative and rigorous summer learning experiences.
Committee for Greater L.A., a joint partnership between USC, UCLA, the City and County of Los Angeles, together with local foundations to prepare a recovery roadmap for federal, state and local civic and philanthropic leaders. This initiative will inform policy solutions and funding priorities to address the systemic inequities and policy barriers for vulnerable populations that have been exacerbated by this crisis.
Despite the extreme uncertainty of today, there are some things we do know: Recovering from this pandemic will be long and hard, and this is just the beginning. Grantmaking alone won’t solve anything, but those of us in a position to help have a responsibility to step up.
So while we will continue to assess immediate unfilled needs and invest in organizations on the frontlines helping to address those needs, we plan to spend even more time preparing for the recovery ahead. No one organization—philanthropy, government, business or academia—will be able to solve these challenges alone. So we are listening, learning, engaging and partnering with policy experts, community stakeholders and civic leaders who are interested not just in rebuilding what we have lost, but in adapting and remaking our city into an even better place to live.