Multi-colored waves with text that reads, "Together, we can and we will achieve greater equity, justice, and peace for our community."
General | December 28, 2022
Eight Weitz Family Foundation staff and board members are seated at a long table and are in conversation with each other.
Equity | September 26, 2023
This blog is estimated to take 3 minutes to read.
When the Weitz Family Foundation was created, we did not have a formal grant application in place. In fact, when asked, we said we did not accept unsolicited applications!
This was both true and not true.
Because of the community activity of each member of the Weitz family, we could invite funding requests from organizations where we were involved. If we received a request from an agency or community leader we knew, the request would at least be shared among the directors. If an agency could connect to board member or acquaintance with the family, this also provided a way in, because the agency could get an introduction. Recognizing we could not be a social justice organization without making ourselves accessible beyond our friends and their friends (one more version of institutional racism), we embarked on an application process ten years ago that would be open to local non-profits regardless of whether they had met a Weitz or not.
Our fears, however, were real—would we suddenly be flooded by every agency in town? How would we manage the administrative work? What if we changed our minds about how or what we wanted to fund? Would we still be able to fund the “exceptions” to our rules? Over time, these questions have come up during the foundation meetings. Philanthropy is not a science, and emotional giving is real. Just because we put a process in place did not eliminate all of the difficult decisions.
Today, reading your applications is at the heart of our work. We know it is where you tell us your story and provide insight as to what is happening on the frontlines. I am loving this year’s review – I am learning about what is happening in Omaha, and how folks are working together to make this a more equitable place to live. It appears to me this year that there is a greater level of optimism and innovation, perhaps since 2019.
Under the new leadership of Emily Nguyen, the staff of Weitz Family Foundation moved beyond Wufoo this year. She led us through a process to review available technology. We wanted to find something that would address the needs of grantees, provide infrastructure for internal review, and allow historical scrapbooking for our foundation directors. GivingData and this year’s process are new and improved, and we are curious to hear from all 200+ applicants how it went. To this end, we have a mechanism by which you can leave anonymous feedback.
Please leave us a review at www.grantadvisor.org. These reviews are truly the best way for us to receive unfiltered and constructive feedback anonymously. Although I have never completed a review, I hear it does not take long—fewer than 5 minutes! We want to know how we can be partners in this work and will take your comments to heart as we reflect on our efforts this year.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with you.