Community Leadership Project Announces $5.7 Million in Grants for Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color

The Community Leadership Project, a creation of three of the Bay Area’s largest private foundations, announced today its first round of grants to intermediary organizations that will work to strengthen nonprofit organizations that are led by or serve people of color and low-income communities in California. This first of two rounds of grants distributes $5.7 million to nine intermediary organizations in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Coast, and the San Joaquin Valley.

The Community Leadership Project is funded by the David and Lucile Packard, James Irvine, and William and Flora Hewlett foundations, each of which have long histories of serving communities of color and low-income communities in California and, in some cases, around the world. The Project was launched in April 2009.

In the belief that those closest to their communities best know community needs, the Project has elected to work through intermediary organizations in the three regions to make the grants. Six of the intermediary organizations announced today will regrant funds to provide core support and develop the capacity of small and midsized organizations. They are:

Two additional intermediary organizations will receive funds to directly help develop leadership mostly in small to midsized organizations serving people of color and low-income communities. They are:

  • LeaderSpring, in Oakland, which will apply the funds to expand an existing two-year leadership training program to serve an additional 56 leaders, the majority of them people of color, in the Bay Area.
  • Rockwood Leadership Institute, in Berkeley, which will create a year-long California Leaders of Color Fellowship. Rockwood will select 54 leaders over three years. The leaders will be divided into three groups of 18 fellows representing each of the three regions.

Finally, one intermediary, CompassPoint, in Milpitas and San Francisco, will offer technical assistance of various types to organizations serving low-income communities and communities of color in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley. The Project will underwrite the cost for approximately 150 individuals to attend CompassPoint’s various workshops, from developing fundraising skills to executive director training.

Through these intermediaries, Community Leadership Project funds will be made available to between 50 and 60 nonprofit organizations with annual budgets of less than $2 million, and reach many more with its training programs.

The intermediary organizations will either use existing selection processes or create new ones for awarding grants. Each of the intermediaries is working closely with an advisory committee of community leaders to help determine grant recipients. For more information on how to apply, prospective grantees can visit the Community Leadership Project Web site at

To qualify, an organization must be small or midsized and serve communities of color or low-income communities in one of the targeted geographic areas. There will be an emphasis on organizations led by people of color, but that is not essential to be considered for a grant. Nonprofit groups that receive funding will be offered some combination of leadership development, operating support, technical assistance, and opportunities for networking with peer organizations.

Another $2.3 million of Community Leadership Project funds will be reserved for a second, smaller round of grants to be made through intermediary funders during the Project’s three-year course and then distributed to additional organizations that serve low-income communities and communities of color in California.

Please visit the Community Leadership Project Web site at for more information about the Project and related stories about past grantmaking.

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