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From Latino Philanthropy to Balinese Culture

Sep 18, 2009


MENLO PARK, Calif. – From fostering philanthropy within the San Francisco Latino community to nurturing Balinese music and dance in the East Bay, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation made $8.2 million in grants this spring to 36 organizations serving diverse and disadvantaged communities in California.

Across the state, organizations received grants in the Foundation's four primary areas of California grantmaking: population, the environment, education, and performing arts. Among highlights of the grants awarded are:

Performing Arts – Bringing the Arts to Diverse Communities

Gamelan Sekar Jaya

Gamelan Sekar Jaya performs Legong with 8-year-old dancer Dewa Ayu Dewi Larassanti. Photo courtesy of Ben Belknap.

 

The Performing Arts Program made over $1 million in grants to 7 organizations that give low-income and diverse Bay Area communities greater access and ability to participate in the arts. The Program's grantmaking supports organizations that often work at the intersection of arts and youth development, civic engagement, and economic development.

Award highlights include a $300,000 grant to the Community Music Center in San Francisco, which serves 15,500 audience members annually through more than 260 free and low-cost concerts. The Center offers a comprehensive teaching, ensemble, and performance program from its main location in the Mission district and its Richmond district branch, after-school programs for at-risk youth, and extension programs throughout the city. Students make music in a variety of traditions, including western classical, jazz, blues, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Chinese. Tuition assistance on a sliding scale goes to 60% of the Center's nearly 2,300 students, from pre-kindergarten to retirees.

A $70,000 grant went to the Oakland-based Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a 60-member music and dance troupe that fosters artistic exchange between Bali and the United States through residencies, workshops, performances, and the creation of innovative works of music and dance.

The troupe is trained in Balinese performing arts by Balinese masters who are invited for extended residencies as guest artistic directors. Performances reach 8,000 people throughout the Bay Area at events such as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and the San Francisco International Festival, and at venues such as the Asian Art Museum, the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and the Julia Morgan Center in Berkeley. The new grant will enable the organization to continue to build audiences while preserving both a traditional Balinese art form and an effective model of artist residencies.

Population – Supporting the Latino Family

The Population Program – which makes grants to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancies and enhance reproductive rights, particularly in disadvantaged communities – gave a $30,000 strategic planning grant to strengthen the Latino Community Foundation in San Francisco.

The organization was founded on the vision of promoting civic engagement and philanthropy within the Bay Area Latino community and enabling Latinos to help Latinos. It makes grants to small and mid-sized service organizations, some of which work to prevent unintended pregnancies in that community.

Environment – Improving the Environment in Disadvantaged Communities

The Environment Program made $989,000 in grants to support 11 California organizations that address environmental issues in the state's most economically disadvantaged communities. Through these grants, the Program works to improve the quality of life for these communities with urban parks, recreation programs for youth, and a range of other programs.

The grants included $110,000 to the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. The project works on the local, state, and federal levels to reduce the disproportionate impact that pollution often has on low-income communities. It focuses on three major sources of pollution in Southern California: the nation's largest port complex, in Los Angeles and Long Beach; the planned expansion of I-710, one of Southern California's busiest highways; and rail yard facilities that are part of the state's freight transport system.

Another grant, for $350,000, went to the San Francisco Foundation for its Environmental Health and Justice Capacity Building Fund. The money will be used to strengthen organizations that are part of this foundation's Environmental Health and Justice Initiative, which began in 2001. These organizations work on the urgent environmental problems facing low-income and marginalized communities of color in the Bay Area.

Education – Promoting Equality and Studying the Dropout Problem

The Education Program awarded over $6 million in grants to 16 California organizations mounting broad efforts to improve the state's public education from kindergarten to community college. Grants ranged from support for individual projects within a single school district to research into systemic issues.

In Los Angeles, a $600,000 grant to the Advancement Project will support this innovative civil rights and policy organization as it launches new strategies to promote ethnic and racial equality in educational settings. The organization has been highly successful, playing an important advocacy role in securing more than $1 billion in school bond funding to repair and renovate overcrowded urban schools and almost $300 million for charter school facilities projects, among other achievements. With this grant, the project will continue policy work on K-12 facilities, preschool and early education, and K-12 governance and finance reform, as well as local improvement efforts in the Los Angeles school district.

A grant of $75,000 to the University of California, Santa Barbara, will support two new studies of California's high school dropout problem. This work, which is being co-funded by the James Irvine Foundation, will build on a very successful body of research conducted over the past two years in response to a technical assistance request from   the legislature's Select Committee on High School Graduation. The new studies will estimate the cost of juvenile violence and crime associated with high school dropouts and examine the links between health and dropout status.

Special Projects – Lowering the Dropout Rate among Students at Risk

BUILD teaches at-risk students entrepreneurial skills, which they can then apply to marketing themselves in the college admissions process.

 

In addition to making grants through the programs listed above, the Hewlett Foundation also supports work it deems of merit through a special projects program. As part of this program, the Foundation recently awarded $75,000 to BUILD, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit organization that works with at-risk students in East Palo Alto, East Menlo Park, Redwood City, and Oakland and teaches them business and entrepreneurial skills as an inducement to stay in school. The grant will help BUILD evaluate the effectiveness of its work.

A full list of Hewlett Foundation grantees, along with links to their Web sites, is available online.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development, performing arts, philanthropy, and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Contact:
Jack Fischer
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 ext. 5744
jfischer@hewlett.org