The Community Fund was launched in the wake of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles. Initially, it was intended to provide resources to community members seeking to respond to the city’s crisis. In time, it became a seed fund for a range of new civic ventures in LA.
Between 1992 and 2005, the Durfee Foundation made 121 grants through its Community Fund. To be eligible, an organization had to be less than five years old, have a budget of less than $100,000, and be responding to a critical need in Los Angeles.
For many, the Durfee Community Fund grant represented first-ever philanthropic support. Typical grants ranged from $2,500 – $20,000. Durfee’s goal was for its early investment to leverage other contributions, and in most cases, it did.
The program was discontinued in 2006, at a time when it seemed unwise to encourage the start-up of new organizations, given the decline in public and private sector funding in L.A., and the general paucity of sustaining resources.
To reflect on the journey and assess the impact of the Community Fund, we convened a group of Community Fund grant recipients to seek their advice about next steps, or other ways to support emerging ideas for the public benefit in L.A. In response to their input, and in recognition that change will always require making space for newcomers with fresh ideas, the fund was redesigned and relaunched in 2007 as the Springboard Fund.
Building upon the Community Fund model, Springboard is also open by application to newcomers, but exercises a heightened focus on innovation, community building and sustainability. Springboard offers larger, multi-year grants, as well as a seasoned, nonprofit mentor for the duration of the grant period, and a special Durfee Brain Trust convening of informal advisors.
Community Fund grant recipients from 2002-2005 are listed with some detail below. Recipients from 1992-2001 are presented as a list. All link to websites, where applicable.
The Bicycle Kitchen is a volunteer-run bicycle culture and repair space dedicated to improving the lives of Angelinos through environmental justice, cultural awareness, youth outreach, and community development using the bicycle as a tool. www.bicyclekitchen.com
Based in MacArthur Park, Collective Space promotes a liveable neighborhood through grassroots education and organizing residents to join municipal decision-making bodies.
Compton Dance Theatre
Compton Dance Theatre offers no-cost professional dance training to youth in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area.
Earthworks Enterprises employs youth on an organic farm in Whittier, enabling young people to enhance their health and economic security while promoting community-based sustainable agriculture.
Mildred Cursh Foundation
The Mildred Cursh Foundation, an after-school program in Venice, tutors and offers support services to children of incarcerated parents. www.themildredcurshfoundation.com
Nepal Sewa Center
The Nepal Sewa Center supports Nepali immigrants — a growing community, yet isolated by linguistic obstacles — to access health and human services in Southern California.
Starting Now to Save a Generation (SNAG)
SNAG provides assistance and support to low-income single mothers who are raising their sons alone or without the help of the child’s biological father.
Based in Boyle Heights, Underwings provides a safe environment and academic enrichment to more than eighty elementary-age children each day.
Adoption Information Center
Adoption Information Center is a neutral information, resource and referral nonprofit center. The Durfee Community Fund grant funded recruitment of families to adopt extremely medically fragile children. www.adoptioninformationcenter.net
California Safe Schools
California Safe Schools is a coalition of fifty organizations and many individuals committed to ensuring a toxic free environment for students, teachers, and staff of Los Angeles Unified School District schools. www.calisafe.org
City Ballet is an innovative community arts organization that offers professional classical ballet training, at no cost, to children from disadvantaged socioeconomic areas in the Pico Union and South Central neighborhoods of Los Angeles. www.cityballetofla.org
Excelsus Music Collaborators, Inc.
Excelsus provides music education and performance opportunity to children in Long Beach children, via lessons and relationships with professional musicians and music organizations. www.excelsus.org
First Steps Literacy Project
First Steps develops early literacy in children by targeting parents of young children and coaching them in reading skills and providing them ongoing encouragement to read to and with their children.
Family Advocate Services
Family Advocate Services provides education and coaching to families whose children are in foster care and children’s court to help them navigate the system.
Family Knots Express
Family Knots Express provides transportation to federal and state prisons throughout California for children with incarcerated parents, and also provides wrap-around support services to these children. www.familyknots.com
Hands for Hope
Hands for Hope provides after-school enrichment activities and programs to children in North Hollywood. www.hands4hope.org
California Childcare Providers for Action
Childcare Providers for Action provides community organizing, leadership development, advocacy and training for women who work as childcare providers to assist their goal to raise wages and benefits.
Focused on building an educated and involved community in Boyle Heights, Centro CSO works to increase awareness of issues important to poor, working class communities and to fight discrimination against Mexican Americans, immigrants, and other people of color.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Athletic Foundation (DhhEAF)
DhhEAF launched a tennis program for children with hearing disabilities to provide sports training and socialization in a discipline that does not require auditory ability.
Echo Park Film Center
Echo Park Film Center provides afterschool and summer programs in film and video for neighborhood youth, as well as offering a non-commercial screening space and gathering place for filmmakers. www.echoparkfilmcenter.org
Group Home Consultants
Group Home Consultants assists youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system with housing, job and life skills training, and education.
Single Mothers Outreach
Single Mothers Outreach was founded by a single mother in North Los Angeles County to provide transitional residence assistance, food donations, and other direct services to working poor mothers and their families.
Shooting Stars Youth Foundation
Shooting Stars Youth Foundation is an organized competitive basketball program in the Antelope Valley, an area that does not have an abundance of youth programs.
Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA)
SEACA aims to educate and empower a core group of Southeast Asian high school age youth in Los Angeles, specifically in the Chinatown area, in order for them to assume positions of leadership and act as change agents for their community.
Team Works empowers LGBTQ youth towards positive personal and social change by calling upon the strength and experience of elders to support LGBTQ youth on their road to self sufficiency.
Wishful Thinking partners trains volunteers to advocate for the educational rights of foster youth. www.4wishfulthinking.org
Arts in Action
Arts in Action addresses the need for artistic expression within social justice and political movements by providing groups and individuals with space to organize and access to resources.
Bike Out promotes health and fosters self-confidence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth and their straight supporters through mountain bike expeditions.
CBO Sports League
The goal of the Community Based Organizations Sports League is to instill teamwork and sportsmanship skills, build self-confidence, and expose youth to viable healthy alternatives to gang affiliation and drug use.
Dig For Kids
Dig For Kids gives children the opportunity to excel in school and also learn a fun sport. The program offers academic tutoring and volleyball coaching for a total of three hours per week for a 10-week session.
Garinagu Empowerment Movement
G.E.M. promotes the culture and social and economic well-being of the Los Angeles area Garinagu population, the largest black ethnic group in Central America.
J.U.i.C.E., Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy, is a center serving grassroots community needs by offering high-risk youth the opportunity to express themselves through the arts of hip-hop culture, including deejaying, dancing, rhyming, and painting. www.rampartjuice.com
Making Change is a community human rights newspaper empowering the poor and unhoused with a income and a voice, creating a vehicle for organizing the homeless, and educating the public about cooperative solutions to poverty.
MBF Youth Services
My Best Friend Daycare and Youth Services Inc. provides quality daycare while allowing parents and guardians to work or seek education and training. The site is also open for 24-hour and emergency care for battered women.
The Open Museum
The Open Museum approaches museums and the exhibit-making process through the concept of “first-voice,” the idea that communities have a need and a right to tell their own stories first hand.
The Tinker’s Workshop
At The Tinker’s Workshop, a largely volunteer staff of skilled artists, designers, inventors, scientists and craftspeople make multi-diciplinary art, solve technical problems, and prototype inventions while modelling skills for young tinkers and supporting emerging artists and institutions. www.tinkersworkshop.org
Vernon Central RCO
The Vernon Central Recognized Community Organization seeks to creatively improve, revitalize, and enhance the historic Vernon Central corridor for the mutual benefit of its families, residents and businesses, while preserving the rich and diverse cultural history of the community.
- All Our Families
- National Organization for Renal Disease
- Our Neighborhood Homework House
- Restaurant Workers Association of Koreatown
- Sweet Enuff Youth Diabetes Foundation
- The First Place Fund For Youth
- Inside Out Writers
- Los Jornaleros
- My First Chance
- Radio Sin Fronteras
- Say Yes To Life
- Southeast Communities Prevention Intervention Programs
- Universal Arts And Cultural Center
- Urban Seed Project
- Barton Hill Neighborhood Association
- Centro Latino de Educacion Popular
- Friends of the Garden
- L.A. Urban Analysis Project
- New City Life Foundation
- San Fernando Gardens Resident Management Corporation
- Wellington Foundation
- Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition
- California Black Women’s Health Project
- Clinica Monsignor Oscar Romero
- Crenshaw/Dorsey Family Service Center
- East Los Angeles Community Corporation
- Pacoima Urban Village
- Watts Organizing Project
- Calpulli Project/Libreria del Pueblo
- Center for Community Advocacy
- Centro Latino de Educacion Popular
- Greater Bethany Economic Development Corporation
- Leadership Institute for Diversity
- Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches
- Mothers Reclaiming Our Children
- Search to Involve Pilipino Americans
- Skid Row Access
- Venice Community Housing Corporation
- Boca Norte Soccer Club
- Center for Community Change
- Comite Paula Hernandez
- Inquilinos Unidos
- Institute for Popular Education
- Korean Immigrant Workers’ Advocates
- Parents for Unity
- Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Today
- Venice Community Housing Corporation
- Venice for a Positive Change
- Watts Century Latino Organization
- Youth Empowerment Services
- Build Plus Community Marketplace
- Comite de la Esperanza
- Family Service of Santa Monica
- Project Nightlight
- Rogelio Flores Foundation
- Samoan Federation of America, Inc.
- Thai Community Development Center
- Earthquake Relief
- Jessie’s Place
- Mar Vista Gardens
- Nina M. Craft Empowerment Education Foundation
- Nueva Generacion
- Watts United for Progress
- Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates
- Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Today
- Al Wooten, Jr. Heritage Center
- Asociacion de Vendedores Ambulantes
- Ethiopian Community Center