Past Programs

Experimentation and iteration are a big part of what we do at Durfee. As our programming responds to the needs of the LA community, we have seen some great programs through to the end of their productive lifespan, and have continued to invest in others that have moved on to be managed by other organizations. Below is a list of programs that Durfee no longer operates.


Durfee provided lead support to the independent publisher Heyday Books for the research, writer convening, commissioning and production of the 2015 award-winning anthology, LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas. This literary and cartographic exploration of Los Angeles reorients our understanding of the city through a collection of more than 20 essays and imaginative maps.

Artists’ Resource for Completion

From 2000-2010, Durfee operated Artists’ Resource for Completion (ARC) to support individual artists in LA with short-term, rapid assistance. ARC offered small grants, up to $3,500 per artist, to take advantage of imminent opportunities to exhibit their work anywhere in the world. The grants were intended to enhance an already committed presentation, with the goal of giving a boost to an artist’s career. From 2010-2014, the program was managed by the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), with funding from Durfee. ARC was retired at the end of 2014, as the funding landscape for artists had evolved. Over its 14 years, ARC had an extensive impact on the LA arts community, helping advance the careers of more than 600 individual artists in all disciplines. A summary of lessons learned from ARC was published by Grantmakers in the Arts.

We Love LA

We Love LA, An Urban Retreat for LA’s Passionate Leaders, was a two-day event mounted at The California Endowment in Los Angeles on October 14-15, 2010, to mark the Durfee Foundation’s 50th anniversary. It was conceived as a tribute to magnificent people who set out to change the world – and actually do. As part of the celebration a collection of quotes from Los Angeles leaders was compiled. We recorded and posted some of them here and invite you to listen to their voices yourself.

Master Musician Fellowship

From 1997 – 2009, the Durfee Master Musician Fellowship program supported master musicians in LA County to teach their craft to advanced students. The purpose of the program was to support the passing of musical skills to a next generation of artists through intensive apprenticeships. Priority was given to artists whose musical traditions are not widely taught at established institutions. Grant recipients were expected to devote a significant portion of their time to teaching for the duration of the two-year grant period. In addition to the cash award, the program provided significant technical assistance toward building the musicians’ careers during the fellowship. The program was retired in 2009.

Community Fund

Intended to provide support to under-resourced communities following the 1992 civil unrest, Durfee’s Community Fund became a resource for a range of startup civic ventures in LA. Between 1992 and 2005, Durfee made 121 grants through the program, many of which represented an organization’s first-ever philanthropic support. Typical grants ranged from $2,500 – $20,000, with the goal to leverage other contributions, and in most cases, it did. When we asked Community Fund grantees for advice on how to best support emerging ideas for the public benefit in LA, the fund was redesigned and relaunched in 2007 as the Springboard Fund.

Please contact the Durfee Foundation if you have questions about the Community Fund grant recipients from 1992-2005.

Gay and Lesbian Fund

From 2001 to 2008, the Durfee Foundation supported LA’s LGBT community as an active member of the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Gay and Lesbian Fund. Durfee participated in the pooled fund that distributed grants to many organizations and made additional grants to organizations such as FTM Alliance and Bike Out. From 2008-2012, Durfee switched this funding to provide general operating support to the Gay Straight Alliance Network’s work in the LA region.

American / Chinese Adventure Capital Program

From 1985-2000, Durfee’s American / Chinese Adventure Capital Program sent over 200 people from the LA region to China to pursue projects of personal interest and cross-cultural exchange. During those years, Durfee Adventurers surfed, fly-fished, traced Jewish history, traveled the Yangtze, and exchanged plant seeds with people in China. When this program was conceived in 1985, China was not very open to travelers and few Chinese people had met Americans. The program was created to honor Durfee founder Stan Avery who, thanks to a formative experience traveling throughout China for a year in 1929, was ahead of his time in envisioning the importance of bringing Chinese and American people closer. In 2000, the funding and administration of the program was assumed by the R.S. Avery Foundation, which ran it for a few more years. With the increased fluidity of travel between the U.S. and China, the need for a program was no longer urgent, and the program was discontinued.