How to Apply


Organizations eligible to apply must:
  • Be an outstanding organization with a demonstrated track record of contribution to the community
  • Be located in and serve Los Angeles County
  • Be a nonprofit organization, or operate under fiscal sponsorship (government agencies and educational institutions are not eligible)
  • Have at least three full-time paid staff or its equivalent
  • Have been in operation for at least five years
  • Have a budget under $1.5 million
  • Have a strong interest in improving the organization’s culture of collective care
  • Be willing to participate in two meetings with other Lark Awards recipients to discuss plans for improving a culture of care and to offer advice to the foundation
  • Not be a current participant in Durfee’s Sabbatical, Stanton or Springboard grant programs

If you are uncertain about your eligibility, please email us at to schedule a call.

Review Criteria

Applications for the Lark Awards will be reviewed by a panel composed of peer leaders and Durfee staff.  The Lark Awards review panel will consider each application in light of these questions:

Community Leadership and Culture
  • Is the organization recognized as a leader in the community it serves?
  • Does the organization partner with others to achieve its goals?
  • Does the organization support a culture of care, even though its expression may have been limited because of inadequate funding?
Organizational Readiness
  • Is the organization poised to take advantage of this opportunity? — i.e.,are finances and operations reasonably stable?
  • Is the board supportive?
  • Does the organization make a good case for how it already supports or will support the collective care of its staff in the future?

Program Timeline

The 2022-2023 Lark Awards have been announced. The next application cycle will be in 2023. Please check back then for more announcements.


View Sample Application

(Have you read the review criteria and FAQs?)

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of organizations are you looking for?

We are looking for organizations working in a wide range of fields–arts, health, education, justice, social change, environment, etc.

What do you mean by community-centered organizations?

We mean organizations that are rooted in the neighborhoods in which they are located, and are led by and reflect the voices of the people who live there.

My organization is a chapter of a larger organization. Are we eligible?

We would encourage you to call the foundation to discuss this further. Generally, the Lark Awards are focused on small, freestanding nonprofits that do not operate under the umbrella of a larger entity.

Our staff is all-volunteer. Are we eligible?

Unfortunately, no. In order to apply, the organization must have at least three full-time equivalent staff employed by the organization.

All of our staff work part-time. Are we eligible?

Yes, if your roster of paid staff adds up to three full-time equivalent staff members.

I am a current Durfee grantee. Can I apply?

No, if you are currently receiving funds through another Durfee program, you are not eligible.

Can we use the Lark Award to increase salaries, strategic planning or general operating?

While we recognize that salary increases and general operating support are incredibly important, these funds are intended solely for the care and rejuvenation of staff.

Can we use this to cover the cost of executive transition?

No, the Lark Award may not be used to support the costs of leadership transition. 

We are currently in the middle of changing our leadership structure. Is this a good time for the organization to receive this support?

If your organization is going through an active leadership transition, please contact us to schedule a call and discuss further.

What are some examples of how we might spend this money?

So many possibilities! Funds might be spent for collective activity like a staff retreat or a camping expedition. We also encourage use of the funds for individual renewal activities – joining a gym, hiring a trainer or a nutritionist, yoga, dance classes, purchasing art supplies, culinary gear, books, concert tickets, staycation, gardening supplies – whatever will bring joy and balance.

Who on our staff will decide how to allocate the funds?

The decision on how to allocate the Lark funds is up to each organization, but we look for collective decision-making processes. It may be that the decision is to divide the funds between collective team activities and individual replenishment.  Where individual replenishment is concerned, it’s important that staff members are invited to identify their own care of choice, rather than having options prescribed by management.

Why is the Durfee Foundation establishing the Lark Awards?

We believe that people are at the center of change. We believe that it is in our collective best interest to take care of the people who are doing this important community-centered work, and that everyone deserves to rest.

What does Durfee hope to accomplish through the Lark Awards?

In addition to restoring the energy and health of nonprofit teams, Durfee hopes to spark change in both nonprofit and philanthropic culture, to encourage more investment in the people who are making change.

How will Lark awardees be selected?

The awardees will be selected by a review panel of peer nonprofit leaders, and Durfee trustees and staff. They will be guided by the review criteria.

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