Everychild Foundation

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The Everychild Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation based in Pacific Palisades, California. It awards a single grant of up to $1 million each year to a non-profit organization within Los Angeles County that helps children affected by disease, abuse, neglect, poverty or disability. By the end of 2016, the Foundation will have awarded more than $14.5 million in grants that served over 1 million Los Andrea children.

The Foundation was started in 1999 by Jacqueline Jacobs Caster. It relies on member dues to fund grants; Everychild members make a tax-deductible contribution. There are no fund raising events or paid staff, and low overhead.


Caster was dissatisfied with the use of charity events to raise their funds. The production of these events can consume large amounts of time and money while yielding relatively small returns. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute, of the 102,353 public charities reporting special fund-raising events in 2005, the average return was slightly less than 40 cents on the dollar with $5.92 billion in total production costs and a net of $3.9 billion.

Caster, a lawyer and urban planner, launched the foundation on a different model. It began with a membership of 56 women. In 2001, it issued its first grant for $230,000[clarification needed] to fund a mobile dental clinic operated by QueensCare, a nonprofit healthcare provider serving the indigent, and staffed by the USC School of Dentistry. By 2007, with 225 members, the Foundation issued its first $1 million grant, an amount which has been repeated every year since.


The Everychild Foundation is organized as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Its intends to alleviate youth suffering in the Los Angeles metropolitan area by fulfilling needs of children that are unmet because of disease, disability, abuse, neglect or poverty.

All funds of the Everychild Foundation are derived from its members who each commit $5,000 annually to the Foundation. The membership, which has had very low attrition rate (roughly 5%), is limited to 225 for efficiency purposes. Recruitment is primarily through word of mouth and small, member-hosted breakfasts.

The primary work of the Foundation is the identification and screening of potential grantees and oversight once a grant is awarded. The Grant Screening Board is made up of 20 Everychild members who spend the year reviewing proposals and ultimately selecting two finalists. The process includes review of documents provided by the grant applicant, site visits, and analysis of the need for and viability of the proposed project and its budget. To prevent an entrenched group controlling the Foundation's grant process, committee terms are for three years and are staggered for continuity.

The Foundation has two other major operating committees. The Grant Outreach Committee is responsible for contacting agencies that may have a proposal that is eligible for the Everychild grant. If an agency appears eligible, committee members work with it to help it prepare Letters of Inquiry, the first stage of the grant application process. Membership on this committee is limited to those who have already served on the Grant Screening Board.

The Grant Monitoring Committee is responsible for monitoring the post-award status of funded projects. Under the terms of the grant agreement with recipient agencies, members of this committee visit the project site twice a year to assure that it is being implemented appropriately.

There have been 15 spin off groups in the United States and Great Britain based upon the Everychild Foundation model.

Other activities[edit]

In recent years, the Everychild Foundation, through its policy committee, has become involved in policy issues in three major areas: support for infants and toddlers ages 0 to 3; advocacy for children aging out of the foster care system at age 18; and reform of the juvenile justice system. Activities include support for legislation in these areas and collaboration with other groups and agencies in efforts in these areas.

The Foundation also holds Salons throughout the year for experts and interested members to discuss children’s issues in depth. These Salons have recently addressed the topics of autism, childhood asthma, and public education. Salon speakers have included former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner and Representative Henry Waxman among others.

The Everychild Grant criteria[edit]

  • Number of annual grants: 1
  • Size of grant: Projected at $1 million
  • Types of grants: New or expanded direct-service projects only; may include capital, program, or a combination of both
  • Target population: Children in the greater Los Angeles area
  • Applications accepted: By invitation only.
  • Format: Use only the Letter of Inquiry form provided to invited applicants
  • Forms available: The Letter of Inquiry form, revised annually, is given to invited applicants between November and January of each year.
  • Letters of Inquiry due: February
  • Grant decision made: November
  • Funds available for distribution: Beginning in the first quarter of the following year
  • Exceptions to deadlines: None

Grant recipients[edit]

  • 2000 - QueensCare. Purchase and equipping of first mobile dental clinic to serve 30 low-income elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
  • 2001 - Wonder of Reading. Renovation and restocking of 15 elementary school libraries and establishment of a training program for instructional reading volunteers.
  • 2002 - Violence Intervention Program. Renovation and expansion of existing building to create a permanent center for psychological care of physically and sexually abused children.
  • 2003 - Optimist Youth Homes. Construction of a learning center for at-risk probation youth.
  • 2004 - Hillsides. Transition housing for foster youth who have aged out of the foster care system.
  • 2005 - Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. Construction of a universally accessible playground for children at the hospital and the public.
  • 2006 - Heart of Los Angeles Youth (HOLA). Renovation of Lafayette Park Community Center to provide afterschool and summer programs in the Rampart district of Los Angeles.
  • 2007 - Mar Vista Family Center. Construction of a new building housing youth programs which provide college preparation, tutoring, sports, exercise and dance, and peer counseling.
  • 2008 - St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. Implementation of the agency’s environmental health project to address asthma and lead poisoning through housing assessments and tenant advocacy services.
  • 2009 - South Bay Center for Counseling. Youth career development initiatives for at-risk youth.
  • 2010 - The Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor. Academic support for college bound youth and establishment of a web portal to expand the program nationwide.
  • 2011 - Centinela Youth Services. Diversion and victim/offender mediation programs to prevent teens from entering the juvenile justice system.
  • 2012 - Alliance for Children's Rights/Public Counsel. Legal and social services to adoptive and guardianship families to improve the long-term success of placements.
  • 2013 - The Children's Clinic. Identification and addressing of the effects of toxic stress and exposure to violence on infants, toddlers, and pregnant mothers.
  • 2014 - 1736 Family Crisis Center. Renovation of an emergency youth shelter which provides programming for homeless and at-risk children in desperate need of safe shelter and care.
  • 2015 - The Whole Child. Housing program which helps hard-to-place families with children, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with adequate, safe and affordable housing.


  • Daria Teutonico, Director, the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers’ “New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative”, September 2007.
  • More Giving Together (Washington, D.C.: Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers, 2007), p. 5.


External links[edit]