2019 GIA Conference
Cultural Intersections
Denver, CO  |  October 13–16

Walk Away or Walk the Walk

The case of Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles

Monday, October 14, 10:00am – 11:30am


Organized and moderated by Vanessa Silberman, senior director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.

Presented by Sharon Yazowski, executive director, Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation; Allegra Padilla, director of Community Relations & Partnerships, Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles; and Oliver DelGado, director of Marketing & Communications, Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles.

When a grantee repeatedly struggles for financial sustainability yet has a proven track record for positive impact in a low-income community, what is the responsibility of its primary funder? Is the funder’s responsibility to provide the grantee with emergency funding while the nonprofit fails, adversely affecting tens of thousands of people who benefit from its community-driven programming? Or is it to take the unprecedented step of bringing the grantee under the funder’s wing, breaking the traditional funder/grantee divide? In 2016, the Levitt Foundation chose the latter, getting in the trenches with Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. Over a three-year period, they planned to retool strategy and operations, and rebuild artistic programming, marketing, and community relations as a reflection of Los Angeles’ diverse populations. This was done through the lens of authentic community engagement – with the goal of positioning Levitt LA for long-term sustainability as an independent nonprofit. We’ll share successes and lessons learned from both the funder and nonprofit’s perspectives, and what’s next for this nonprofit as it spreads its wings and leaves the nest this fall.