Some giving pertains to the Scientology religious movement. Photo: tishomir/shutterstock
One of the newer private foundations on the Southern California philanthropy scene is the Jayasinhala Foundation, based in San Marino. Walter Jayasinghe, a Sri Lankan-American physician, and his wife, Aeshea, created this foundation in 2013.
Here are the important things to know about the Jayasinhala Foundation and how its founding couple has begun to approach their charitable giving in the Los Angeles area.
Walter is a plastic surgeon, while Aeshea is the executive director of Primanti Montessori School in Whittier, California. Although the Jayasinhala Foundation is less than a decade old, the couple is not new to the world of philanthropy.
In 2003, they created the Sri Lanka Foundation to advance the worldwide Sri Lankan community and educate the world about the nation’s people and achievements. In fact, the Jayasinghes have used the Jayasinhala Foundation as a vehicle to give millions of dollars to the Sri Lanka Foundation. They are the Jayasinhala Foundation’s only trustees, and this is a very family-run organization with no outside staff members.
Southern California Interests
Although Sri Lankan interests are a top priority for this couple, Walter and Aeshea also pay attention to causes closer to home. For example, the foundation recently gave $400,000 to the Los Angeles Medical Center Foundation for religious work and planetary dissemination, a concept related to Scientology. It also awarded a recent $200,000 operating support grant to the Institute of Buddha Dhamma Studies in Los Angeles for religious work and spiritual guidance through services and gatherings.
As these examples suggest, most of the couple’s local support has a strong religious bent, benefiting related activities and educational work. Buddhism and Scientology appear to be personal interests of the couple based on their grantmaking.
Local Jayasinhala Foundation grants have also gone to Arms of LA, the Salvadorian American Leadership and Educational Fund, American Saint Hill Organization and the Way to Happiness. Grantmaking is largely centered on the Southern California cities of Los Angeles and Hollywood, although some grants have gone to organizations in Clearwater, Florida.
Accessibility and Transparency
The Jayasinhala Foundation is not a particularly accessible or transparent funder, making it challenging for local nonprofits to get in touch about grants. The foundation does not have a website, nor does it make announcements through local news sources. Most publicly accessible information about the foundation comes from past tax filings.
Recent tax forms also indicate that this foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for grants and only contributes to pre-selected organizations. You can learn more about the Jayasinhala Foundation in our LA and SoCal funding guide.