Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the Clippers’ current home arena. Photo: Juan Camilo Bernal/shutterstock
Los Angeles’ Staples Center, the Clippers’ current home arena. Photo: Juan Camilo Bernal/shutterstock

Multiple sports team philanthropies actively give in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation. Another professional sports team that nonprofits should get to know is the L.A. Clippers, the NBA team famously owned by philanthropist and longtime Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Separate from Ballmer’s giving, the L.A. Clippers Foundation has been around since the summer of 1994 and is involved in the community in quite a few different ways.

A focus on local children

Like many sports team foundations across the country, the L.A. Clippers Foundation focuses on local youth. The foundation’s mission involves making a positive difference in the lives of children in Los Angeles in their classrooms, playgrounds, homes and communities. It makes grants each year to varying kinds of youth-serving organizations.

Occasional multimillion-dollar grants

The L.A. Clippers Foundation has assets exceeding $12 million. While some sports team funders are only able to provide modest grants, the Clippers have been able to give larger grants from time to time. A few years ago, for example, the foundation announced a $10 million gift to the Los Angeles Parks Foundation to renovate basketball courts. It also awarded a $3 million grant with a matching challenge to City Year Los Angeles not too long ago.

However, most Clippers grants are in the $5,000 to $100,000 range. Recent local grants in Los Angeles have gone to L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs, Vision to Learn and Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Grantmaking is not limited to just the city of Los Angeles and extends all throughout Southern California.

A spirit of collaboration

The Clippers Foundation is known around L.A. as a collaborative funder that frequently partners with corporate sponsors, local businesses, media outlets, individual donors and community foundations. The foundation derives much of its giving power from donations from local people and companies, as well as from merchandise and memorabilia sales and team-sponsored events. This is also a foundation that is interested in matching and challenge grants to amplify its giving power. For example, the foundation partnered with Kia to offer a $150,000 Charity Challenge to attracting online donations for Los Angeles-serving nonprofits.

Inquire about current guidelines

In the past, the L.A. Clippers Foundation has been open to receiving unsolicited grant requests from groups that have been in operation for at least two years and that directly benefit Greater Los Angeles youth. The foundation has accepted proposals via email and welcomed grantseeker contact in recent years.

However, the foundation’s website does not provide details about the current grantmaking process, nor does it provide a clear way to submit a funding proposal online. Therefore, it’s a good idea to reach out directly to determine whether proposals are being accepted and about any guidelines that should be followed for a successful result.

Find more Los Angeles-focused funders like this one by browsing through IP’s LA and SoCal funding guide.