Arts, Education

Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation

Overview

The Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation was established at the California Community Foundation in 1994, named after Walt Disney’s housekeeper for 30 years. It provides support to projects or programs in Los Angeles County that focus on quality arts-based education enrichment activities for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Howard had great faith in the Disney’s, who gave her a few shares of Walt Disney Company stock for holiday and birthday presents. She held on to every share and eventually became a wealthy woman. She passed away on June 10, 1994, just days before her 80th birthday. Through her will, it was her wish that a fund be designated for disadvantaged children.

Because of her generosity, the Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in grants. CCF, with the help of an independent board of directors, administers the annual grants. During FY2010, the Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation changed its open application process to an invitation-only process, in acknowledgment of its commitment to selected organizations.

The Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation funds Los Angeles County arts-education programs (dance, instrumental and vocal music, visual arts and dramatic arts) serving children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Awards for up to $25,000 will be made to art programs that result in at least one of the following: improved artistic skills, improved academic skills, or improved attitude and/or behaviors toward school.

While the preliminary Letter of Interest process is open to all, full applications are by invitation only.

Grants will be awarded in 2024 to outstanding Los Angeles County arts-education programs (visual, performing and language arts) serving children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Awards will be made to art programs that result in at least one of the following:  improved artistic, or academic skills, and improved attitude and/or behaviors toward school.

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must:

  • Be located in and serve Los Angeles County
  • Serve disadvantaged K through 8th grade students*
  • Be a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code

The Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation has distinct preferences for:

  • Programs that demonstrate meaningful and measurable results for participants
  • Organizations where professional artists lead the programming and instruction
  • Programs that have integration/relationships with the schools of participants
  • Organizations with strong operational records as well as those with a growing maturity in their work

*Only programs specific to students in the K-8th grade range will be considered for this grant opportunity.

The California Community Foundation uses the IRS’s Database to verify your organization’s nonprofit status, and in some cases will use GuideStar to download Forms 990 and Audited Financial Statements. Please make sure that your organization’s biographic and financial information is updated and current with the IRS as well as on GuideStar.

For the 2024 grantmaking cycle the Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation has introduced a Letter of Interest process within the overall application review. The goal of the new process is for the committee to view prospective programs in advance and potentially allow more organizations to make an initial introduction.

This step will narrow the number of organizations invited to the full application, so that organizations completing the application are those with a more significant chance of receiving an award. We believe this will enhance capacity of our nonprofit partners to direct staff time toward fundraising that is most likely to result in funding, and we anticipate our LOI process will provide that opportunity.

LOI submissions will be accepted from Friday, December 1, 2023 through Friday, January 8, 2024
Deadline is 5:00 p.m., Friday January 8, 2024

Organizations will be notified by the end of February 2024 regarding invitation to the full application.

[Application period will be in March 2024. LOI submissions invited to full application will receive further detail regarding next steps]

Access to the LOI is via our NonprofitConnect portal. The link below provides information on how to get started on the portal. https://www.calfund.org/wp-content/uploads/How-to-Register-on-Spectrum-Grant-Applicants.pdf

To begin, follow the link HERE and search/select the Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation Letter of Interest
[The LOI will only be available at this link during the open period Dec. 1, 2023 – Jan 8, 2024]