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John Gogian Family Foundation
Collaborating to Increase Nonprofit Capacity

For 40 years, the John Gogian Family Foundation has been dedicated to supporting community-based organizations that enhance the quality of people’s lives in Los Angeles County. 

While financial support for nonprofits is critical, the John Gogian Family Foundation and ESC have partnered to create another kind of funder-grantee relationship that develops nonprofit capacity and sustainability. Through this partnership, Gogian grantees have full access to all of ESC’s offerings — all at no cost to the grantee. 

Together, we are ensuring that the Foundation’s grantees have access to the capacity building trainings and consulting services they need to meet the unique and growing needs each of them faces in their work. 

The John Gogian Family Foundation is a private charitable foundation dedicated to supporting community-based organizations that enhance the quality of people’s lives in Los Angeles County. For the last seven years, former Executive Director Lindsey Stammerjohn dedicated her work to carefully developing trust-based relationships with a select group of 40 grantees serving systemically marginalized communities across Los Angeles. It became Mr. Gogian’s and Lindsey’s ultimate goal to foster the growth and stability of a cohort of grantees over the long term, so that they could maneuver ever-changing circumstances and ensure they could help their communities thrive.   

Because the John Gogian Family Foundation had traditionally only provided financial support, the Foundation turned to ESC as a partner in this larger endeavor to aid their grantees with capacity-building services as well. It was the perfect match. The Foundation’s and ESC’s missions aligned well, and several Gogian grantees had previously had a positive experience with ESC’s institutes and trainings. So, in 2016 Lindsey began recommending grantees to ESC’s Developing Development Program (DDP) and Executive Director Leadership Institute (EDLI). As the partnership developed over the years, the Foundation – now under the leadership of COO/CFO Sue Cody – also sought ESC’s consulting services for their grantees.  

Both Lindsey and Sue recognized that they did not possess the level of expertise that ESC’s staff could provide to their grantees in assessing their operational, tech, board, or staff needs. Sue also notes the importance of ESC’s customizable and uniquely adaptable approach to each grantee.   

“The staff is amazing. They can create custom programs unique to each grantee,” said Sue.  

Sue continues to receive positive feedback from their grantees about their ongoing consulting engagements with ESC. For the Foundation, this process has made it easier to support areas that are critical to the longevity and stability of their grantees. In fact, Sue believes this partnership has helped increase the transparency and trust between Gogian and their grantees. Through this trust-based approach with grantees and partners, like ESC, the Foundation has been able to streamline their grantmaking process, incorporating both application and report under one single process.   

“Just picking up the phone and talking to the grantee – it works! It’s so much more rewarding,” says Sue.

“This type of complex collaborative partnership transforms the relationship between organizations and funders beyond the transaction of funds,” said Sue. This partnership has allowed the John Gogian Family Foundation and ESC to become deeply invested in the impact of their grantees. She added, “By building on trust and mutual respect, we can focus on what is truly most important – working together to strengthen and grow the nonprofits doing great things to improve the lives of those in our communities.”