Caterina’s Club was founded by Chef Bruno Serato in 2003 with a mission of “providing food, support and shelter to homeless motel children,” supported by a vision of creating a consistent modicum in these children’s lives through something as simple yet meaningful as a nightly dinner.
Today, Caterina’s Club serves over 1,000 low-income children every day at 10 locations, spread throughout five Orange County cities, serving over a quarter million meals to date. The commitment to these children and their families has also grown beyond a healthy meal every night. Caterina’s Club has provided first/last month’s rent and security deposits on 55 family-friendly apartments for qualified families helping them to escape motel life.
Caterina’s Club has been a client of MW&A’s for the past 2½ years. One of its largest challenges with regards to foundation support was that while they have been a fully functioning nonprofit organization since 2003, they had been operating through a fiscal receiver while awaiting their own 501c3 status, which they received in December of 2013.
Realizing that the lack of an approved 501c3 status would impede foundation funding, MW&A established both a short- and long-term strategy. In the short term we reached out to Foundation’s with a history of working with fiscal sponsors. In the long term we spent over a year cultivating Foundation’s with an interest in children living with food insecurity, while keeping them apprised of the status of Caterina’s Club.
Since receiving their 501c3 status in December 2013, MW&A has created even more new opportunities for them including second year funding with the Weingart Foundation, including responding to over 20 invitations to submit full proposals totaling over $300,000.
While under MW&A’s guidance, Caterina’s Club received over $270,000 in Foundation Support due to outreach with the Weingart Foundation, A. Gary Anderson Foundation, Walmart Foundation and the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, to name a few.
ProCon.org is a nonprofit website promoting critical thinking by offering concise, up to the minute, fully researched arguments on both sides of 47 public policy issues, including gun control, gay marriage, abortion and climate change. ProCon.org is a resource utilized by the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica, and the Congressional Quarterly.
MW&A’s task was to change who they ask, why they ask, and most importantly how they ask for funding. With over 80% of ProCon.org’s $1M budget coming from one individual funder, convincing institutional donors that the organization was ready to diversify its funding, build its board, and remain true to its mission became key to building confidence with foundations.
MW&A helped open the door to several major foundations, which resulted in pivotal high-level exposure, invitations for consideration, and most significantly a $75,000 from the Annenberg Foundation. MW&A also helped ProCon.org learn functional processes to steward and build their relationships with foundations and the importance of cultivating relationships before the request for funding.