Scope and Content
Title: Liberty Hill Foundation Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1976-1991
Collection number: MSS 022
Liberty Hill Foundation
Extent: 13 cartons
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles.
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to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for
Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any
portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be
allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's
director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from
a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies
and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the
physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Identification of item], Liberty Hill Foundation Collection, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research,
The Liberty Hill Foundation was established in 1976 to to further the goals of economic justice, democratic participation,
and social equality through grants to grassroots groups in Los Angeles. It was founded by Sarah Pillsbury, who has remained
on its board of trustees throughout its existence. Born into the Pillsbury family (Pillsbury Baking Co.), she and her brother
George are among the children from wealthy American families who in the 1970s set up community foundations in several U.S.cities
to fund grassroots organizing for social change. They are part of a network of community foundations known as the Funding
Conceived of as alternative funding source to mainstream foundations, Liberty Hill has provided support to almost 1,000 groups,
to meet critical needs not addressed by government or traditional charities. Emerging organizations representing women, people
of color, gays and lesbians, immigrants, the poor, and the disabled have often been able to get off the ground because of
Liberty Hill's support. Rather than fund organizations who provide direct social services, Liberty Hill has traditionally
funded groups who organize their constituencies to confront existing inequalities and create strategies for self-empowerment.
Liberty Hill has provided funding primarily to organizations in the greater Los Angeles area, but it also developed a program
to support grassroots groups in San Diego. Its Board of Trustees has over-all policy and fundraising responsibility. A Community
Funding Board composed of local activists with a wide range of organizing experience interviews all grant applicants and recommends
which organizations should be funded. Mary Jo Von Mach was the executive director of Liberty Hill from its inception until
the late 1980s. Since then, Michele Prichard has been executive director.
Scope and Content
The Liberty Hill records donated to SCL are arranged in three series Grant Files, Donor-Advised Files, and San Diego Grants.
Grant Files are Cartons 1-10; Donor-Advised Files, Cartons 11-12; and San Diego Grants, Carton 13. The Grant Files series
proceed chronological ly (e.g. Grant Files, 1976-1977; Grant Files, 1977-1979). Within each series in the collection, the
files are alphabetically arranged by the name of the organization receiving funding. Each folder contains a completed grant
application and materials from the group applying for funding. Donor-Advised Files document organizations funded by a specific
donor to Liberty Hill, rather than by the foundation's general fund.
As the container list indicates, Liberty Hill has funded organizations representing a diversity of constitutents and causes,
like labor/community organizing, solidarity with various Central American and Asian groups, fair housing, women's rights,
and the homeless. Many of the organizations Liberty Hill funded were short-lived, some because they were organized around
a very specific goal which they accomplished, others because the intense focus on a particular issue became less crucial over
time (e.g. solidarity with El Salvador), and others because of difficulty sustaining the organization financially for more
than a few years.