This article first appeared in the LA2050 newsletter. Sign up here.
What will you commit to doing to make a difference in 2020?
Maybe you want to get more involved in social justice, social change, or making LA a better place.
Maybe you want to volunteer more.
Maybe this is the year you get a job that combines your love of working hard and doing good.
Maybe you'll make a commitment to being more civically engaged by getting involved in the Census.
Maybe you'll resolve to increase LA's voting outcomes by encouraging your friends and neighbors to understand the issues and voting in all local and national elections!
Whatever you want to accomplish this year, we are here for you.
Just let us know what YOU are going to do in 2020 and we will make sure to deliver information that helps you reach your goals. (We'll also help you stay on track with a friendly reminder here and there).
To get started, just pick a goal today:
Get involved with a local cause - Take the pledge to get more involved in 2020 and we'll send you volunteer opportunities, information about impactful organizations, and other ways to use your time and resources to support change in your community.
Be more civically engaged - We'll send you information about local elections, tips on how to get out the vote, and ways to become more civically active in LA―from making sure your community counts in the 2020 Census to participating in your neighborhood council.
Make a difference with your job - We'll send you the latest job opportunities, tips on applying, and ways to successfully integrate impact into any job.
Here's to an amazing 2020!
We talked with Kamy Akhavan, Executive Director of the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, to learn about his experience working in social impact and to get his advice for those who might want to work in policy, politics, or the nonprofit sector.
Q: What motivated you to start your career in social impact?
A: I was born in the back seat of a taxi in Iran, moved to south Louisiana at age one, and ended up in Torrance, California for high school and UCLA for college. I lived in more than 20 places by the time I was 18 - from subsidized housing to a mobile home to hotels to big beautiful houses. My experience as a rootless immigrant taught me that people everywhere share human values that transcend our geography. I recognize that American democracy is precious, empowering, and inspiring to billions of people who long to enjoy freedom. My motivation to public service stems from wanting to relate to people on our shared values - what unites us versus what divides us.
Q: What do you do in your current position?
A: My job is to run a top-tier educational organization that trains people in practical politics and inspires them to be civically engaged and to bridge divides. On a day-to-day basis, I work to develop programs that let students interact with elected officials, political operatives, academics, activists, and other national leaders so they can gain experience challenging others respectfully while having their own views challenged. Participants learn about issues, elections, each other, and effective ways to communicate and get things done together. In our sadly divided times, these skills are especially important to the future of American democracy.
Q: What one skill or resource has been indispensable to your career thus far?
A: The skill of resilience has been indispensable. Resilience requires courage to ask tough questions and listen to, and even learn from, responses that can be offensive. Resilience requires vulnerability when expressing yourself honestly. Resilience requires strength when resisting bad influences or standing firm for your values. Building resilience comes from listening, critical thinking, humility, and developing your own moral and intellectual compass that guides you in all situations. The best way to learn resilience is to be uncomfortable then adjust.
If you're interested in learning more about his work, be sure to follow on Twitter: @kamyakhavan and @cpfpolfuture
To celebrate the launch of our LA2050 Ideas Archive, The Goldhirsh Foundation is matching donations (up to $100 per donor) to any qualifying organization listed in our archive.
The LA2050 Ideas Archive highlights organizations that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge over the last six years. On the site, you'll find more than 1,000 organizations making an impact in Los Angeles. You can find new causes to support, browse the proposals they've submitted, and find links to their latest news.
Take a minute and browse, and if you get inspired to support an organization, we'd love to match your generosity. But hurry! This match expires on Friday, December 20th at noon or once $10,000 has been donated, so make sure you're one of the first!
Why is this match being offered?
The Goldhirsh Foundation is grateful to all the organizations that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge for the last six years. This match is a way to recognize the passion and work of these organizations and their supporters. We hope this will help people support their favorite organizations and find new organizations to support.
How do I find an organization to give to for the LA2050 match?
Visit https://archive.la2050.org/ and search for an organization using keywords, organization name, or issues you care about like “homelessness," “parks," or “voting." You can also search for an organization by category (right under the search bar).
In the search results, select an organization to learn more. If the organization is a non-profit organization in good standing with the IRS, you'll find a donation form through which you can make a one-time or monthly donation to the organization. Donations are accepted by credit card only at this time.
How will my gift be matched?
Your gift will be processed by our partners at Pledgeling, and matching funds from the Goldhirsh Foundation will be added on a first-come, first-matched basis.
How much will be matched?
The Goldhirsh Foundation will match up to $100 in donations per person. The match will be turned off on Friday December 20 at noon, or once $10,000 in donations have been made. Check-in with @LA2050 on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for updates.
Can I donate to more than one organization?
Yes, please do! Matching funds will be applied to your gifts until you reach your limit of $100. (So, if you make a $40 gift to one organization, a $40 gift to another organization, and a $40 gift to a third organization, the Goldhirsh Foundation will match $40 for the first two gifts and $20 for the third gift).
Are matching funds available to organizations not listed in the LA2050 Ideas Archive?
No, only organizations listed in the LA2050 Ideas Archive are eligible for matching funds.
How does an organization get added to the LA2050 Ideas Archive?
Organizations are included in the LA2050 Ideas Archive if they have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. The next open call for applications will be in February 2020. Sign up here to be notified about the next challenge.
If I donate on the organization's website, will it still be matched?
No, only donations made via the LA2050 Ideas Archive site will be matched.
I found an organization in the Ideas Archive, but I don't see a donation form.
At this point, we are only able to facilitate donations to 501c3 non-profit organizations that are in good standing with the IRS. If you don't see a donation form on the page, it could be for the following reasons:
How do I know my donation was received?
You will receive an email confirmation from Pledgeling within a few minutes of donating. Please review this email and make sure everything looks good. Please contact Pledgeling for any changes or help with your donation.
A list of free and affordable events in LA December 12th - 31st
This December, spend time with your friends and family while supporting local organizations. Most events are accessible by public transportation as well. Happy holidays, everyone!
Location: 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Getting there: Less than 5-min walk from Pershing Square Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)
Location: 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Getting there: Buses 8 or R12 from Westwood/Rancho Station (Metro Expo Line). Closest bus stops are also serviced by lines 6, 6R, 234, 602, 734, and 788
Location: 600 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Getting there: Less than 10-min walk from Expo Park/USC Station (Metro Expo Line)
Location: 12601 Mulholland Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Getting there: Hike, bike or carpool from the closest bus stops, which are serviced by lines 150, 240, 750, and 218
Location: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Getting there: 5-min walk from Civic Center/Grand Park Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)
Location: 4949 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Getting there: Closest bus stops are serviced by lines 83 and DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock
Location: 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Getting there: Civic Center/Grand Park Station (Metro Red/Purple Line), or less than 15-min walk from Pershing Square Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)
The LA2050 Gift Guide features some of our favorite local products from organizations that make an impact. When you shop - you do good: The organizations behind these products provide work for those transitioning out of homelessness and gang involvement, encourage creativity in young students, promote nature conservation and education, and fight against food insecurity. Happy shopping!
The Giving Keys is an LA-based social enterprise that provides living-wage jobs for individuals transitioning out of homelessness.
NHM's Wild LA book ($24.95)
Equal parts nature guide and trip planner, the Natural History Museum's Wild LA unveils the hidden nature in every park and canyon—and even your own neighborhood.
Membership to the LA Zoo ($60)
Founded in 1966, The Los Angeles Zoo is home to more than 1,400 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles representing more than 270 different species and even 58 species that are endangered.
Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need and inspiring others to do the same.
CicLAvia catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation and good health through car-free street events.
The Two Bit Circus Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization designed to cultivate the next generation of inventors, advance environmental stewardship, and spur community engagement.
Homeboy Industries has provided hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and recently incarcerated men and women. All proceeds from its social enterprises, including Homegirl Cafe, benefit the nonprofit's comprehensive wraparound programming.
826LA Author Mug ($14.99)
826LA sells unique products in its Time Travel Mart to support its work encouraging students ages six to 18 to develop their creative and expository writing skills.
MADE by DWC is a social enterprise operated by the Downtown Women's Center that provides job training and employment for women transitioning out of homelessness.
LA Original, a pilot program of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles and the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, was developed to celebrate LA as the creative capital of the world.
SEE-LA operates local farmers' markets, encourages sustainable food systems, and promotes activities that both benefit low-to-moderate individuals and support small businesses.
First published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1965, the sixth edition of An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles now contains ninety-six sections organized in thirteen geographic chapters, boasting over 200 new additions to its thousands of entries.
Griffith Observatory Planetarium Tickets ($3-7)
Griffith Observatory is a regional landmark and global leader in public astronomy. Since it opened in 1935, more people have looked through Griffith Observatory's telescope than any other telescope on Earth.
It's National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an event started at Villanova University 44 years ago and today sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. This event is held the week before Thanksgiving and used to draw public attention to the issue of poverty and encourage people to donate their time, attention, and resources to others.
In this spirit, here are 11 organizations working to combat hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles, and how you can get involved:
Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, is meant to honor those who have served the country and to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. We want to celebrate the day by highlighting organizations that support and empower veterans that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. Take a look and find an organization you'd be interested in supporting!
Feeling inspired by the projects in the 2019 My LA2050 Grants Challenge Report? Every person has the power to make a difference. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Sign up for the LA2050 newsletter: Twice a month we send updates from grantees and partners, job listings, local events, and more to keep you up-to-date on opportunities to get involved. Sign up here.
2. Volunteer: Consider donating your time or skills to support a local organization or nonprofit that is working on a particular topic or cause that you are passionate about. Get started by checking out these volunteer opportunities from LA2050 grantees.
3. Replicate a great idea: Did you see a project that made you think “we need this"? Take inspiration from one of the projects from this year's grants challenge or browse the LA2050 Ideas Archive with more than six years of proposals from amazing organizations. Pick one that inspires you, and reach out to the organization to see how you can help bring the project to life for your community.
4. Collaborate and partner: Look for opportunities to engage with local organizations, nonprofits, and businesses that are working on social causes directly related to your industry. If you're looking for ideas, take a look at our metrics to identify where you can make progress toward each goal.
5. Make impact locally: Consider everything you do an opportunity to make an impact! Take small steps every day that can have a major impact in the long run, such as supporting your local farmer's market, purchasing sustainable products, participating in the census, or getting involved with your local neighborhood council. Use your voice, strategize and organize around a particular issue that matters to you, such as improving access to healthy foods, reducing homelessness, or reducing your carbon footprint.
6. Start conversations: Some of the biggest social change movements start with a simple question. Start conversations with your friends, family, and co-workers about things you learned from these proposals or trends from this grants challenge. From educating your neighbors, coworkers, and friends about the U.S. census to bringing a “pop-up" or mobile experience to your community to using trends for academic research and school projects related to social impact, everything can spark change.
This report highlights the trends we observed in the 2019 My LA2050 grants challenge and looks at how local leaders, nonprofits, volunteers, government entities, and businesses are working together to make Los Angeles a better place for all. (For a pdf version, click here).