In alignment with our goal of making Los Angeles the best place to CREATE, each year we release our annual gift guide featuring impactful, socially-conscious, and locally-made goods. By purchasing products from this list, you can support organizations pursuing social change in Los Angeles and help drive progress on some of LA2050's key impact metrics: employment in the creative industries, minority- and women-owned firms, manufacturing activity, jobs per capita, rates of volunteerism, and more.
A number of these products are from shops affiliated with LA Original, a program of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, that celebrates LA as the creative capital of the world. We're proud to fund LA Original's important work to support our local makers and small businesses!
This gift guide has something for every person on your list, at every price point. What better way to give, than to give a gift that makes a difference!
1. For the impact-oriented… The Los Angeles Impact Box from LA Original x Gifts for Good ($85) *LA Original Product
2. For the “to-do list" maker… Journal from Made by Downtown Women's Center ($18)
3. For the adventurer… Roaming Wild 2021 Calendar from Parks Project ($25)
4. For those with new babies… Antiracist Baby Board Book by Ibram X. Kendi (Author) and Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator) from Eso Won Books ($9)
5. For the snacker… Original Cinnamon Coffee Cake from Homeboy Foods ($30)
6. For the pen pal... Holiday Cards from CASA of Los Angeles (Donation)
7. For the activist... Fist & Flower Dad Hat from Bloom & Plume ($32)
8. For the always-prepared… LA Original Toluca Sanitizer Key Chain from Pocket Square Clothing ($12) *LA Original Product
9. For the baker... Tenth Anniversary Tea Towel from CicLAvia ($12)
10. For the fashion-forward... Face Mask Set from LACMA ($28 for a set of two)
11. For the little ones… Lil' Libros Books from LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes ($10 each)
12. For the wellness guru… Good Vibes Essential Oil from Gifted by FreeFrom ($16)
13. For the writer… 642 Things to Write About: Young Writer's Edition from 826LA's Time Travel Mart ($17)
14. For the environmentalist… “Go Plastic-free" Gift Pack from Food Forward ($40)
15. For the animal lover… Los Angeles Zoo Membership ($60)
16. For the chef… Oaxaca Cookbook from Guelaguetza ($40)
18. For the artist… Three Pack of Zines by the Los Angeles Times ($25)
19. For the Angeleno who moved away… Los Angeles Candle from P.F. Candle Co. ($20) *LA Original Product
20. For the skincare-obsessed… Organic Facial Masks from Lot Xi Urban Apothecary ($20) *LA Original Product
21. For the outdoor explorer… Wild LA Book from Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County ($25)
22. For the refined... Rose Tea from the Huntington Garden ($8)
23. For the holiday decorator… Jungalow Noa Hanger ($14)
24. For the indoor gardener… Gift Card to Latinx with Plants ($25+)
25. For the confident woman… Échale Ganas Shirt from Hija de tu Madre ($28)
26. For the eco-friendly... Recycled Billboard Vinyl Tote by Rareform ($44)
27. For the skater… LA Original Core Collection Skateboard from Garage Board Shop ($100) *LA Original Product
28. For the caffeine fiend… Slauson Signature Coffee from Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen ($18)
29. For the LA lover... LA Original x TB LA Cuties Pin ($10) *LA Original Product
30. For the foodie… Gift Card to The Tiyya Foundation's Flavors from Afar Restaurant ($15+)
31. For the beach bum… Beach Towel by grantLOVE x Devon Tsuno to benefit Heart of Los Angeles ($60)
The holiday season is right around the corner, and what better way to kick it off than volunteering your time to organizations serving your community. To help you get involved, we've curated a list of opportunities ranging from one-time, volunteer days and in-kind donations to longer-term commitments. Below, you'll also find links to special platforms where you can discover more volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles and beyond.
There are several ways to volunteer for this year's Union Station Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park, including helping with kitchen prep (Nov. 16-23), cooking turkeys (Nov. 19-20), and monitoring the drive-up line (Nov. 18). You can also purchase items for donation to the Thanksgiving Dinner through Union Station's Amazon wishlist.
Miry's List supports newly-arrived refugee families by providing supplies and helping them get settled in their new homes. Miry's List has multiple in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities through the end of the year.
CORE provides free drive-thru COVID-19 testing throughout the city. Volunteers help set up and prepare test sites, check-in patients, guide people through self-administered tests, and clean up.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are assigned to work one-on-one with a child in the foster care system and to advocate for the child's interest. This opportunity is available year-round, but the holidays are a great time to get involved. Start by signing up for an information session.
St. Vincent Meals on Wheels assembles and delivers bags of groceries to homebound seniors throughout Los Angeles. As a volunteer, you can choose from multiple opportunities including preparing meals in the kitchen, assembling groceries to be delivered, and delivering meals door-to-door.
Donating blood is a quick and easy way to potentially save a life. The American Red Cross has blood drives throughout Los Angeles multiple times per week; search by zip code to find the one closest to you.
The Midnight Mission serves three meals per day to people experiencing homelessness in Downtown Los Angeles. Donate prepared meals including lunch bags with a sandwich, chips, beverage, fruit, or dessert. Donations can be made 24/7.
Reading Partners is looking for volunteers to become online tutors. Using Reading Partners' evidence-based curriculum, tutors will help students learn the skills necessary to become proficient readers.
The Los Angeles Food Bank is looking for volunteers to help box and sort food to be distributed throughout Los Angeles.
826LA is a non-profit dedicated to supporting elementary through high school students with their creative and expository writing skills. Volunteer to tutor students after school, teach creative writing, work with aspiring journalists, and more.
Las Fotos Project is a nonprofit that inspires teenage girls through photography, mentorship, and self-expression. Some of the organization's specific volunteer needs include guest speaking, leading a workshop, and supporting event production.
Volunteer Matching Platforms and Portals:
LA2050 is proud to have funded and supported VolunteerLA, a program of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles that connects Angelenos to meaningful service opportunities. The VolunteerLA Portal is an easy way to find local volunteer opportunities and allows you to browse by location, type of activity, and cause. For those that can not volunteer in person, you can also find wishlists for various organizations in LA.
Our partners at Californians for All involve our state's residents in volunteering and civic engagement opportunities. This includes responding to COVID-19 and other statewide emergencies as well as administering the AmeriCorps program in California, providing services to more than 160,000 Californians annually. Sign up to receive volunteer opportunities through California Volunteers and the Office of the Governor.
Catchafire is an online platform that strengthens the social good sector by matching professionals who want to donate their time with nonprofits who need their specific skills. You can browse projects in COVID-19 Essentials, Finance & Operations, Fundraising, Human Resources, Marketing & Communications, Professional Development, Program Management, Technology, and more.
Last week, we hosted a virtual forum on COVID-19 and the Digital Divide in response to conversations we've had with our grantees about the incredible challenges of adapting to virtual programming and service delivery. We understand that the organizations on the frontlines of LA's social impact sector are working tirelessly to serve our communities at this time and facing innumerable obstacles to doing that work online and from a distance.
Data from the Pew Research Center affirms that the digital divide cuts across both racial and socioeconomic lines: 92 percent of Americans with an annual income of $75,000 or more have home broadband, compared to just 56 percent of those making less than $30,000; and 79 percent of white adults have home broadband, compared to just 66 percent of Black adults and 61 percent of Hispanic adults. As a result of these disparities, the social impact sector is confronting the reality that those who are most acutely impacted by COVID-19 and in need of services are also the most difficult to access at this time.
Panelist Allie Bussjaeger, Director of Impact and Sustainability at human-I-T, shared that for this reason, digital inclusion “has gotten a spotlight” during COVID-19 as demand for devices, internet access, and digital literacy training is “skyrocketing.” Our panelists agreed that the digital divide is further compounding the social issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, from housing instability to educational inequity.
We're grateful to our panelists for sharing what they've learned on the ground over the past seven months and offering tangible strategies for combating the digital divide.
Thank you to all five of our panelists for contributing to this important discussion and sharing their insights. We look forward to continuing the conversation about digital access and inclusion in Los Angeles.In case you missed it, you can find a recording of the live stream on the LA2050 YouTube channel
This report presents the data and social impact trends gathered through the 285 submissions received in the 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge — bright spots of hope and encouragement in stark contrast to the difficulties of this year.
For a PDF version, click here.
This year's 25 My LA2050 grantees represent the best of the best! Together, these organizations are transforming Los Angeles into the best place to live, learn, play, create, and connect.
We've spent the last two months introducing each of the grantees on the LA2050 blog and sharing ways that you can get involved in their work by attending virtual events, donating your time and skills as a volunteer, or learning from their educational content.
You can read more about each of the categories and the grantees by clicking on the links below.
The LEARN category encompasses learning at all ages, from birth to college and beyond. This category and its metrics represent our vision that by the year 2050, all LA children will have access to high-quality early education programs, every student will graduate college and career ready, and all families will be engaged and empowered to direct their children's learning. Our local education system will be equitable, inclusive, and culturally-responsive.
$100,000 Winner: Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN) helps children with special needs and medical conditions by providing therapies that increase each child's abilities so that he or she can live a more fulfilling and independent life.
Each year, PTN provides 150,000 hours of therapy to 5,500 children and families. When COVID-19 limited PTN's in-person operations, the organization created dozens of videos with at-home occupational therapy activities for children to practice motor skills, sensory regulation, and other abilities. Check them out!
$50,000 Winner: Southern California College Access Network (SoCal CAN) is a network of 85 organizations working together to increase the rate at which low-income students access and complete college.
Through Project SOAR, SoCal CAN invests in the college and career dreams of students living in public housing by placing counselors on public housing sites to provide one-on-one advising to 1,100 students and families. Find resources for students applying to college on the @ProjectSoarLA Instagram.
$25,000 Winner: Reading Partners is a national program that helps children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. Last year, 81 percent of students participating in Reading Partners Los Angeles met or exceeded their literacy growth goal.
If you're interested in becoming a Reading Partners volunteer and dedicating at least one hour a week to one-on-one, virtual tutoring to help students improve their reading skills, fill out this volunteer interest form.
$15,000 Winner: Los Angeles Audubon promotes the enjoyment and protection of wildlife through outdoor education programs, bird-watching activities, and hands-on conservation initiatives.
LA Audubon has an abundance of virtual resources on urban nature available on its website. You can find everything from tips on native yard-scaping and bird-friendly tree trimming to a directory of wildlife rehabilitation resources if you encounter injured animals. On October 14 at 7:15 pm, join LA Audubon for The Journey of Birds Across Space and Time, a virtual event.
$10,000 Winner: CARECEN promotes the human and civil rights of Central Americans and all immigrant communities through educational services, legal services, advocacy, and organizing to transform educational, immigration, and labor policies.
In response to COVID-19, CARECEN created the Immigrant Families Fund to raise and distribute crucial funds for food, housing, and basic needs to a population often left out of government relief programs. Contribute to the fund and check out CARECEN's COVID-19 community resources.
Free and low-cost resources to support at-home learning.
Resources For Students, Families, and Caretakers
Internet access and technology:
Spectrum provides low-cost Internet Services and low-cost computers for those who participate in a designated Federal assistance program.
Human-I-T is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides low-cost technology and internet access to low-income individuals and households.
The City of LA's Get Connected portal helps Angelenos find options for low-cost internet services, access to computers, and digital literacy services in their zip code.
Child360's Home Grown program helps parents take everyday moments and turn them into creative ways to support young children's early development.
Pediatric Therapy Network has created dozens of videos with at-home activities for children with and at-risk of developmental delays and disabilities to practice motor skills, sensory regulation, and other abilities.
The Los Angeles Public Library's “Library at Home" site features digital educational content and virtual events for kids, teens, and beyond.
MIND Research Institute is offering no-cost access to its ST Math instructional program for families with students in grades K-8.
PBS SoCal has curated digital content for parents and caregivers to entertain and educate their at-home learners.
Storyline Online has an online video library of children's books read by prominent public figures.
The Los Angeles Public Library Student Zone is offering homework help for K-12 students. Virtual Student Zone Helpers are available to help students during 25-minute appointments, Monday to Thursday 3:00 to 9:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 pm.
LAUSD's Family Resources page has information about Grab & Go Food Centers, student and family wellness, and navigating the challenges of online learning.
The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools published an in-depth resource guide with food, medical, mental wellness, and legal resources for families.
The City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks is offering safe structured learning centers and after school programs for elementary and middle school students at sixty recreation centers. The centers include supervised learning spaces, free internet access, recreational activities, and more.
Resources for Educators
The Los Angeles Maritime Institute is offering its “Virtual Voyage" science curriculum for free. The lessons align with K-12 standards and address topics such as the water cycle, the physics of sailing, and ocean pollution.
Two Bit Circus and Annenberg Learner have developed more than 150 free lesson plans for STEAM-based projects for K-12 students.
Centervention has free social emotional learning resources to help students learn to cope with this challenging time.
The Smithsonian Digital Learning Lab has resources, training, and support to assist caregivers, teachers, and students as they face new learning challenges. Its free, interactive platform allows students to discover millions of authentic digital resources, create content with online tools, and share in the Smithsonian's expansive community of knowledge and learning.
The Civics Renewal Network offers a wide range of content for teachers on important topics in civics and government with options for grades K-12.
Epic! Library has free books in English and Spanish for educators. Children can read them or listen and follow along!
Newsela has age-appropriate news articles for students about current events.
CommonLit has free reading and writing lessons for grades 3-12, including texts recommended for National Hispanic Heritage Month or about the 2020 Election and the Supreme Court.
Code.org has a guide for teaching its computer science curriculum via virtual classrooms.
Professional development and other resources:
Annenberg Learner has a library of professional development videos on a variety of different topics and subject areas.
LACMA is providing K–12 teachers with professional development opportunities and curricular resources that foster creativity, inspire personal growth, and enhance classroom learning online. Check out its Evenings for Educators program!
PBS SoCal has professional development resources, content suggestions, and more available free for teachers. For example, check out the article: “An Educator's Guide to Cultivating a Digital Presence with Purpose."
Watch a recording of the United Way of Greater LA's panel “ Transforming Education in a Time of Distance Learning"
The California Department of Education's CTE Online has published a wide array of distance learning resources for teachers.
A few months ago, we announced that the Snap Foundation was partnering with the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by pledging additional support to projects that develop pathways to the creative economy for underrepresented youth in Los Angeles. We are delighted to announce the Snap Foundation's five grant recipients.
True to its mission to elevate the voices of young people in the creative economy, the Snap Foundation relied on its Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to guide its grantmaking decisions. The YAC, composed of eight young leaders of color between the ages of 18 to 24 who are passionate about the arts and social impact, spent several weeks reviewing proposals from this year's My LA2050 applicants. They then presented their top recommendations to the Snap Foundation Board.
After careful consideration, the Snap Foundation YAC and Board are proud to award a total of $310,000 in grant funding to the following organizations investing in LA's creative future:
Shawn Kravich, Executive Director of the Snap Foundation, shared:
“In this especially challenging time, it's been so encouraging to see creativity and hope showcased in the work of each of the My LA2050 applications. We're so grateful to the Goldhirsh Foundation and all of the applicant organizations for letting us partner in this year's challenge!"
Thank you, Snap Foundation, for your partnership! We're so grateful for your dedication to the creative economy and the deep action of the Snap Foundation Board, YAC, and leadership.
The CREATE category envisions an LA that empowers all its residents to harness their talents in creating art and contributing to economic thriving. By the year 2050, Los Angeles will play host to the largest concentration of working artists and high-quality arts establishments. Our region will be an international leader in technology and innovation and a center for entrepreneurship that creates jobs and generates wealth for a diverse, inclusive workforce.
$100,000 Winner: Las Fotos Project elevates the voices of teenage girls through photography and mentorship, inspiring them to use cameras to explore their identity, advocate for their community, and create their future careers.
This Saturday, September 26 and next Saturday, October 3 from 10 to 11am, join Las Fotos Project on Grand Park LA's “Easy Mornings" live streams to learn helpful photography tips and tricks! Plus, check out their talented students' virtual photo exhibitions on the Las Fotos website.
$50,000 Winner: Lost Angels Children's Project (LACP) provides at-risk youth with educational programs and vocational skills trainings in classic car restoration and the arts to promote critical thinking and team-building.
In August, LACP graduated its first cohort from GOOD+LIFE Manufacturing Social Enterprise. GOOD+LIFE provides vocational training and paid apprenticeships in the industrial arts for young adults who are experiencing or at-risk for homelessness and unemployment. Check out the GOOD+LIFE catalog to commission a piece from LACP apprentices.
$25,000 Winner: LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) applied to My LA2050 with a groundbreaking proposal to create a centralized recycling hub where material byproducts from businesses can be repurposed instead of going to landfills.
It's true, LASAN does much more than garbage collection! The Department also runs a number of conservation and education programs to ensure that our City is sustainable and thriving, from offering free street trees and leading composting classes to educating residents about how and what to recycle.
$15,000 Winner: Grid110 provides free accelerator programs to early-stage founders, connecting them to a growing community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentorship opportunities, and critical resources.
Grid110 and partner Pledge LA are now accepting applications to the Fund for South LA Founders. They'll select 20 companies to join their Winter cohort and receive three months of tailored training and support, mentorship from other LA founders and investors, and $25,000 in non-dilutive funding. Apply now through October 9.
$10,000 Winner: Flintridge Center supports and provides opportunities to individuals of high-risk, high-need circumstances from various communities in LA County.
Since 2007, Flintridge Center has provided economic opportunities to the formerly incarcerated. The organization recently graduated the 36th class of Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP) which integrates trauma-informed care and workforce development to prepare formerly incarcerated individuals for union construction careers.
Wildfire Season Resources and Ways to Help
It's just the beginning of this year's fire season, and wildfires are already raging in LA County and much of California. Below, we've compiled some resources to help you stay up to date on the fires and containment efforts in California and ways to help those impacted. If you have additional resources that you think might be helpful to share, email us at [email protected].
AQI Health and Safety
For the next few months, we'll all need to be more aware of the air quality in our area and take precautions when necessary. An air quality index (AQI) of greater than 100 means that sensitive groups should avoid spending time outdoors (primarily older adults, children, and people with asthma). When there's smoke in the air, you should stay inside when possible, avoid vigorous exercise, and be sure to stay hydrated. Read these tips for protecting your lungs during fire season and more.
Evacuation and Emergency Resources
For information on how to prepare for a potential fire in your area, check out Ready for Wildfire.
Follow this home evacuation checklist if you need to evacuate.
Know where to go when you evacuate and find the temporary evacuation point in your area.
Head to the LAFD website for updates and locations of designated Smoke Relief Centers.
To find roads and highways that are impacted by the fires, head to the CalTrans website.
Ways to Help
Donate to California Fire Foundation
Contribute to the California Fire Foundation's Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program, which brings immediate, short-term relief to victims of fire and other natural disasters throughout California.
Make a donation to Airbnb's Open Homes Program or sign up to offer your space as free, temporary housing to those displaced by disasters.
Check out the California Community Foundation's regional relief efforts: