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The 2020 My LA2050 Finalists Adapt to COVID-19

Posted June 13, 2020 by Team LA2050

Our 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge finalists completed their submissions before we had full information about the longer-term trajectory of COVID-19. Today, our communities are hurting in different ways due to the economic impacts of the crisis and it appears that large group events won't resume for a while. With that in mind, we reached out to the finalist organizations and asked them how they will modify their proposals in these circumstances. Read on to see how organizations are pivoting.


Creative Acts is preparing to bring its Art Attacks program into juvenile camps virtually. The core programming will stay the same: using activities and lessons rooted in the arts to help students find their voice, harness its power, and become civically engaged members of their communities.

Boyle Heights Beat / Radio Pulso is continuing with its programming virtually. Mentors continue to meet with students on Zoom calls and students report and conduct interviews online and by phone. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the future, the organization will focus its storytelling and reporting to highlight the changing and emerging needs of the community resulting from the pandemic and its economic, mental, and social aftermath.

LA Forward understands that it has never been more important to provide regular Angelenos with resources and tools to advocate for policies that ensure a just and equitable recovery. The organization's LA 101 proposal already relied largely on digital materials and distribution, but the community workshops planned for 2021 will be converted into Zoom meetings, broadening the range of people who can participate and allowing for easy recording and distribution.

Ready to Succeed's community-building programming, workshops, and events for RTS Scholars and SFLA youth will now take place via virtual engagement opportunities. Digital programming will allow RTS to directly serve more youth, increasing the number of students served from 90 to 155, and reach even more youth with digital content such as videos.

Union Station Homeless Services' Community Allies program believes that creating opportunities for authentic human connection is more important than ever in light of COVID-19. The organization has adapted its programming and expanded opportunities for virtual connection through new pilot initiatives such as “Phone Pals," in which new friendships are facilitated over the phone.


Flintridge Center will adapt and expand its Apprenticeship Preparation Program model to meet emerging community needs and address disparities. Instructors will facilitate the program virtually over 7 weeks; in addition to individualized support, program participants will receive the necessary technology to complete the course, industry-recognized credentials, and weekly stipends. Recognizing that there may be potentially fewer opportunities in union construction because of the pandemic, program scope will expand to support individuals in seeking employment in emerging industries.

Grid110 has successfully pivoted to an online program model, while still offering the same curriculum, resources, and support for its entrepreneurs. The proposed South LA programs will launch in part or entirely as an online program this summer if necessary, in addition to the organization's events, office hours, and other community-focused efforts.

LA Sanitation and Environment is adding an innovative challenge for upcycling enthusiasts to design reusable PPE with textile scrap to its HUB recycling proposal. This would create a win-win situation in both protecting the environment by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and supporting its frontline workers.

Las Fotos Project remains focused on mutual-aid, post-COVID19 support for its students, and women-owned businesses. In the interim, the organization will begin the launch of its project by supporting students and women-owned businesses with safe, at-home product photography services in the upcoming months until the Foto Student can be safely and adequately opened in person.

Lost Angels Children's Project began a campaign for hunger relief in April 2020, providing 2000 meals per week to over 200 families. In the next phase of CA reopening, LACP hopes to bring back its cohort of 10 students who are learning the Industrial Arts through Good Life Mfg., using social distancing and PPE to ensure students stay safe.


The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) is providing support to families experiencing hardships with the following services and programs: the Immigrant Families Fund, food distribution, virtual legal services, and information distribution. CARECEN will be there to ensure that its community recovers and thrives in spite of this crisis.

The Los Angeles Audubon Society has increased its organizational capacity by adapting existing programming into online environmental education activities that provide ways for students, teachers, and community members to stay connected to nature and STEAM learning The organization plans to further expand its online learning opportunities in the coming school year, blending guided science and art activities that promote a connection to nature at school, at home, and in local neighborhoods.

Southern California College Access Network's counseling staff was quick to transition to remote advising. Project SOAR counselors have maintained contact with students through texting, phone conversations, email, and video conferencing. The staff is also in the process of building out a text messaging and artificial intelligence platform that will be integrated into Project SOAR advising practices this summer and into AY 2020-2021. The organization will return to in-person, socially distanced advising on-site once cleared to do so.

Pediatric Therapy Network continues to deliver exceptional high-quality early education and therapeutic programming. PTN migrated nearly all of its programs to a telehealth platform, including the Best We Can Be early intervention and parent support programs. In addition, the team developed relevant, digitally accessible resources for families isolated at home that can be accessed for free via its website and YouTube channel.

Reading Partners is providing bilingual content-rich virtual resources to families, students, and schools via online platforms and text, including biweekly live storytime for students. While all of its school partners have requested the onsite presence of staff during the next school year, the organization will also continue to provide remote, individualized tutoring to students.


Crop Swap LA will require its staff to wear masks, gloves, and to evaluate themselves as to whether they are healthy enough to assist in garden installations. Only minimal staff/volunteers are to be present for installations, and interactions with the home residents will remain scarce. The West Adams Farmers Market also continues to run with approval from the city having visited to observe containment tactics.

Jenesse Center, Inc. has responded swiftly to continue to provide clients with services, switching to virtual formats to connect with clients when possible. During the pandemic, Jenesse is also experiencing an unprecedented number of calls to its crisis hotline. In response, the organization has added phone lines to assist callers, contracted with two local hotels to house survivors, and hired 5 additional Case Managers and one Client Service Specialist.

Safe Parking LA will activate a series of grassroots volunteer opportunities as planned. In response to the current landscape, Neighbors for Home activities will move forward with some modifications. The organization will work with partners as they are willing and available while shifting its focus to building a stronger community engagement infrastructure and developing a neighborhood volunteer community through networking and digital outreach.

Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) understands eviction prevention has become an even higher priority as the COVID-19 pandemic. Its easy-to-use and multi-lingual online resources and tools can help tenants effectively document and respond to issues of harassment and slum housing conditions - two major drivers of displacement.

Clinica Msr. Oscar A. Romero is on the front lines of the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a key role in both prevention and diagnosis of the virus. The clinic aims to: purchase equipment to provide primary care and mental health services through telehealth, provide remote health education related to COVID-19 for high-risk groups and educate underserved community members, provide sanitation supplies to homeless patients visiting its site for weekly showers, and facilitate medication delivery for high-risk patients.


The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is shifting location of its mobile programming to serve LA city parks that are not offering Summer 2020 Youth Programs. Approximately 30 sites will host the vans this summer, with programs focused on outdoor activities that allow for social distancing such as field hockey, tennis, and track and field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is currently evaluating the Gonzales Park project completion timeline and at this time, there have been no changes made to the project scope or design. The organization envisions a significant grand opening celebration in spring 2021 honoring Jackie Robinson and uplifting the Compton community.

Los Angeles Maritime Institute's Ocean Adventure Together Program launches in July 2020. If outdoor gathering is permitted, LAMI will follow capacity guidelines and, if necessary, reduce the number of participants and increase the number of events and voyages offered. If not, LAMI is prepared to create enjoyable, immersive, and educational virtual adaptations of engagement plans, and suspending in-person activities until it is safe to do so.

Public Matters knows that traffic safety has become more urgent due to the pandemic as people who walk, bike and roll are using streets differently for outdoor recreation. The organization will enhance the project's digital mapping and communication products for community mobilization, education, training, and to promote social cohesion and will also adapt public performances and events for safe distancing.

The Urban Warehouse switched its after-school programming to online, virtual programming. For example, the organization is now using an online “Game of Skate" Zoom program, providing one-on-one tutoring online, and holding digital entrepreneurial workshops. The organization has also been responding to increased need in the community during its Food Bank Fridays.