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Making LA the Best Place to Create

Posted May 11, 2020 by Team LA2050

In this year's My LA2050 Grants Challenge, we received 46 submissions to the CREATE goal category. This goal category depicts a Los Angeles that is thriving creatively with innovation in all sectors - from technology to the arts - spurring inclusive and equitable economic growth.

In this goal category, you'll find projects grouped by these smaller issue areas: entrepreneurship and innovation, workforce development and the creative economy, art, access to capital, teaching and mentorship, and community gathering.

We'll be featuring the PLAY category next week! Click here to see all the projects from the CONNECT, LIVE, and LEARN goal categories.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) protects public health and the environment through three program areas: Clean Water, Solid Resources, and Watershed Protection. The organization seeks funding for LA Industry, its pollution prevention team. It aims to create a centralized HUB where material byproducts from businesses can be repurposed instead of going to landfills.

Startup Coil LLC's Version One App Accelerator empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to launch mobile app technology without software engineering skills. The goal of its proposal is to offer scholarships for local entrepreneurs to the App Accelerator, in which they will develop a fully functional mobile app and learn business skills.

Mockingbird Incubator supports and trains early-stage and grassroots nonprofit organizations to increase the impact of their work. The organization seeks to expand its 7-step program, providing nonprofit leaders with the needed infrastructure and strategic planning to create a sustainable nonprofit with a lasting impact.

Kolor Society provides a community experience that fosters lifelong relationships and learning. The organization seeks support for its Mastermind Groups that offer peer-to-peer mentoring to minority and women-owned businesses to solve problems and increase revenue.

Reach Los Angeles's mission is to strengthen LA's local advertising network to help stabilize our fragile publishing ecosystem by diversifying funding sources. Its proposal aims to provide guidance and support for local media and news organizations.

Entrepreneurship Advantage creates economic opportunity for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Los Angeles County by connecting human, technical, and capital resources through regional collaboration. Its proposal seeks to expand its efforts and accelerate the distribution of resources and growth of our membership, ultimately strengthening LA's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Refoundry's mission is to provide formerly incarcerated people with skills and opportunities to achieve financial independence and become leaders and job creators in our communities. Its proposal aims to expand its entrepreneurship programming in Los Angeles and assist more individuals in reentry.

SRMZ Technologies envisions a world where technology unites, rather than isolates us. The organization seeks funding for, a geo-location-based networking app that will facilitate networking by allowing individuals and organizations to connect seamlessly in Los Angeles and around the world.

Codemarket builds thriving local communities by empowering people and businesses with the technology, knowledge, and innovation to reach their career and business goals. Its Small Business Tech Booster Project will empower 100,000 small businesses by enabling them to create and monetize online communities and digital products tailor-made to their business.

Workforce Development and the Creative Economy

RespectAbility fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of society. Its Disability Employment Initiative seeks to enable people with disabilities to gain the skills and jobs they need to succeed and ensure that the abilities of Angelenos with disabilities are included in Los Angeles employment initiatives, especially those helping the city recover from COVID-19.

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles believes ocean-related education is a vital component of its mission to accelerate scientific collaboration, facilitate job creation, and inspire the next generation for a more sustainable ocean. In partnership with Sharefest, its proposal aims to address the underrepresentation of minority students in ocean-related STEM fields and provide workforce development in sustainable aquafarming.

The Center for the Political Future at USC is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that educates college students and the community on political issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Its proposal will support The Center for the Political Future's internship program, which provides funding for students to take advantage of unpaid political internships throughout the Los Angeles area and better prepare them for a successful career.

National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) mission is to address the underrepresented Latinx community and discover, promote and inspire content creators and diverse voices across all media platforms. NALIP's Latino Lens Program aims to champion the work and careers of Latinx and diverse creatives and industry professionals through incubators, workshops, and mentorships.

The 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 career. The organization proposes opening a youth-centered photography studio in the heart of Boyle Heights, where teen girls can build up their professional skills and earn an income by providing culturally relevant services for the community.

LA Plaza De Cultura y Artes is the only museum in LA dedicated to honoring and sharing the history and many contributions of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and all Latinos in Southern California. The organization seeks support for LA Plaza Cocina, the nation's first museum dedicated to celebrating and educating visitors on Mexico's culinary heritage, from its indigenous roots to contemporary interpretations through exhibitions, cooking classes, lectures, workshops, and culinary festivals.

The LEAGUE of EXPERIENTIAL & IMMERSIVE ARTISTS (LEIA) seeks to advance the immersive and experiential arts through collaboration, education, and advocacy on behalf of creators and producers. Through its License to Open LA project, LEIA aims to improve access to proposing, permitting, and programming non-traditional events in Los Angeles.

Red Hen Press's mission is to publish diverse works of literary excellence, expand the horizons of the literary canon, and advance literacy in our local schools. The organization seeks to further its work bringing fresh stories to the world through publishing, coordinating its free to low-cost events, and providing free creative writing workshops to underserved Los Angeles youth.

A vibrant, multimedia platform, the Los Angeles Review of Books promotes and disseminates rigorous and engaging writing on literature and the arts. Its proposal centers on the LARB Publishing Workshop, a three-week intensive summer course offering students a comprehensive overview of the publishing industry. The organization's goal is to train a diverse and forward-thinking generation of publishing professionals in Los Angeles.

The RightWay Foundation helps transition-age foster youth build healthy, self-sufficient lives, grounded in mental health treatment, and solidified through employment. It proposes expanding its Operation Emancipation to end the pipeline from foster care to homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, and poverty by providing foster youth with mental health services, job training, community support, and connections to opportunities in the workforce.

Chrysalis creates a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Its proposal seeks to expand and upgrade technology for “Chrysalis Enterprises," a program that provides job readiness training and transitional jobs for over 3,000 justice-involved people.

Truthseekers Inc utilizes radio and television broadcasting operations to encourage and provide outlets for creative skills. In collaboration with Pharcyde TV and Dank Radio, the organization proposes creating a workforce development program that will prepare individuals to secure meaningful employment as a Production Assistant in the film and music industries.

70 Million Jobs is a national, for-profit employment platform for people with criminal backgrounds that enables employers to access the 1-in-3 Americans in the job market who have some kind of criminal record. The organization proposes creating a model-based system of apprenticeships in positions that pay a living wage and provide a path to escaping poverty in Los Angeles.

Flintridge Center's mission is to break the cycle of poverty and violence through community planning, innovation, and action. The organization applied for its Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP), which prepares formerly incarcerated individuals for careers in union construction trades. The APP is an evidence-based intervention that integrates workforce development with trauma-informed care to create life-changing opportunities.

Warehouse TV seeks to provide a platform for people with disabilities to jumpstart a career in film and to educate the industry about the power of accessibility and diversity. Warehouse TV's proposal would create a children's show that merges American Sign Language and spoken English to expose deaf, nonverbal, and visual/tactile learners to topics that advance emotional development.`

The Alliance for Southern California Innovation unleashes the diversity of entrepreneurial talent and ideas in Downtown LA by connecting startup founders with the resources they need most. Its project would continue this work by organizing and unifying key community leaders so they can better engage with local startups and connecting startup founders with critical resources, including capital, mentors, corporate partners, and peer support.

People's Yoga is a woman-owned, community yoga studio dedicated to making health and wellness an accessible, inclusive, sustainable reality for all. The organization aims to train 50 new yoga teachers and offer scholarships so more women, people of color, and folks from underserved communities can provide health, wellness, and healing to their communities.

The Community Vitalization Council (CiViC180) promotes community-level economic vitality and jobs by supporting the growth of small businesses. The organization seeks to expand its International Business Accelerator, and specifically its LA-Central American Business Initiative that enables LA entrepreneurs of Central American heritage to build businesses and jobs through trade with companies in Central America.

Cal State LA University Auxiliary Services, Inc. creates innovative, category-defining life science startups within the vibrant and supportive environment of Cal State LA. It seeks funding for its LA BioSpace initiative, providing diverse biomedical entrepreneurs the programming and capacity to turn scientific advances into job-creating businesses in Los Angeles.

Grid 110's mission is to foster a thriving, equitable, and inclusive community for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Grid110 provides free accelerator programs to early-stage founders, connecting them to a growing community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentorship, and critical resources. The organization is expanding its programs to South LA in the hopes of supporting more founders from historically marginalized communities.

Mi Terro is a new material technology company that turns food waste into sustainable fibers that can be used for apparel, linens, and packaging. Mi Terro is seeking support for marketing, branding, partnership building and distribution channels, and PR.


The Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP) is a nonprofit center dedicated to photography and the education of the photographic arts. Its proposal will allow LACP to expand its programs by offering more free events and exhibitions to people of all ages, experience levels, and backgrounds who are interested in photography, as well as scholarships for underserved kids.

Noun Project is setting a new standard for more equal, inclusive, and accurate representation in photography and iconography. The organization proposed hiring local photographers to build a collection of photos representing the diversity, inclusivity, and culture of LA. The images would be made available for anyone to use for free under a Creative Commons license.

Venice Community Housing works to reduce homelessness, maximize affordable housing, empower low-income constituents, and advocate for policy that protects the economic, racial, and cultural diversity of Venice & other Westside neighborhoods. VCH proposed an art installation project that would beautify its permanent supportive housing and affordable housing properties.

3-D SPACE is dedicated to the preservation of the history of stereoscopic imaging and the advancement of current and future 3-D arts and sciences. The organization offers public presentations, classes, and workshops in 3-D content creation, and operates a 3-D museum and educational center in Los Angeles. Its proposal would use VR technology to create a simulacrum of a Victorian-era stereoviewer, in which participants can experience life in the 19th century through immersive historical 3-D still photography.

Access to Capital

BlueReef Capital, a for-profit Hispanic owned organization, strives to offer quality financial advice and access to financial products primarily in Hispanic communities in the LA area. The goal of its proposal is to reach as many small business owners and households in need of financial guidance, with a focus on the Hispanic community and beyond, to offer short- and long-term financial planning.

Project Equity, a program of Multiplier, fosters economic resilience in low- and middle-income communities by expanding employee ownership in local businesses. Project Equity plans to raise awareness of and counsel manufacturers on EO transitions—the sale of a firm to its employees. This option provides retiring owners and those considering closure due to COVID-19 with an exit option that averts job losses, transfers assets to workers, and embeds greater economic resilience and equity into LA's future.

Hacker Fund's mission is to empower technologists to create social change. In collaboration with Road to Artdom, the organization proposes creating a STEAM Collective to empower technologists and artists in Los Angeles County to build technology and creative arts nonprofit organizations that educate the disadvantaged, inspire the community, protect the environment.

Teaching and Mentorship

Two Bit Circus Foundation, Play with Music, and Green Dot Public Schools are seeking to expand Play With Music's in-school and after school programs to four additional schools. In its programs, students learn the ropes by touching all aspects of the creative process. Play with Music equips students with the skills, knowledge, relationships, and opportunities to start their careers.

COOP Careers works to overcome underemployment through digital skills and peer connections for underrepresented, first-generation college graduates. Its flagship program is a digital apprenticeship in which motivated, underemployed college graduates learn technical skills, build community, and jumpstart careers in digital marketing and data analytics.

Lost Angels Children's Project provides low-income and at-risk youth with a safe, educational after-school program that promotes critical thinking and team-building through vocational skills training in Classic Car Restoration and Art opportunities. The organization proposes expanding Good Life Mfg., its 12-week industrial arts vocational training and skills development program that serves opportunity youth ages 18 to24 in the Antelope Valley.

Creative Futures Collective breaks cycles of systemic inequality by providing opportunity, education, and support to those that haven't traditionally had access to them. The organization's proposal would take 120 fellows through a 12-week program of workshops, mentorship, and a guaranteed paid internship.

The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture is seeking funding for Arts2Work LA, a new creative workforce program intended for those most often marginalized from opportunity. The program includes a federally-registered apprenticeship program that will be piloted in collaboration with Venice Arts.

Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum proposed funding for its CCMM-in-SCHOOLS program, which brings a pop-up world cultures museum directly to students. In the 2020-2021 school year, CCMM aims to serve at least 32 school communities, and potentially as many as 50.

Youth Business Alliance empowers high school students attending Title 1 schools to build essential business skills for 21st-century careers. The organization proposes expanding its digital career development, personal finance, and entrepreneurship programming so students can engage in self-paced learning and engage with the content in a flexible manner.

Community Gathering

Saturday Night Bath performs American Jazz and Blues concerts at local continuation high schools to inspire at-risk youth in Los Angeles. The goal of the proposal is to provide interactive concerts and educational presentations at three continuation high schools, exposing students to live music performance and history.

Convergence Creative Solutions proposed building an online community around the LA2050 goals of LEARN, CREATE, PLAY, CONNECT, and LIVE. The organization would host virtual summits to build community around these ideas as well as a live festival celebration of Los Angeles. The festival event would feature local artists, small businesses, food trucks, and intergenerational activities.