The 2021 My LA2050 Grants Challenge is here! We're giving away $1 million to make LA the best place to live, learn, play, create, and connect.

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Making LA the Best Place to Play

Posted May 18, 2020 by Team LA2050

Last but not least, we're excited to introduce the 25 organizations that submitted proposals to the PLAY category in this year's My LA2050 Grants Challenge! This goal category depicts a Los Angeles where people of all ages have easy access to clean, safe, and sustainable venues to enjoy the natural environment, arts and culture resources, and local beaches, waterways, and open space.

We've grouped projects by these smaller issue areas: mobility and open space, arts and culture, safety, mentorship, and sports.

Click here to see all the projects from the LIVE, CONNECT, LEARN, and CREATE categories.

Mobility and Open Space

CicLAvia aims to catalyze vibrant public spaces, active transportation, and good health through car-free open street events. The goal of the organization's proposal is to rebuild joy around public gatherings after COVID-19 and shape a more inclusive LA by introducing a large-scale polling activation during its Heart of LA event on 10/11/20, featuring workshops and a voting opportunity to foster community. The organization also aims to share actionable results from its activation with key local stakeholders to help make the use of public spaces more equitable in Los Angeles.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, in collaboration with LAUSD, proposes launching a Mobile Recreation Program to bring a variety of outdoor activities to communities in need. It envisions providing a safe and accessible park system for all residents by using Mobile Recreation vans to provide themed programs, ranging from Olympic and Paralympic sports to skateboarding and creative activities, thereby enhancing the lives of the youth and adults that participate.

Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative revitalizes neighborhoods by working with residents, businesses, community groups, and local leaders to create walkable, green, and safe neighborhoods. The goal of the organization's proposal is to strengthen local intergenerational ties, create community-enhancing public art, and attract visitors to the Byzantine-Latino Quarter, Watts, and El Sereno neighborhoods through creating small-scale public murals, or “selfie spots," to be designed and executed by local artists and community volunteers.

Bicycle Kitchen/La Bicicocina aims to promote the bicycle as a fun, safe, and accessible form of transportation, to foster healthy urban communities, and to provide a welcoming space to learn about building, maintaining, and riding bicycles. The organization proposes partnering with People for Mobility Justice, Bikerowave, the Los Angeles Public Library, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center to identify underserved individuals who lack access to transportation and provide them with bicycles, safe riding classes, and instructions on properly maintaining their bicycles to help them successfully ride on the streets of Los Angeles.

Nature for All aims to build a diverse base of support for ensuring that everyone in the Los Angeles area has equitable access to the wide range of benefits that nature can provide. The organization seeks to achieve equitable investment in healthy communities through expanding its Leadership Development program, which trains community members and leaders in communities of color and low-income communities to advocate for more open parks, open space, and transit options for their communities.

East Side Riders Bike Club aims to improve Watts and keep local youth out of gang and drug activity through community service, charity work, and bike programs. The organization proposes expanding its Urban Cycling Collective project, which seeks to increase urban cycling ridership in South LA through bike/trike and equipment giveaways, bike safety training, marshaling rides, and establishing new bicycle clubs, by scaling in Watts and to four surrounding communities.

The Los Angeles Maritime Institute serves to empower youth to discover their greater potential through extraordinary at-sea experiences aboard educational sailing vessels built to train and equip young people with 21st-century leadership skills and inspire maritime and STEM career paths. The organization proposes launching its Ocean Adventure Together Program to break the barriers that keep some people from enjoying LA's coasts and ocean. Through this program, middle school-aged participants discover the life-changing experience of a 5-day and night summer voyage at sea, and their parents are invited to witness and share in their new skills and positive transformation.

Arts and Culture

POPS the Club seeks to create a safe, empowering space within high schools for the children and other loved ones of the incarcerated. The organization proposes combining its existing program with Defy Ventures to create a collaborative project with the aim of healing the pain of the prison system for currently and formerly incarcerated people and their family members through art-based workshops, community events, and more.

Jail Guitar Doors USA provides rehabilitative songwriting workshops to help incarcerated individuals develop essential life skills that will support them both while incarcerated and when they return to their community. In collaboration with the Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, its proposed Community Arts Programming & Outreach Project aims to create arts opportunities for youth who have been engaged in the justice system to foster the positive socio-emotional, behavioral, and decision-making tools that will help them fight recidivism and prepare them for successful employment.

Harmony Project harnesses the transformative power of music to increase access to higher education for underserved students by removing the systemic barriers to achievement through academic and social support. The organization seeks support in expanding its music program by enrolling more students, thereby engaging over 3,500 students in sequential music instruction, opportunities to learn alongside their peers through ensembles, and comprehensive academic and social support, in addition to incorporating parent engagement, opening student performances to the public, and building a strong network of partners.


The American Heart Association proposes collaborating with the Los Angeles Police Department, LA Department of Recreation and Parks, the District Music Group, Economic Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council, and the offices of the 8th and 9th Council Districts to ensure equitable health. The organization seeks support for its Community STEPS project, which brings law enforcement and the community together to connect, discuss issues, and work toward solutions while getting exercise through healthy activities and wellness events, including health information booths and blood pressure screenings.

The USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation aims to develop ideas and illuminate strategies to improve the quality of life for people in low-income, urban communities. The organization's proposal seeks to promote a deeper understanding of and engagement with crime data by expanding its Neighborhood Data for Social Change Criminal Justice Data Initiative to include Santa Monica and Long Beach. Through collecting, cleaning, and publishing public safety data from law enforcement agencies; hosting free, publicly accessible monthly training; conducting community listening sessions; and co-producing data stories in partnership with community-based organizations, the organization hopes to support vibrant and safe communities regionally.

Public Matters aims to bridge the trust gap between institutions and marginalized communities of color by designing strategies that transform the culture, practice, and experience of civic participation, making it accessible to all. In collaboration with Los Angeles Walks, USC Kid Watch, and individual faculty members at USC, the organization proposes University Park Slow Jams – a multifaceted education, engagement, and leadership development strategy that enables local stakeholders to participate in creative public acts; document safety conditions; and take action to make LA's streets safer for children and people who walk.


Woodcraft Rangers provides children and youth from some of LA's lowest-income neighborhoods with after-school enrichment programs, summer camps, and workforce development programs to guide them as they explore pathways to purposeful lives. The organization seeks support in providing free enrollment in its summer day camps for up to 600 participants, enabling more students to learn and play together with adult guides and mentors through arts, sports and wellness, STEM, leadership, and academic support.

Project Blue supports officer-led holistic youth outreach programs that enable kids to transcend obstacles by creating safe and supportive environments built on positive relationships between the community and the police officers who serve them. In partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, the organization seeks support for its outreach programs in South and East LA that inspire kids to reach personal success through coaching and mentorship with LAPD officers.


Harlem Lacrosse – Los Angeles uses an innovative, school-based model to provide student-athletes with opportunities, relationships, and experiences that put them on a path to success as athletes, students, and citizens. The goal of the organization's proposal is to expand its existing programs and launch its “Keep Playing" initiative, which aims to retain students in its current programs and serve them over longer periods of time by keeping middle school students engaged with year-round programming and creating new pathways for alumni to stay involved and engage directly with mentors and coaches.

Angel City Sports aims to create sports opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities, encourage physical activity, and demonstrate leadership to strengthen the adaptive sports movement. The organization's proposal seeks to empower physically disabled individuals in cultivating a healthy and independent lifestyle by expanding its programs, which include year-round clinics for adaptive athletes and The Angel City Games.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation proposes collaborating with Kershaw's Challenge, the City of Compton, the Annenberg Foundation, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the LA84 Foundation, Security Benefit, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, the Office of Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas, and the Water Buffalo Club to unveil three Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park. With these Dreamfields, the organization aims to revive baseball and softball play in the area in addition to including features such as Fitness and Training Zones, solar elements on scoreboards, PV carports and EV charging stations, and the Science of Baseball curriculum for grades 3-8.

Cedars Sinai Medical Center, in collaboration with Stanford University, Arts Center, Discovery Cube, Garmin, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, proposes launching ShineLA, a ten-year research initiative linking the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic movements to a brighter future for Los Angeles. As the largest population-based study of physical activity in the US, the initiative hopes to improve physical and mental health, as well as social connection across all populations in Los Angeles, through promoting a city-wide increase in physical activity.

America SCORES LA empowers youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and create positive change in their communities and the world. The organization seeks support in expanding its Literacy in Action Program, which addresses the prevalence of low literacy and rising obesity rates in youth from low-income communities through combining soccer, poetry, and service-learning to provide students with more than 100 hours of structured physical activity and English Language Arts support.

Everything Wellness aims to provide an uplifting environment for like-minded and like-hearted women in LA to educate and embrace the concept that overall health is more than just a fitness goal. The goal of the organization's proposal is to inspire healthy connections with the community and environment by creating an affordable, full-service fitness facility for women in South LA, providing a safe and uplifting environment with group fitness, individual training, cardio, weight machines, spa services, workshops, health screenings, and community gardening.

Malibu Foundation is committed to forging long-term resiliency in areas affected by the Woolsey Fire of 2018 by serving the full scope of communities' needs, from housing and job placement to wellness and environmental advocacy. The organization seeks support to establish an annual, 4-week long summer surf camp for children experiencing residual trauma from the fire and children with developmental or physical disabilities. Serving as surf therapy, this camp aims to allow children to grow in their confidence and seek recovery from trauma, in addition to promoting environmental efforts to protect the beaches and ocean.

The Urban Warehouse educates inner-city youth to value education through its after-school program, which incorporates art activities and treats skateboarding as an academic incentive. In collaboration with Allstate, the organization proposes expanding its Skate-4-Education program, which uses skateboarding as an academic incentive for inner-city youth by exchanging skateboarding gear and skate ramp time when they meet specific educational goals.

Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles aims to use marathon running to benefit the overall health and wellness of the marginalized Ethiopian and other African and African-American communities in and around Los Angeles City. The organization proposes partnering with LA Endurance Sports Consulting to establish an annual “Marathon Project," a marathon running program that will train marginalized communities to successfully complete the Los Angeles Marathon.

Up2Us Sports aims to engage, train, and support sports coaches to transform youth, programs, and communities. The organization seeks support for “The Healing Power of Coaches," a citywide effort to increase the number of coaches working with youth in LA's most underserved communities and provide training to all youth sports coaches who want to use play to impact the physical, social-emotional, and academic health of young people.