Trends in the 2021 My LA2050 Grants Challenge CREATE Category

Posted May 19, 2021 by LeAnn Kelch and Jake Bishop

At LA2050, the CREATE category represents our vision of a Los Angeles region that empowers its residents to harness their creativity through both artistic expression and entrepreneurship. By the year 2050, LA will play host to the largest concentration of working artists and high-quality arts establishments. Our region will be an international leader in innovation and production across sectors and a center for entrepreneurial activity that creates jobs and generates wealth for a flexible, talented workforce from all backgrounds. LA's business community will reflect the diversity of our region, enhancing our international opportunities.

Five significant trends stood out between this year's 60 CREATE submissions:

  1. The most popular metric in the category was “employment in the creative industries.” In total, 28 proposals (almost half of all submissions in CREATE) are seeking to open up opportunities to creative employment for underrepresented groups, including women and people of color. For example, Covenant House applied with a proposal to train its program participants, in particular homeless youth of color, in animation. Other submitters targeting this metric include the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, New Musicals Inc., Kids In The Spotlight, Girls in Focus, Reel Start, Coop Careers, and more.
  2. There was also a noticeable emphasis CREATE on serving formerly incarcerated and systems-impacted populations. Organizations including Homeboy Industries, Chrysalis, The Actors Gang, Paige Blu Industries, Pride in Truth, and others applied to implement programs that would make the re-entry process more healing and lower recidivism rates.
  3. Women, girls, transgender, and non-binary individuals often face barriers to employment in male-dominated industries including STEM, media, and the food industry. For that reason, a number of applicants focused on implementing career preparation and mentorship programs that would expand access to employment specifically for these groups. Some examples include Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), Women's Voices Now, Las Fotos Project, and others.
  4. The second most popular impact metric in CREATE was “minority- and women-owned businesses,” with 26 applicants focused on diversifying entrepreneurship in Los Angeles. In particular, there was an emphasis on supporting business owners of color in Los Angeles. Whether offering short-term food truck rentals to emerging business owners (On The Go LA), a tech accelerator for funders for underrepresented communities (Plug In South LA), or a push for local ownership and entrepreneurship in the Crenshaw area (WORCS: Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services).
  5. Another emerging theme within the category was leveraging the power of art to accomplish a greater purpose, whether as a form of activism or as emotional healing for participants. The arts programming to be offered ranged from dance and theatre to pottery and filmmaking. Organizations working in this area include: A Place Called Home, People's Pottery Project, Color Compton, and more.

Mi Terro plans to use the grants challenge funding to launch and build a small-scale production line to upcycle 125 tons of agricultural waste and replace hundreds of tons of plastic films.

AWOKE's proposal is focused on its cultural center, a physical and virtual hub for youth and community members to grow as leaders and skilled practitioners.

New Musicals inc.'s hopes to elevate the voices of Los Angeles BIPOC artists through the development and creation of short musical theater pieces with its grants challenge proposal.

In collaboration with Designmatters, Ezrach Brain Trust Association's grants challenge proposal includes responsibly made footwear that will reduce LA's carbon footprint while providing professional workforce development in South Los Angeles.

Wrkz, Inc. applied for grants challenge funding to continue its mentorship program that serves young adults ages 17 to 30 years old in the inner cities of Los Angeles.

The proposal from the Jenesse Center, its workforce development program, gives survivors of domestic violence the skills, tools and support they need to achieve self-sufficiency.

Girls in Focus' proposal is a 3-week summer film intensive for women with the goal of creating a pipeline connecting, educating, and preparing them for the film industry.

The "Restaurant Data Pipeline" from GREHO Inc. helps restaurants facilitate business success through data-based skill-building.

Multiplicity - Table for Ten hopes to use the grants challenge funding to provide memberships for women in the LA2050 network to attend its networking events.

The grants challenge proposal from The Actors Gang, the "Reentry Program and Alumni Advocacy Project," provides formerly incarcerated individuals with training in emotional expression and control, verbal communication, and more.

Homeboy Industries is seeking funding for its paid, therapeutic 18-month re-entry program that offers wraparound services for formerly incarcerated or gang-involved individuals.

Kids In The Spotlight hopes to create & launch a “Production Studio For A Cause (PSFAC)” that will operate as a vocational & social enterprise facility for transitional age foster youth.

A Place Called Home plans to expand its "Community Arts Initiative" to more than 200 classes a year in music, theater, dance, and more to young people in South LA.

The grants challenge proposal from Project Joy continues its "Youth AI Learning Program" where opportunity youth build their digital and artificial intelligence literacy.

In collaboration with Studio 'C', Covenant House's grants challenge proposal trains youth of color in the latest animation and digital effects processes.

The grants challenge proposal from Venice Arts will provide underrepresented youth with training in the creative industry skills needed for internships and employment.

Girls Academic Leadership Academy will use the funding to establish a “Recording Club” for aspiring musicians and sound engineers in its cohort.

The Salt Eaters Bookshop will use grants challenge funding to help create a co-working space equipped with computer and printer access for local Black women, femme, or nonbinary writers.

Working with Downtown Crenshaw Rising, WORCS: Worker Ownership Resources and Cooperative Services is coordinating an effort to locally and democratically own and operate businesses within the Crenshaw Mall and surrounding neighborhoods.

The proposal from Lost Angels Children's Project will provide transitional aged youth with hands-on job training, career development, paid apprenticeship, and wraparound supportive services.

Rush Inc focuses on propelling women founders and their products into the spotlight by using storytelling to drive sales among women.

Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum is seeking funding to support the world premier of "Trouble the Water" in its amphitheater as part of its 2022 Repertory Season.

The grants challenge proposal from Global Eye Entrepreneurs is a 10-month fellowship program for male entrepreneurs of color to access role models, mentors, and capital.

Chrysalis is seeking grants challenge funding to continue its programming which helps formerly incarcerated individuals attain self-sufficiency through work.

CIELO's proposal, "The Source," is an online platform where prospective entrepreneurs and career builders are connected to coaches, business and career development videos, and more.

The Fund for a Guaranteed Income applied to the grants challenge to support its guaranteed income initiative that will distribute recurring cash relief to low-income residents for two years.

Pacific Film Foundation seeks funding to produce a TV series, "Female and Finally Free," to support UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5.

"Agency of Assets," the submission from Santa Monica Museum of Art DBA Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, would introduce more high schoolers in LA to professions in the arts through its seven-month pipeline program.

Pride in Truth hopes to launch "The Braz Project," which will uplift individuals impacted by the incarceration and legal systems by providing wrap-around re-entry support.

Reel Start would use grants challenge funding to support its experiential learning program introducing high school students to careers in the entertainment industry.

Novus Think Tank's "Filling the Gap" seeks to provide high school students in South Los Angeles with mentorship and the resources to cultivate self-agency, confidence, and purpose.

The Why Lab's "Pop-Up Social Innovation Labs" project would launch events for the community to learn future-forward innovation skills while solving some of the biggest challenges within our city.

On The Go LA seeks support for its service that helps local food entrepreneurs formalize their business and grow their customer base by offering full-service, short-term food truck rentals.

"Girls' Voices Now," the proposal from Women's Voices Now, focuses on empowering girls and femme-identifying youth (14-18) from underrepresented communities to find, develop and use their voice through film making.

People's Pottery Project seeks support for its nonprofit ceramics studio, which empowers formerly incarcerated women, trans and non-binary individuals through the power of art-making, grassroots advocacy, and employment.

"Arts for All" from Compound seeks to launch a series of workshops, virtual programs, onsite activities, art projects, and more to bring arts education to all nine districts of Long Beach.

Paige Blu Industries, Inc. applied to the grants challenge for its "Re-Entry Growth Collective Initiative," a collaborative training program for re-entry that provides a database for small service businesses to source candidates to scale their business.

The "BLACK DOLLARS MATTER" project from UBU HOLDINGS would launch an online and mobile directory of Black businesses.

"The Foto Forum: A Creative Advocacy Space for Teen Girls" from Las Fotos Project seeks to provide a new platform for young women who are using their photography as a means to advocate for their communities.

If selected as a finalist, Kaimore will launch a 16-week workforce development experience for ambitious individuals to help realize their full potential as community leaders.

"Seeking Spotlights" from Social Justice League aims to help at-risk LA youth explore opportunities, discover passions, and align career paths in music and entertainment.

Plug In South LA seeks funding to support its “Accelerator Program,” which supports promising early-stage tech entrepreneurs from underserved and underrepresented communities who are poised to disrupt their industries.

Green Pines Media and riddick & gray, LLC applied to the grants challenge for funding to support "Transition Age Artists," a documentary that highlights the need for social justice and innovation within the American foster care system.

Stem Advantage aims to mentor, prepare, and inspire women and underserved communities to pursue careers in STEM while providing a vetted pipeline of diverse talent to businesses.

If selected as a finalist, Color Compton would reclaim and retell BIPOC histories and stories via its "OurArchive.Me" preservation project.

Contemporary Art League seeks funding for its programs supporting LA's artworkers through community services, professional support, and advocacy opportunities.

Coop Careers hopes to scale its programming and serve hundreds of first-generation Los Angeles college graduates, by preparing them for well-paying careers in the digital economy.

The "MINT 100 Voices of LA: Diversifying Entrepreneurial Impact" project from Mint Inc. seeks to produce videos of 100 entrepreneurs of color in Los Angeles sharing their journeys.

Food Tribe USA's "Restaurant Bailout" seeks to bridge the digital divide for South Los Angeles independent restaurant owners and operators.

"Create Beat" from KCRW will celebrate the creative genius of Southern California by highlighting the artists who make Los Angeles the home of the extraordinary.

Sankofa City hopes to use grant funding to continue providing free on-demand shuttle services and e-bike rentals in South Los Angeles.

Textile Arts Los Angeles seeks support for its third annual Textile Month Los Angeles, a regional festival celebrating the textile arts.

Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment aims to use grants challenge funding to create a centralized hub where material byproducts from businesses can be repurposed.

Regarding Her submitted a grants challenge proposal to support women and BIPOC women in the food industry through mentorship, education, grants, and more.

We Are Enough hopes to address the "Shecession" caused by COVID19 through funding women investors in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Review of Books seeks funding for "LITLIT," a two-day literary fair that would bring together independent publishers and literary arts organizations from around LA.

"STEREO/SCOPE" from 3-D Space would utilize VR technology to allow participants to be immersed in the 19th century.

The National Association of Latino Independent Producers' "Emerging Content Creators Inclusion Initiative" aims to support young creators at the beginning of careers in the entertainment industry.

"Wealth in Waste," the grants challenge submission from Rewilder seeks to expand Rewilder's textile waste upcycling operation in Los Angeles.

With support from the grants challenge, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Los Angeles Metro will launch its entrepreneurship programming for youth in more Los Angeles schools.