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The 2019 My LA2050 Grants Challenge

$1 Million. 10 Winners. One Year to Shape LA.

The winners have been announced!

Check out the winners



$1,000,000 up for Grabs to Make LA the Best Place to Play, Learn, Create, Connect, and Live

Posted June 21, 2018 by Team LA2050

The Goldhirsh Foundation seeks public input to determine winners of the My LA2050 Activation Challenge. Public voting begins today.

Starting today, Angelenos can cast their vote to determine who will win the 2018 My LA2050 Activation Challenge, an open call for ideas that will activate 100,000 Angelenos to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live. A total of $1,000,000 will be awarded among five organizations to carry out their proposal. Each organization will receive a total of $200,000 (over two years) and partnership from LA2050 in support of their efforts.

Five finalists have been selected in each LA2050 goal category that will engage Angelenos to make a specific, tangible impact by 2020. The Goldhirsh Foundation's finalists for the My LA2050 Activation Challenge are:






*in alphabetical order by goal category

Public voting will close June 29th, and winners will be announced on July 9th.

To stay updated on the challenge and to be notified when the winners are announced, you can follow LA2050 on and on Twitter @LA2050, and connect with the challenge on Twitter using #ActivateforLA.

2018 My LA2050 Activation Challenge Finalists

Posted May 24, 2018 by Team LA2050

Congratulations to our top 25 finalists of the My LA2050 Activation Challenge! Earlier this year, we put out an open call for ideas that will activate 100,000 Angelenos to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live.

One winner will be chosen among the top five in each goal category based on the results of public voting. Each winning organization will receive a total of $200,000 (over two years) and a partnership from LA2050 to execute their proposal. Voting begins on June 19, 9am PT and will continue until June 29, 5pm PT.

The 2018 My LA2050 Activation Challenge winners will be announced on July 9, so stay tuned!

Here's to you LA! Thank you for inspiring us with so many innovative ideas to #ActivateforLA.

Announcing the finalists by goal category:





  • CASA/LA - Youth to Youth: Helping Young Adults Exit Foster Care
  • Homeboy Industries - Homeboy and LA Voice: Organizing formerly incarcerated Angelenos to vote
  • Investing in Place - More than Minivans: the Female Future of Transportation
  • Miry's List - Welcome, Neighbor: Making LA the most welcoming place in America
  • VoteRunLead - Women Lead L.A.: Activating Women to Collaborate, Lead, and Make Positive Change


Follow us at @LA2050 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter for announcements regarding the challenge. Help spread the word using #ActivateforLA!

*in alphabetical order

6 Awesome Angeleno Podcasts You Should Know About

Posted October 14, 2017 by LA2050

Seems like there's a podcast for everything these days, and quite a few about our own city. We've rounded up six social impact podcasts that share stories about Los Angeles, our most pressing challenges, and the changemaking leaders doing good:

Changemakers LA, by LA LISC
Changemakers LA is a tribute to the people and policies that make LA neighborhoods good places to live, work, and play. They take a look at how LA tackles the pressing issues of affordable housing, economic development, transportation, and safety in a time of growing prosperity and growing inequity in LA. Listen on Soundcloud here.

KNOW YOUR CITY by Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) was just launched this week! This podcast series will highlight some of LA's amazing leaders in policy, advocacy, and community development, who are uplifting underserved communities. Subscribe here.

There Goes the Neighborhood: Los Angeles, by KCRW
There Goes the Neigborhood: Los Angeles is an eight-part podcast examining the winners and losers of neighborhood gentrification, and the forces driving it in LA. Listen now on the KCRW site.

LA Forwards & Backwards, by LA Forward
LA Forwards & Backwards opens up conversation on issues being debated in today's Los Angeles. Hosted by David Levitus, founder of LA Forward, this podcast features interviews with local social and environmental justice leaders. Find episodes here.

Value Added, by enso
Value Added interviews people who are adding value to the world. The awesome Angelenos they've interviewed so far include Sam Polk, Jessica Jackley, Chris Rico, Elliot Kotek, and The Dinner Party. Take a listen on iTunes.

The Zag, by NLC Los Angeles
The Zag features stories from New Leaders Council (NLC) alumni and their work in LA. NLC LA provides emerging professionals with training, mentorship, and resources, and has created a network of cross-sector, progressive leaders in Los Angeles. Listen to their podcast here.

With Friends of the Family and the Man2Man Project, young teens are training to become responsible fathers

Posted September 7, 2017 by Friends of the Family

Wow! What a great six months we have had launching the Man2Man Project!

The M2M Project has two main components:

  1. The Young Dads Impact Team
  2. The Adult Mentoring Program for the Young Dads

The first group of Mentors are now actively engaged with their mentees. The Young Dads received training about male responsibility in pregnancy prevention and practical ways to deal with real-life situations. These trainings will be incorporated into the Young Dads Impact Team presentations at local schools in the San Fernando Valley, North Hills, and Pacoima!

The Young Dads Impact Team, a name they chose for themselves, has been busy honing their presentation skills so they are prepared to visit local middle and high schools this fall to talk about what it's REALLY like to be a Young Dad and how important it is for teenage guys to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy.

The major challenge we have faced with the M2M Project has been recruitment of volunteer mentors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that volunteerism has decreased over the past five years and, compared to women, men are less likely to volunteer. To address and overcome this challenge, we have turned to pushing on social media, online networks, and presentations at community meetings. We also decided to establish two cohorts of mentors which has allowed the program to stagger the training and onboarding process. Currently, the second cohort of mentors is being interviewed, screened, and trained.

Although the M2M Project originally targeted metrics in LA2050's “Connect" goal category, we realize that the Project will also impact metrics in the “Live" goal category, as detailed below:


  • Rates of Volunteerism:
    • Man2Man program provides community members the opportunity to volunteer as mentors to young dads.
    • Young Dad Impact Team members volunteer to conduct community presentations at local schools on the importance of teen pregnancy prevention.
  • Social and Emotional Support
    • Adult mentors provide Young Dads with encouragement, support, and guidance.
    • Young Dads weekly group sessions foster social connections among group members.
    • Young Dads participants receive ongoing coaching, personal development, and access to networks of support


  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences:
    • Young Dads report high exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
    • Adult Mentors and Young Dad mentees are trained about the impact and prevalence of ACEs.
    • The Man2Man Project will be featured on ACEs community-of-practice website as a trauma-informed and resiliency building program.
  • Resilient Communities:
    • Young Dads and Mentors participating in the Man2Man Project develop skills that increase their resilience.
    • Man2Man mentors and mentees will plan a community volunteer day.

In the upcoming six months of the Project, we look forward to continuing our work with the mentor/mentee pairs and facilitating opportunities for meaningful and supportive relationships to develop. The mentors and mentees will convene as a group for some activities and will plan a community event for late summer.

If you have any questions about the Project or are interested in volunteering, please contact Brenda Hillhouse at 818/988-4430 or [email protected].

From East LA to DTLA to South LA, kids have been surfing and ocean-learning with Surf Bus Foundation!

Posted September 1, 2017 by Surf Bus Foundation

Note: The folks at Surf Bus Foundation wrote their own post on their blog--be sure to check out the full update on their site! Link here.

It is the mid-year mark for our LA2050: Make LA the best place to PLAY! grant project. We want to take a time out from our gnarlatiously awesome, salty, and sandy times at the beach to share with everyone how our journey is unfolding.

A project of this magnitude has taken no small amount of planning.

Our original proposal was to bring four LA City park and recreation departments out to the beach for two weeks of surf camp. We met at Green Meadows with coordinators and directors from three other LA parks: Algin Sutton, Trinity, and Cypress. After a frank discussion about research goals and weekly expectations, the biggest question was about time commitment. Can we get the SAME 65 children to commit to summer camp for two weeks in a row? Turns out, nobody knew if we could get the consistency needed to collect the data we wanted.

So we deviated from our original proposal--instead of 10 days of immersion for our kids, we broke the summer up into one-week blocks and invited eight parks out to the beach. Our parks cover all areas of Los Angeles: North Hollywood, East LA, Downtown, and South Central LA. We opened the door for our partners at Algin Sutton, Cypress, and Green Meadows to reach out to other reliable coordinators at Denker, Yucca, and Hazard Parks.

Surf Bus committed to dressing and feeding all our students, park staff, and volunteers with healthy lunches for the duration of our summer calendar. We have learned that staying well hydrated with water and choosing whole foods like simple proteins, fruits, and vegetables creates maximal returns at the beach. We couldn't have had a great summer without our generous partners:

  • Whole Foods agreed to give healthy snacks and fruit for 65 people everyday for the week of July 17-21
  • Everytable Santa Monica prepared fresh salads and grain bowls for us 3 days/week
  • Fellow My LA2050 grantee Altasea and the Cabrillo Aquarium prepared and delivered lunch for our budding marine scientists
  • Coolies Surf made special rashguard sets of shorts and tops for the children who do not have suitable bathing suits of their own.
  • Winds Bus partnered with Surf Bus to help provide transportation

100% of our Surf Bus volunteers are students who surf on Surf Academy-run middle and high school surf teams. Truly, the project epitomizes Ohana Nalu (family wave) and the Spirit of Aloha. For the week,we worked with Valley Plaza, by day five, we had all forty-five kids calling their instructors "aunty" and "uncle," just like on the Hawaiian islands.

The Surf Bus Foundation is an organization dedicated to the transportation and expansion of scientific knowledge through tools like play and through the help of the LA2050 Challenge grant they were able to develop the Therapeutic Ocean Engagement: Surfing (T.O.E.S.). We have taken photos, kept daily journals, conducted short interviews, and collected anonymous before/after surveys from all students and staff from each park. We are charged with the responsibility doing an exponential amount of good!

Big Citizen Hub: How are LA youth making an impact in their community?

Posted August 28, 2017 by Big Citizen Hub

Big Citizen HUB has spent the last six months connecting 225 young people from all across Los Angeles.

These youth represent:

  • 60 zip codes and 57 school communities
  • 34% male, 57% female, 1% gender non-conforming, 8% non disclosed
  • 77% Latinx/Hispanic, 5% Asian American/Pacific Islander, 3% Caucasian/White, 3% African American/Black, 6% Mixed Race, 6% non disclosed

Together on diverse teams, Big Citizens have been participating in dialogue, community immersion activities, and direct actions to address the critical issues dividing our cities, including Environmental Sustainability, Food Justice, Homelessness, Immigration, LGBTQ+ Equality, and Animal Rights. From making blankets for people experiencing homelessness, participating in the Free the People Immigration March, taking toxic tours and making seed bombs, to participating in a letter writing campaign to SeaWorld, these youth are learning how to take action on the issues that matter most to them, whether that be through direct service, mobilization, or speaking out and sharing their own stories.

This has already been an incredible year and we are excited to continue moving forward to harness youth assets and positive peer networks, ultimately contributing to a more just, open, and connected society.

As we approach the end of our program year, we expect to graduate 196 young people in mid-July. Big Citizens have collectively spent over 20,000 hours exploring issues of social justice with their peers and our 30+ community partners.

  • Big Citizens receive social and emotional support from near-peer mentors
  • Big Citizens have gained skills in using our public transit system to explore LA
  • We have engaged 225 Big Citizens, along with their friends and family in volunteerism throughout the last six months. 83 of these youth are back for their 2nd or 3rd year with Big Citizen HUB.
  • Big Citizens come from 60 zip codes across LA, making important connections with youth outside of their neighborhood
  • Big Citizens also connect through social media and learn how to utilize these networks to increase the impact they can have on the issues they care about

It's also been an exciting year operationally! We've begun working with the Building Healthy Communities - Boyle Heights: Invest in Youth Campaign, furthering valuable partnerships through advocacy efforts for positive youth development programs in LA. We've also begun to build greater organizational capacity by bringing on a Director of Programs and a Director of Impact and Evaluation. This is especially exciting as capacity has been a challenge as we strive to create the highest quality positive youth development program for our participants.

This year we launched the use of a mobile technology to collect information about youth's real-time experiences during the program. This methodology, called Experience Sampling Method (ESM), signals youth at random time points throughout the program day with a brief survey that asks respondents about what they are doing and feeling in that moment. This approach provides us with data on the quality of program implementation and how youth are experiencing and interacting with program components. We plan to share evaluation findings through an impact report this fall, after the 2017 program is complete.

This has already been an incredible year and we are excited to continue moving forward to harness youth assets and positive peer networks, ultimately contributing to a more just, open, and connected society.

Media Features:

  1. NBC – Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch - 3/14/17
  2. Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch
  3. Park Labrea News Beverly Press - 4/27/17 - GYSD

Opportunity Fund is investing in LA's future: immigrant entrepreneurs and small business owners

Posted August 23, 2017 by Opportunity Fund

More than 45% of families in LA County live below the self-sufficiency standard. In LA, it takes more than three full-time, minimum wage jobs for a typical family to pay for necessities. To bridge the income gap, many–in particular minorities and immigrants–turn to entrepreneurship as a path to economic security, a strategy that also stimulates job creation in their communities.

A 2012 CNN report noted, “[Small and medium enterprises] in the U.S. create over 85% of all jobs." If one in three microenterprises hired an additional person, the U.S. would return to full employment. Yet 50% of small businesses fail, often due to an inability to access affordable and responsible capital needed for growth because of language and cultural barriers, limited assets, and poor/insufficient credit.

Opportunity Fund's small business program is an investment in address this daunting economic indicator and reaching all small business owners to provide them with sound capital with which to build their enterprises.

Opportunity Fund is California's largest nonprofit microlender. Our innovative microlending model enables Los Angeles' underserved small business owners access so they can build vibrant enterprises, and a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities. We provide loans from $2,600 to $250,000, at affordable, fixed interest rates to disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Our model balances technology, efficiency, market knowledge, and impact measurement to remove barriers to credit that many of our borrowers face when declined by banks.

We use a variety of innovative marketing strategies to reach small business owners including our street team of loan officers, bank referrals, online presence, and a first-of-its kind partnership with Lending Club, the nation's largest online lender. Last year, we launched our Community Partners Program in LA to provide multiple layers of microenterprise assistance, leverage each other's strengths and have a deeper reach.

Through Opportunity Fund's Community Partners Program, we've worked closely with community organizations like MCS BusinessSource Center which shares Opportunity Fund's core value of helping small business owners gain access to responsible and transparent lending. By working with MCS BusinessSource Center, Opportunity Fund has created a consistent referral channel for microbusiness, thereby generating new loan volume.

Through our ten LA community partners, including two signed in 2017, we have originated 32 loans for a loan volume of $353,751, creating/sustaining nearly 100 new jobs, and generating nearly $690,000 in new economic activity through new wages, spending and taxes. Building the framework to support our partners—such as product training, collateral marketing material, processes and communication channels, designing and writing a monthly partner-directed newsletter, and developing “how to" sessions with partners offered to small business clients—has demanded more time than originally anticipated. Going forward, with a strong system in place for our existing partners, Opportunity Fund's staff is anticipating being able to dedicate more time to adding more partners to the program, and originating new lending through that channel that creates stronger small businesses, economic mobility for our clients and their families, and employees.

If She Can See it, She Can Be It!

Posted August 18, 2017 by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

With the support of the LA2050 My Grants Challenge, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary's University recently launched its new Empowering Girls & Creating a Gender-Balanced Media Landscape program. This program provides scholarships for 50 girls from across Los Angeles to attend the Institute's See Jane Salon series, quarterly events that engage entertainment industry professionals and corporate influencers in discussions on achieving greater gender equity in media. In addition to attending the salons, scholarship recipients will also have the chance to take part in other special mentoring programs and opportunities over the course of one year.

The Institute partnered with local peer organizations, including the Fulfillment Fund, Urban Fitness 911, DIY Girls, LA Makerspace, and Steamcoders, to help spread the word and reach a diverse group of young woman.

The program's first salon, “The Easiest Way to Add Female Characters: It Starts With A Script!" was held at Fullscreen Media in Playa Vista on June 5, 2017. Program panelists included Geena Davis; Craig Gerber, Creator & Executive Producer of Disney's Elena of Avalor; Daron Nefcy, Creator & Executive Producer of Disney's Star vs. The Forces of Evil; and Rebecca Rusch, professional athlete and creator and star of the film Blood Road. Alex Cohen, KPCC's Morning Edition Host, moderated the discussion, which centered on ways to improve female representation in media that start in the writers' room.

As the Empowering Girls & Creating a Gender-Balanced Media Landscape program progresses, three more salons are planned for August, November, and February. Additionally, a program featuring a speed mentoring session with a range of entertainment industry professionals is scheduled for early September.

At the program's conclusion, the Institute will survey scholarship recipients to assess the quality of the program and its impact on their knowledge and interest in gender equity in media. The Institute will also evaluate the program's influence on inspiring the participants to pursue their own careers in the entertainment industry, and will track the number of participants who go on to attain internships and jobs in the industry or start their own creative endeavors or businesses.

Help LA get on the SXSW stage!

Posted August 17, 2017 by

SXSW's community panel picker gives YOU the opportunity to shape the sessions on the most innovative ideas, solutions, and thought leaders shaping issue ranging from education to the digital economy. No surprise that there are tons of great panel ideas submitted from LA. Here's a selection of awesome sessions from LA-based organizations and companies. Read on and vote on your favorites to help LA get on the SXSW stage!

Transforming LA's K-12 Public Schools

This session will examine how an in-district, public-private management model is transforming 18 of the highest needs K-12 traditional public schools in Los Angeles - the nation's second largest school district. The panel will feature Joan Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a former My LA2050 grantee.

David vs. Goliath: Disrupters in Hospitality

Be inspired by young founders of unique emerging concepts in the hospitality industry. Learn how they are successfully disrupting the status quo. Hear from Elvina Beck, the founder of PodShare, a revolutionary co-living concept ranked #1 on TripAdvisor in Los Angeles.

Arts Education - Who Gets It & Why It Matters

In 2016-17, the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective collected data about the quality, quantity and equity of arts education from schools and school districts across LA County. Matthew Agustin, Research Associate, Los Angeles County Arts Commission will focus on findings from the commission's analysis and what it reveals about the distribution of arts instruction in LA County.

#SiliconVarrios: Diversity in the Digital Economy

In order for communities to thrive in the digital economy, they need to be cultivated locally. This means businesses that are designed to sustain the surrounding community. Silicon Varrios cultivate relevant events and creative thinking to solve the needs that are unique to our neighborhoods. This dual presentation will explore this concept with two people that are shaping the digital economy from the barrios of Los Angeles. Featuring Leo Este, Creative Director, Small Green Door and Cisco Pinedo, Founder and CEO, Cisco Home

United We Stand: The Case For Digital Government

This panel of experts, from the left and the right, will address when, and how, governments can wake up to the digital demands of modern citizens. Ted Ross, CIO at City of Los Angeles, will be talking about what's happening locally.

Uplifting Youth Through Sports Opportunities

There is huge financial value in pro teams developing youth programs to get kids into their system, but teams are just now unlocking the tremendous social value of youth initiatives as well. We'll look at some best practices in sports of reaching youth communities, and explore the work that still needs to be done to provide further opportunities. Featuring Nichol Whiteman, Executive Director, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.

Restoring the Triforium: A Crash-course in City Politics, Art Conservation, Public Outreach, and Historical Research

Posted August 16, 2017 by The Triforium Project

The Triforium Project is a group dedicated to the restoration and revival of an unusual piece of public art in Downtown Los Angeles, The Triforium. Built in 1975, The Triforium was a groundbreaking, technology-driven, interactive musical instrument designed to synchronize light and music in “polyphonoptic" compositions for all to enjoy. Unfortunately, it never quite worked as designed, and suffered a number of technological, financial, and political setbacks over its lifetime. Once a beacon of light, music, and color downtown, it has stood mute and dark for many years.

Because of the large-scale nature of the artwork—six stories!—its interrelated technological components, and the fact that The Triforium is part of the City of Los Angeles' public art collection, progress on restoring the Triforium has not been immediate. This is the nature of the beast.

Still, over the last six months, we've moved from planning conversations to concrete delegations in close partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA):

  • DCA is now creating two initial conservator's reports of the Triforium, which we are partially funding with our grant funds, in order to assess the artwork's structural and technological integrity, and the cost of different restoration approaches.
  • While the civic wheels turn, one of the most substantial efforts we've made to support the Department of Cultural Affairs is to systematically digitize huge portions of Triforium artist Joseph Young's paper archive, shared with us by his family. By going through all of Joseph Young's materials and cross-referencing it with press accounts and the technology found in the Control Room, we've been able to put together a chronology of the artwork's life that will be invaluable to the conservator who takes on the final restoration.
  • We've also created a dossier of the archive's most important documents, substantiating our understanding that Joseph Young designed the Triforium to last centuries—and would have been tickled to see its computer system updated with each successive generation.
  • Finally, we created large-format scans of all the Triforium's original blueprints and schematics, which again, will be invaluable to assessing its structural integrity.

While the conservator's report is underway, we have made progress by doubling down on outreach, hosting site visits of the Triforium and its Control Room to interested parties and groups.

  • We've worked with City Council District 14 and the Department of General Services to clean up the Triforium's long-maligned Control Room, clearing it of trash, insects, and dust while installing archival images and information within sight of pedestrians.
  • We've hosted a tour and fundraiser with the Los Angeles Design Festival and created unique Triforium merchandise to raise further funds for the project's long-term goals.
  • We've identified volunteers with expertise in legacy computing, glasswork, and engineering in order to simplify (and save) on future assessments.

The last six months of working towards our goal of a musical, illuminated Triforium have been a crash-course in city politics, art conservation, public outreach, and historical research. Without the support of LA2050, we may well have walked away from this project, feeling daunted by its complex considerations. But the initial support of LA2050 has catalyzed us, legitimized us, and encouraged other funders to get on the Triforium bandwagon. Now the momentum is so great that we can't stop—and we can finally see the Triforium lights on the horizon!

Since January, we've received exciting press coverage that mirrors the excitement and momentum that has built around the Triforium:

Keep up with LA2050