Today, Friday, September 4th, the City of Los Angeles turns 239 years old!
Last year, on LA's 238th birthday,
we asked local leaders to share their wishes for our city. While not all of the wishes have come true (yet!), LA continues to make progress towards its future.
In 2020, LA has faced a unique set of challenges and opportunities, from the COVID-19 pandemic to Angelenos taking the streets for racial justice. As LA begins its 240th year, we asked our incredible grantees, who work all across our city with a diverse range of communities, to share what they wish to see in LA's future.
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE
“Los Angeles is so much more than its stereotypes. It's full of amazing people from all different parts of the country and the world, a rich kaleidoscope of culture and humanity. Amid the pandemic, its resilience is being tested more than ever before.
For the 239th birthday of the City of Angels, LA Forward is wishing for government officials to rise to the scale of the enormous challenges we face. We've already seen an unprecedented surge of civic participation as Angelenos demand racial justice and a path to a just economic recovery that invests in communities, rather than leaving them burdened with debt. That's why we're part of the Healthy LA coalition of 330 organizations. And that's why we're using our LA 101 series of initiatives to support the people of LA in taking control of the systems that shape their lives. We're starting with engaging educational guides that make local issues accessible and civic teach-ins tailored to the moment."
STRATEGIC ACTIONS FOR A JUST ECONOMY
2020 LIVE GRANTEE
“We believe that the fate of Los Angeles should be decided by those who dwell here, no matter how much money we have or where we come from, because our vibrant and diverse community has been built by all of us.
In these troubled times, our birthday wish for our city is to stop evictions and cancel rent; no one should be without a home when home is the safest place to be. Housing should be as much of a public good as roads and schools and streetlights and parks. Los Angeles has led the world as a creative force in many fields, and we should now turn that creativity towards constructing solutions to the pressing issue of housing, ensuring that everyone has a safe, affordable and healthy home in the city that we love."
2019 LEARN GRANTEE
“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! 9 Dots' wish for the year ahead is that we unite and learn from the many challenges we face during COVID-19 and remote learning. We wish that all students in elementary education in Los Angeles have access to a quality computer science education, preparing them for tomorrow's best jobs. With only 9% of California's elementary schools offering computer science courses, let's ensure that Angeleno students are prepared to become leaders in the tech industry in the years that follow. Let's support our educators who are putting in incredible work to continue providing education to students virtually.
This year, 9 Dots is continuing to work with 20 schools, over 270 teachers, and over 8,000 students to provide CS education virtually. We are thrilled to continue to share the joy and creativing of coding each year. Together, let's make Los Angeles a leader in CS education."
UNION STATION HOMELESS SERVICES
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE
“The strength and resilience of Los Angeles is rooted in its diversity and interconnectivity. However, not all Angelenos are granted the dignity of safe and affordable housing. It can be difficult for our most vulnerable community members to thrive here. At Union Station Homeless Services, we believe in the ability of our people to innovate and fearlessly execute new solutions to end homelessness in LA County. Through our Community Allies Program, we prioritize human connection as we match volunteers to work closely with people experiencing homelessness. This shared humanity enriches the lives of both the participant and the volunteer equally, as they grow and learn from one another, truly embodying the heart of Los Angeles. We are proud to provide permanent solutions to get individuals and families off the streets for good.
Our birthday wish is to end homelessnes, and to further connect our community. Happy Birthday, Los Angeles!"
CROP SWAP LA
2020 LIVE GRANTEE
“Dear Los Angeles—2020 is the year to return to our foundations, so we may grow yet again. Back in 1781 when LA was founded, it was common practice to cultivate the land as a means of lifestyle and advancement. Now in 2020, we see the need to get back to those ways, not only for food security, but also environmental responsibility.
So from our gardeners at Crop Swap LA, we wish the City to have a healthy return to its agricultural roots, where local water is used creatively for food production, and jobs naturally develop as big opportunity meets big need. We remain committed to cultivate unused land, including residential front yard spaces, so we can create a local and sustainable food production infrastructure for the masses. We harvest unwanted fruit from backyard trees, and aim to educate the community on ways they can become self-sufficient by growing food at home.
Together, we can revive the spirit of this City, and it begins in the soil."
2020 CONNECT GRANTEE
“Los Angeles has been the birthplace of our work for social justice and transformation of the “justice" system. The unique intersection of the Arts & social justice positions LA as a leader in the radical reimagining of how America treats people who are systems-impacted. In LA County, approximately 500 children are currently incarcerated. Our work uses the Arts as the vehicle for them to understand their power and how to use the tool of voting to make change in the communities targeted for incarceration. Our birthday wish for our city is that we pull out the roots of injustice—systemic racism and inequity—and that we center the Arts and those most impacted in the process.
Creative Acts is an organization that seeks to transform urgent social justice issues through the revolutionary power of the Arts; to heal trauma, build community, raise power, and center the voices of those who are or have been incarcerated."
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
2019 PLAY GRANTEE
“As we join in celebrating Los Angeles' birthday, the Natural History Museum's wish is that all Angelenos have equal access to science, nature, history, and culture. With classrooms and field trips looking very different for the coming year, we are committed to meeting this challenging moment and finding new ways of engaging the community. Our new, free Virtual Classroom designed for school districts throughout the County, including the 735,000 students and teachers in LAUSD, will ensure access to the museums' world-class collections, exhibitions, and engaging programming.
We are thrilled to share our outdoor Nature Gardens and Butterfly Pavilion once again with the public beginning on September 11, and look forward to when we will be able to welcome visitors back to our indoor spaces as well. In the meantime, stay safe Los Angeles! And thank you for making our museum one of the County's most beloved destinations for 107 years and counting."
2020 LIVE GRANTEE
“Jenesse is dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and addressing the multi-faceted barriers to safety and self-sufficiency that are experienced by victims of domestic violence in South Los Angeles.
On its 239th Birthday, Jenesse wishes LA to become a city in which every person lives in a safe environment, free from oppression and with the opportunity to thrive. Jenesse's culturally sensitive programs and services not only transition families from crisis to self-sufficiency, but transform the lives of clients and the community at large by offering education, referrals and resources that go beyond shelter. Removing a victim from a violent home is just the first step in our care continuum. Jenesse's trauma-informed and culturally appropriate programs and services include a 24-Hour Hotline; Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing; Fully Staffed Legal Service Center; Children/Youth Programs; Mental Health Services; Workforce Development Programs; and Medical, Housing, and Public Benefits Advocacy."
“Los Angeles' college students are dealing with pressures that no one has dealt with before; but their resilience and dedication to their own futures and that of their communities are lessons for the rest of the city. We must support them!
Organizations across the city have joined forces to launch Let's Go to College LA. This campaign connects students to a virtual hub where they can find timely information, valuable resources, and virtual workshops to navigate college during COVID. Let's Go to College LA is here to serve students through these times and make their success a priority for our city. Our students are our future. Let's dedicate this birthday to them!
We invite you to celebrate the City's birthday by encouraging any college student you know to visit www.letsgotocollegeca.org and follow @gotocollegeca on Instagram and Twitter!"
LOS ANGELES MARITIME INSTITUTE
2020 PLAY GRANTEE
“The ocean and coastline of Los Angeles are iconic features, invaluable natural resources, and critical economic drivers of the City. Yet, geographical, economic, psychological, and social inequalities in the City create barriers that keep many of its population from the benefits of these extraordinary public resources. It is well-established that outdoor education and recreating in nature lead to positive social and emotional development and improved academic learning in children. Now more than ever, it is critical that young people get opportunities to enjoy and learn from nature in the City's outdoor spaces.
The Los Angeles Maritime Institute wishes Los Angeles a Happy Birthday and a future where EVERY child in LA has an equal opportunity to access the educational, recreational, and spiritual gifts the ocean and coast have to offer."
PEDIATRIC THERAPY NETWORK
2020 LEARN GRANTEE
“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! As you celebrate your 239th birthday, here at Pediatric Therapy Network (PTN), we're celebrating our 24th birthday!
In the fall of 1996, a group of therapists and parents created our center with the mission of leading the way in helping children, families, and communities reach full capabilities through innovative therapy, research, and education programs. At PTN, we believe every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status or diagnosis, can achieve their fullest potential through early identification, early intervention, and early education. We know you believe that too, Los Angeles, which is why we're so proud to call you home.
Our birthday wish for Los Angeles is the same wish for PTN—that every child be given the opportunity and the tools to succeed because with that the future will look bright indeed!
Happy Birthday LA, from your friends at Pediatric Therapy Network!"
LOST ANGELS CHILDREN'S PROJECT
2020 CREATE GRANTEE
“Our wish for LA is for our youth to realize that there are opportunities out there, and jobs! Don't be discouraged.
Out here in Lancaster, CA, Lost Angels Children's Project has partnered with the City of Lancaster, Los Angeles County Office of Education, and America Job Corp Center to train and employ youth who are just entering the workforce. Our program is called Good Life Manufacturing, and our goal is to make sure that Lancaster has a skilled labor force to fill living-wage careers in the manufacturing, aerospace, vehicle assembly and related industries. We call it "Good Life" because we believe that if you work hard, that's what you'll get: "A Good Life!" Stay strong, LA, and Happy Birthday!"
LAS FOTOS PROJECT
2020 CREATE GRANTEE
“Happy Birthday, Los Angeles! Las Fotos Project teen photographers have been documenting your beautiful people and cityscapes for the past 10 years, and we fall in love with you every time they do! The cultural intersections you create inspire our students every day. Their photographs tell their stories of skateboarding down your streets, and having birthday parties in your parks, cruising your boulevards and making memories with the friends they met in your communities.
Our birthday wish for you is for the people who make you vibrant – the artists, musicians, street vendors, young innovators and entrepreneurs – to thrive, and for your communities to find peace and justice so that you can continue to shine. <3"
2020 CREATE GRANTEE
“At Flintridge Center, our wish is to see a Los Angeles where families thrive, youth reach their full potential, and equality and opportunity are accessible to all. We are ready to spend LA's 240th year dismantling structural inequities by providing pathways to opportunity for justice-impacted populations. We are honored to continue this work alongside incredible, hardworking individuals and organizations making Los Angeles the city we all envision. Happy Birthday, LA!"
LOS ANGELES AUDUBON SOCIETY
2020 LEARN GRANTEE
“Happy Birthday, LA! On our City's 239th birthday, Los Angeles Audubon Society celebrates Los Angeles and its rich biological heritage, which is imperiled by thoughtless planning and building. Our wish is that people of all ages would connect to this natural landscape and learn about the birds, plants, and nature of the city and work to protect and restore species and habitats so that they survive into the future together with us. Our programs at Los Angeles Audubon Society provide those educational and advocacy opportunities for so many Angelenos, and we look forward to what this year has in store."
HARLEM LACROSSE LOS ANGELES
2019 PLAY GRANTEE
“On your 239th birthday, we celebrate the city's rich history and diversity. We are proud to be from a city that leads, and looks optimistically toward progress and change. Harlem Lacrosse wishes for a level playing field, where a young person's zip code no longer determines access to opportunities. Harlem Lacrosse is addressing this gap by supporting students, growing the game of lacrosse, and starting brand new programs in South LA, Inglewood, and Compton - all places where the sport has never before been played. So many pioneering middle schoolers who join our programs are experiencing sports for the very first time.
Los Angeles has a strong tradition of college and professional sports; now it's time to ensure that every young Angeleno has the chance to PLAY!"
The PLAY category represents our vision of a Los Angeles where people of all ages have easy access to high-quality, sustainable venues to get active, explore the outdoors, and appreciate our natural environment. By the year 2050, people of all ages will enjoy safe neighborhoods, vibrant park space, and abundant recreational opportunities.
Below, learn more about the five My LA2050 winners making LA the best place to PLAY.
$100,000 Winner: The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks enriches the lives of LA residents by providing safe, welcoming parks and recreation facilities with affordable activities for people of all ages.
Did you know? Rec and Parks manages 16,000 acres of parkland and 92 miles of hiking trails! But with facilities closed due to COVID-19, Rec and Parks is bringing its programming to your home. Head to RecConnectLA for free virtual fitness classes, educational activities, and more.
$50,000 Winner: The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) is bigger than baseball, envisioning a city where every Angeleno, regardless of zip code, has the opportunity to thrive.
LADF applied to My LA2050 for funding to support the construction of its largest project to date, installing the three Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park in Compton. The new facilities will honor baseball legend Jackie Robinson and his family. Watch this video to learn more about the project.
$25,000 Winner: The Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) serves to empower youth to discover their greater potential through at-sea experiences aboard educational sailing vessels.
Teachers and caretakers of at-home learners: LAMI is providing a free “Virtual Voyage" science curriculum that addresses California K-12 standards through maritime topics such as the water cycle, the physics of sailing, and ocean pollution. Check it out!
$15,000 Winner: Public Matters is a creative studio for civic engagement, addressing the trust gap between institutions and agencies in historically marginalized neighborhoods and communities.
Public Matters has leveraged its unique talent for using the arts as a lever for social change in solving some of our region's most pressing problems, from food justice to traffic safety. Follow @publicmatters on Instagram for updates.
$10,000 Winner: Urban Warehouse teaches youth the value of education through its after-school program, where they use skateboarding as an academic incentive and incorporate art activities.
Every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, Urban Warehouse operates a pop-up food pantry at its site in East Los Angeles. During COVID-19, the organization has partnered with LA Care to increase its capacity and serve 500 families per week. Find details on the Urban Warehouse website.
In March, we shared that the Annenberg Foundation would again be partnering with the My LA2050 Grants Challenge and be providing $50,000 of additional funding to the winning organizations to support their efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This is Annenberg's sixth year as a My LA2050 funding partner and its third year providing DEI grants to winners.
We're excited to announce that this year's first-place My LA2050 winners—Las Fotos Project, Pediatric Therapy Network, Ready to Succeed, Clinica Msr. Romero, and the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks—will each receive an additional $10,000 grant from Annenberg. This funding will allow these five organizations to conduct an analysis of the composition of their board, staff, volunteers, and those they serve and take concrete steps to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are present across all aspects of their work.
Below, find a statement from Marsha Bonner, Senior Director of Programs, Community Grantmaking, and Special Initiatives at the Annenberg Foundation:
“The Annenberg Foundation is proud to continue its partnership with LA2050 this year with support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives of this year's top winners. At a time when our communities are facing the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, it is critical that we provide DEI support to organizations that have bold visions to make Los Angeles a more equitable city. We believe that investing in DEI during these unprecedented times will allow organizations to meet the pressing needs of their respective communities, and equip them to be effective change agents in addressing social inequities across Los Angeles.”
We're grateful to have the Annenberg Foundation as a longstanding partner in the philanthropic space, and we're even more grateful for their continued commitment to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion in Los Angeles County. Thank you!
There are just 75 days until the 2020 Election!
Now's the time to ask yourself: Am I eligible to vote? Am I registered at my current address? Do I want a mail-in ballot, and if so, have I signed up for one?
In anticipation of the 2020 election, we want to make sure that every Angeleno is prepared. Figuring out voting deadlines and eligibility can be confusing, so we've compiled a guide with the tools you'll need to be empowered and civically engaged. Below are some resources that we hope will help:
Important dates and deadlines:
October 6: Voting by mail begins
October 19: Last day to register to vote via by mail or online*
October 24: LA County Vote Centers open for early voting
November 3: 2020 Election Day!
*Provisional registration is available through Election Day
Voter registration resources:
In March, we announced that Citi would be joining us as a funding partner for this year's My LA2050 Grants Challenge. Citi pledged $25,000 for an applicant whose work focused on small business development, financial inclusion, or housing, with a special focus on projects that address the racial wealth gap in Los Angeles.
After thoughtful consideration and conversation, Citi has selected LIFT-LA to receive $25,000. LIFT-LA empowers families to break the cycle of poverty through one-on-one financial, educational and career coaching and applied to this year's grants challenge for its Family Goal Fund program. We're so excited for our friends at LIFT and so grateful to Citi for partnering with us to support some of the incredible work happening in our region.
Below, find a statement from James Alva, Citi's Senior Vice President & Market Director of Community Investing and Development for Southern California and Texas:
“Citi is proud to have joined the LA2050 community this year. At a time when our communities need the most support, it has been inspiring to learn about all of the great visions for Los Angeles in the future, but we know that so many need cash today. Citi has been a long supporter of financial security and empowerment. We have admired LIFT-LA's work for years, and we are proud to be able to support them with $25,000 this year via My LA2050.LIFT's actionable and goal-centered approach to providing financial empowerment services for their members is admirable. LIFT quickly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of the most vulnerable communities by getting much needed cash into the hands of its members in a manner that allows them to maintain their dignity and provides access to other needed services. Citi extends its thanks to all the applicants of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. We know that LA will be a much better place in 2050 as a result of the work you all do.”
The LIVE category represents our vision of an LA where all communities have the economic means and cultural capital to thrive. By the year 2050, we hope our region will have the nation's lowest poverty rate, and that all families will have access to healthy food, quality health care, safe housing, and a sustainable environment, no matter where they live or how much money they make.
Below, learn more about the five My LA2050 winners making LA the best place to LIVE.
$100,000 Winner: Clínica Msr. Oscar Romero provides quality, affordable, and culturally-sensitive health care and other services to underserved communities in Pico-Union/Westlake and Boyle Heights regardless of their ability to pay. The organization's My LA2050 project invests in expanding the clinic's telehealth capacity.
Clínica Msr. Romero is on the frontlines of providing care in neighborhoods with some of the highest COVID-19 numbers in our region. Check out this recent piece by ABC7 to learn more about their crucial work.
$50,000 Winner: Crop Swap LA is piloting the creation of a garden district in LA, installing seven income-producing gardens and rainwater harvesting systems at residential homes and employing formerly incarcerated individuals as gardeners.
In the absence of in-person swaps, Crop Swap LA continues to engage with novice and experienced urban farmers through digital meet-ups. Join the next one on September 5. And, for those with fruit trees, you can sign up to have volunteers harvest your extra fruit and share it with direct service partners!
$25,000 Winner: Jenesse Center, Inc. aims to restore families impacted by domestic and sexual violence through holistic, trauma-informed, culturally-responsive services, and advance prevention initiatives that foster and sustain healthy, violence-free communities.
Jenesse Center, Inc. was founded by five Black women in 1980 and is currently celebrating 40 years of providing domestic violence intervention and education services to the Los Angeles community. Learn more about their work here.
$15,000 Winner: Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) works toward the creation of a society where economic benefits and opportunities are equitably distributed, communities are stable, and workers and tenants have the same rights, stature, and power as corporations and property owners.
SAJE recently collaborated to build NoRent.org, a free tool to help tenants nationwide send a letter to their landlord notifying them of an inability to pay rent due to COVID-19. Check out the tool, and share it with those who might need it.
$10,000 Winner: Safe Parking LA's Neighbors for Home is a grassroots initiative that aims to mobilize residents to act around the problem of vehicular homelessness in their neighborhoods.
Did you know that more than 25 percent of LA County's homeless population is living in vehicles? Safe Parking LA supports individuals experiencing vehicular homelessness by providing a safe lot for overnight parking with access to a restroom and a security guard. Fill out this interest form to volunteer.
This year, we received 285 submissions to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. Now, these inspirational proposals — including our 25 amazing winners — have been added to our My LA2050 Ideas Archive. On the archive, Angelenos can browse all of the proposals from the past seven My LA2050 Grants Challenge cycles and learn more about each of the 1,200+ organizations that have submitted.
We created the Ideas Archive to serve as a resource for Angelenos looking for new volunteer opportunities, personal or professional inspiration, or causes to donate to. It archives the ideas of the past, and points to the solutions of the future.
You can search for results by issue area, geographic region, or proper nouns. On each organization's page, you'll find links to their website, social media pages, and a list of the proposals they've submitted to the challenge over the years. All pages for active nonprofit organizations include a donation form. Since the Ideas Archive allows users to see when organizations have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge over multiple years, it also tells the story of how their work has evolved in response to the real-time needs of Los Angeles.
Don't be afraid to spend an hour (or two) reading through the proposals from over the years and discovering more about the best and brightest in our region!
After verifying all 105,000+ votes, we're thrilled to announce this year's winners of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge! We were so impressed with all 25 finalists and their efforts to rally votes for their submissions. Thank you to each and every organization for participating and for working tirelessly to make LA the best place to learn, connect, play, live, and create.
The winners in the LEARN category are:
The winners in the CONNECT category are:
The winners in the PLAY category are:
The winners in the LIVE category are:
The winners in the CREATE category are:
We're excited to report that the 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge received more than 105,000 votes, cast by nearly 32,000 voters! This is a new record for us, surpassing last year's benchmark of 100,000 votes.
Voters in the grants challenge had the option to cast a vote for one proposal per goal category, for a total of five votes. For the second year in a row, we saw voters engaging with more categories; this year, voters cast an average of 3.3 of their allotted votes, up from 2.5 in the previous year.
Our 2020 voters represented 95 percent of Los Angeles County zip codes. The top ten neighborhoods with the most voters included:
Thank you so much to all who voted to make LA the best place to live, learn, play, create, and connect. We couldn't do this without you!
Make sure you're signed up for our newsletter to be the first to hear the announcement of our 2020 My LA2050 winners on July 27.
With LA's Future in Mind, My LA2050 Grants Challenge Finalists Charge Ahead Amid COVID-19
LOS ANGELES, July 13, 2020 – Today through July 20, 2020 Angelenos have the opportunity to direct $1,000,000 in funding to the social impact projects that will best help our region bounce back from COVID-19 and create a more prosperous future for all.
Amid this crisis, the 25 finalist organizations in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge offer solutions to today's most pressing problems and much-needed hope for our future—connecting youth and older adults stuck at home through intergenerational story-telling, offering services to vulnerable individuals experiencing vehicular homelessness, expanding telehealth access for low-income and uninsured community clinic patients, and more.
Anyone can go online now to challenge.la2050.org and vote for the five proposals that they would most like to see implemented. The top winning organizations will be awarded $100,000 from the Goldhirsh Foundation to bring their projects to life over this next year, with runners-up receiving smaller cash grants.
The My LA2050 Grants Challenge is an annual community-led effort to invest in projects that make Los Angeles the best place to live, learn, create, connect, and play. This year's challenge is especially urgent, as it opened when COVID-19 hit organizations with both an overwhelming demand for their services and new restrictions on their operations. Our 25 finalists, selected from a pool of 285 applicants, are powerful examples of the local organizations that face this crisis head-on and continue to provide for those in need with determination, ingenuity, and optimism.
Here are the finalists' inspiring proposals, up for vote now: