What will you do to
make LA the best place?

Apply to the 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge today! Submissions are open now through April 3, 2020.

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Make a New Year's Resolution That Makes A Difference

Posted January 10, 2020 by Team LA2050

This article first appeared in the LA2050 newsletter. Sign up here.

What will you commit to doing to make a difference in 2020?

Maybe you want to get more involved in social justice, social change, or making LA a better place.

Maybe you want to volunteer more.

Maybe this is the year you get a job that combines your love of working hard and doing good.

Maybe you'll make a commitment to being more civically engaged by getting involved in the Census.

Maybe you'll resolve to increase LA's voting outcomes by encouraging your friends and neighbors to understand the issues and voting in all local and national elections!

Whatever you want to accomplish this year, we are here for you.

Just let us know what YOU are going to do in 2020 and we will make sure to deliver information that helps you reach your goals. (We'll also help you stay on track with a friendly reminder here and there).

To get started, just pick a goal today:

Get involved with a local cause - Take the pledge to get more involved in 2020 and we'll send you volunteer opportunities, information about impactful organizations, and other ways to use your time and resources to support change in your community.

Be more civically engaged - We'll send you information about local elections, tips on how to get out the vote, and ways to become more civically active in LA―from making sure your community counts in the 2020 Census to participating in your neighborhood council.

Make a difference with your job - We'll send you the latest job opportunities, tips on applying, and ways to successfully integrate impact into any job.

Here's to an amazing 2020!

Making It in Social Impact with Kamy Akhavan

Posted January 3, 2020 by Amanda Liaw

We talked with Kamy Akhavan, Executive Director of the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, to learn about his experience working in social impact and to get his advice for those who might want to work in policy, politics, or the nonprofit sector.

Q: What motivated you to start your career in social impact?

A: I was born in the back seat of a taxi in Iran, moved to south Louisiana at age one, and ended up in Torrance, California for high school and UCLA for college. I lived in more than 20 places by the time I was 18 - from subsidized housing to a mobile home to hotels to big beautiful houses. My experience as a rootless immigrant taught me that people everywhere share human values that transcend our geography. I recognize that American democracy is precious, empowering, and inspiring to billions of people who long to enjoy freedom. My motivation to public service stems from wanting to relate to people on our shared values - what unites us versus what divides us.

Q: What do you do in your current position?

A: My job is to run a top-tier educational organization that trains people in practical politics and inspires them to be civically engaged and to bridge divides. On a day-to-day basis, I work to develop programs that let students interact with elected officials, political operatives, academics, activists, and other national leaders so they can gain experience challenging others respectfully while having their own views challenged. Participants learn about issues, elections, each other, and effective ways to communicate and get things done together. In our sadly divided times, these skills are especially important to the future of American democracy.

Q: What one skill or resource has been indispensable to your career thus far?

A: The skill of resilience has been indispensable. Resilience requires courage to ask tough questions and listen to, and even learn from, responses that can be offensive. Resilience requires vulnerability when expressing yourself honestly. Resilience requires strength when resisting bad influences or standing firm for your values. Building resilience comes from listening, critical thinking, humility, and developing your own moral and intellectual compass that guides you in all situations. The best way to learn resilience is to be uncomfortable then adjust.

If you're interested in learning more about his work, be sure to follow on Twitter: @kamyakhavan and @cpfpolfuture

Matching Your Generosity

Posted December 17, 2019 by Team LA2050

To celebrate the launch of our LA2050 Ideas Archive, The Goldhirsh Foundation is matching donations (up to $100 per donor) to any qualifying organization listed in our archive.

The LA2050 Ideas Archive highlights organizations that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge over the last six years. On the site, you'll find more than 1,000 organizations making an impact in Los Angeles. You can find new causes to support, browse the proposals they've submitted, and find links to their latest news.

Take a minute and browse, and if you get inspired to support an organization, we'd love to match your generosity. But hurry! This match expires on Friday, December 20th at noon or once $10,000 has been donated, so make sure you're one of the first!

Questions? Click here for our FAQ about this opportunity.

FAQs on Matching Donations on the LA2050 Ideas Archive (12/17 - 12/20)

Posted December 17, 2019 by Team LA2050

Why is this match being offered?

The Goldhirsh Foundation is grateful to all the organizations that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge for the last six years. This match is a way to recognize the passion and work of these organizations and their supporters. We hope this will help people support their favorite organizations and find new organizations to support.

How do I find an organization to give to for the LA2050 match?

Visit https://archive.la2050.org/ and search for an organization using keywords, organization name, or issues you care about like “homelessness," “parks," or “voting." You can also search for an organization by category (right under the search bar).

In the search results, select an organization to learn more. If the organization is a non-profit organization in good standing with the IRS, you'll find a donation form through which you can make a one-time or monthly donation to the organization. Donations are accepted by credit card only at this time.

How will my gift be matched?

Your gift will be processed by our partners at Pledgeling, and matching funds from the Goldhirsh Foundation will be added on a first-come, first-matched basis.

How much will be matched?

The Goldhirsh Foundation will match up to $100 in donations per person. The match will be turned off on Friday December 20 at noon, or once $10,000 in donations have been made. Check-in with @LA2050 on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for updates.

Can I donate to more than one organization?

Yes, please do! Matching funds will be applied to your gifts until you reach your limit of $100. (So, if you make a $40 gift to one organization, a $40 gift to another organization, and a $40 gift to a third organization, the Goldhirsh Foundation will match $40 for the first two gifts and $20 for the third gift).

Are matching funds available to organizations not listed in the LA2050 Ideas Archive?

No, only organizations listed in the LA2050 Ideas Archive are eligible for matching funds.

How does an organization get added to the LA2050 Ideas Archive?

Organizations are included in the LA2050 Ideas Archive if they have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. The next open call for applications will be in February 2020. Sign up here to be notified about the next challenge.

If I donate on the organization's website, will it still be matched?

No, only donations made via the LA2050 Ideas Archive site will be matched.

I found an organization in the Ideas Archive, but I don't see a donation form.

At this point, we are only able to facilitate donations to 501c3 non-profit organizations that are in good standing with the IRS. If you don't see a donation form on the page, it could be for the following reasons:

  1. The organization is a government, for-profit, or 501c4 organization. At this time, we do not have a way to make donations via website and Pledgeling to these types of organizations. But feel free to contact the organization directly to donate.
  2. The organization has gone out of business or merged with another organization.
  3. We do not have complete data for the organization and are not able to facilitate a donation at this time.

How do I know my donation was received?

You will receive an email confirmation from Pledgeling within a few minutes of donating. Please review this email and make sure everything looks good. Please contact Pledgeling for any changes or help with your donation.

​'Tis The Season to Have Fun and Do Good

Posted December 9, 2019 by Team LA2050

A list of free and affordable events in LA December 12th - 31st

This December, spend time with your friends and family while supporting local organizations. Most events are accessible by public transportation as well. Happy holidays, everyone!

  • The Last Bookstore presents a solo acoustic set by Justin Remer, a fixture of their store staff, on December 12 (8 pm). You'll get a chance to hear songs from his new album “Dream Journal”, as well as some holiday tunes! Learn more about the event here.

Location: 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Getting there: Less than 5-min walk from Pershing Square Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)

  • The Los Angeles Audubon Society is hosting its Malibu Christmas Bird Count on December 15 (8 am-12 pm). Join them on what is historically their best-attended count! Find out how to attend here.

Location: TBD

  • The Hammer Museum will be screening the classic holiday movie “Elf” on December 15 (11 am). Directed by Jon Favreau, this movie about a man who was raised as an elf and discovers he's actually human is a yearly rewatching for many. Get more information on the event here.

Location: 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Getting there: Buses 8 or R12 from Westwood/Rancho Station (Metro Expo Line). Closest bus stops are also serviced by lines 6, 6R, 234, 602, 734, and 788

  • The California African Art Museum will be hosting its CAAM Makers Fest on December 15 (1 pm -3 pm). Angelenos of every age will get the chance to learn from local artists in workshops that range from creating music shakers with recycled materials to embellishing clothes with retro cartoons. RSVP here.

Location: 600 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Getting there: Less than 10-min walk from Expo Park/USC Station (Metro Expo Line)

  • TreePeople is inviting Angelenos to join them on a guided moonlight hike on December 20 (7:30 pm - 8:30 pm). Arrive early to enjoy some live music while the sun sets before exploring Coldwater Canyon Park at night. Sign up here ($5 for non-members).

Location: 12601 Mulholland Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Getting there: Hike, bike or carpool from the closest bus stops, which are serviced by lines 150, 240, 750, and 218

  • The Music Center is throwing Los Angeles' largest multicultural holiday celebration on December 24 (3-6 pm). This live production will feature instrumental music, choral music, and dance performances by various diverse artists and community groups in Los Angeles. Find out how to attend or where to watch their broadcast here.

Location: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Getting there: 5-min walk from Civic Center/Grand Park Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)

  • The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is putting on one of their most requested shows “Holiday on Strings” through January 5. Celebrate this December tradition by joining the Wizard of Fantasy and his sidekick on a magical tour of the holiday galaxies! Check out their showtimes and purchase your $20 ticket here.

Location: 4949 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Getting there: Closest bus stops are serviced by lines 83 and DASH Highland Park/Eagle Rock

  • Grand Park, in conjunction with The Music Center, will be throwing a New Year's Eve Countdown starting at 8pm on December 31. Party the decade away with live music, food trucks, art installations, and an interactive countdown that will be 3D mapped on City Hall! Learn more about the event here.

Location: 200 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Getting there: Civic Center/Grand Park Station (Metro Red/Purple Line), or less than 15-min walk from Pershing Square Station (Metro Red/Purple Line)

Shop LA's Best Gifts for Good!

Posted November 22, 2019 by Team LA2050

The LA2050 Gift Guide features some of our favorite local products from organizations that make an impact. When you shop - you do good: The organizations behind these products provide work for those transitioning out of homelessness and gang involvement, encourage creativity in young students, promote nature conservation and education, and fight against food insecurity. Happy shopping!

LA Original x The Giving Keys Keychain ($28)

The Giving Keys is an LA-based social enterprise that provides living-wage jobs for individuals transitioning out of homelessness.

NHM's Wild LA book ($24.95)

Equal parts nature guide and trip planner, the Natural History Museum's Wild LA unveils the hidden nature in every park and canyon—and even your own neighborhood.

Membership to the LA Zoo ($60)

Founded in 1966, The Los Angeles Zoo is home to more than 1,400 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles representing more than 270 different species and even 58 species that are endangered.

Food Forward Reusable Bamboo Utensils ($21)

Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need and inspiring others to do the same.

CicLAvia "Squirrel on a Skateboard" Tee ($20)

CicLAvia catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation and good health through car-free street events.

Two Bit Circus Foundation Space Rocket Build Kit ($20) / Two Bit Circus Playing Card ($30)

The Two Bit Circus Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization designed to cultivate the next generation of inventors, advance environmental stewardship, and spur community engagement.

Homegirl Cafe Shopping Tote ($20)

Homeboy Industries has provided hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and recently incarcerated men and women. All proceeds from its social enterprises, including Homegirl Cafe, benefit the nonprofit's comprehensive wraparound programming.

826LA Author Mug ($14.99)

826LA sells unique products in its Time Travel Mart to support its work encouraging students ages six to 18 to develop their creative and expository writing skills.

Made by DWC Candle Flights ($24)

MADE by DWC is a social enterprise operated by the Downtown Women's Center that provides job training and employment for women transitioning out of homelessness.

LA Original Pocket Square ($35) / LA Original Patches ($10)

LA Original, a pilot program of the Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles and the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, was developed to celebrate LA as the creative capital of the world.

SEE-LA Farmers Market Pin ($15)

SEE-LA operates local farmers' markets, encourages sustainable food systems, and promotes activities that both benefit low-to-moderate individuals and support small businesses.

LACMA: An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles ($45)

First published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1965, the sixth edition of An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles now contains ninety-six sections organized in thirteen geographic chapters, boasting over 200 new additions to its thousands of entries.

Griffith Observatory Planetarium Tickets ($3-7)

Griffith Observatory is a regional landmark and global leader in public astronomy. Since it opened in 1935, more people have looked through Griffith Observatory's telescope than any other telescope on Earth.

11 Hunger and Homelessness Organizations in Los Angeles

Posted November 18, 2019 by Amanda Liaw

It's National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an event started at Villanova University 44 years ago and today sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. This event is held the week before Thanksgiving and used to draw public attention to the issue of poverty and encourage people to donate their time, attention, and resources to others.

In this spirit, here are 11 organizations working to combat hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles, and how you can get involved:

  1. LIFT-Los Angeles works to empower families to break the cycle of poverty through one-on-one career and financial coaching. You can get involved by being a volunteer, donating or attending an event.
  2. Venice Community Housing is a solutions-based community organization that provides low-income and permanent supportive housing, youth programming, as well as resident and homeless services to those in need in Venice, which has long been a highly diverse community. They're currently looking for donations and volunteers for their annual Thanksgiving feast.
  3. Proyecto Jardin promotes awareness of the indigenous roots of sustainable agriculture and aims to build a grassroots movement for community food sovereignty that will create an equitable and sustainable regional food system. You can compost with them every Wednesday evening, or sign up to volunteer with their parent organization, Hunger Action Los Angeles.
  4. United Way's Everyone In is a community movement that aims to keep Los Angeles on track to ending its homelessness and housing crisis through building public and political will across the county for affordable and supportive housing. They regularly conduct training and storytelling sessions in various neighborhoods to open discussions on humanizing homelessness.
  5. Downtown Women's Center is the only organization in Los Angeles that focuses exclusively on serving and empowering women who are either formerly homeless or currently experiencing homelessness through offering permanent supportive housing, workforce development, and health programs. They're looking for both individual and group volunteers to assist with their center.
  6. Covenant House California is a youth homeless shelter that provides support for homeless and trafficked youth aged 18-24. You can sign up to volunteer with them, attend their upcoming Thanksgiving dinners, download their flyer on how to help homeless youth in your area, or apply to join their Associate Board for Young Professionals.
  7. World Harvest is a food bank that partners with food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and youth after-school programs to distribute high-quality food to underserved communities, thereby reducing food waste and eliminating hunger. They're looking for both individual and group volunteers.
  8. Union Rescue Mission is a faith-based organization that provides comprehensive care for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness through continuous emergency shelter services, transitional and permanent supportive housing, free health and legal-aid services, an educational center, and more. Beyond volunteering, you can donate to or shop at their thrift store, participate in an Urban Experience, distribute Outreach Kits, and more.
  9. Rise, Inc. is a student-led organization working to end student hunger and homelessness in Los Angeles by empowering student advocates to test, iterate, and scale various strategies. They're currently accepting applications for their LA2050 Student Organizing Fellowship.
  10. The Midnight Mission offers men, women, and children experiencing homelessness paths to self-sufficiency through recovery services, counseling, education, training, workforce development, and continued care services. They're looking for volunteers to help with meal service in their kitchen, making food boxes and hygiene kits, and more. Large groups can assist with distributing food bags and donated clothing at their Thanksgiving meal.
  11. Chrysalis is a social enterprise that provides homeless and low-income individuals with the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. You can sign up to participate in their Thanksgiving 5k, join their Kaleidoscope Giving Circle, or volunteer to assist their clients with overcoming barriers to employment.

Supporting Veterans in Our Community

Posted November 12, 2019 by Amanda Liaw

Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I, is meant to honor those who have served the country and to thank living veterans for their sacrifices. We want to celebrate the day by highlighting organizations that support and empower veterans that have applied to the My LA2050 Grants Challenge. Take a look and find an organization you'd be interested in supporting!

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) connects, unites, and empowers over 3,700 veteran members and 10,400 civilians living in Los Angeles. Founded in 2004 by an Iraq veteran, IAVA is a leader in advocacy, public awareness, and 1-on-1 case management support.
  • Community Veteran Justice Project helps veterans navigating pending criminal cases obtain alternative sentencing and diversion, and sets them up with mental health treatment and other essential services.
  • Team Rubicon helps veterans transition from military to civilian life by pairing them with first responders and medical professionals to provide disaster relief, among other leadership development opportunities.
  • Operation Reboot is a community-led initiative designed to transition veterans from military service to civilian life through a cohort-based program that builds the necessary emotional, social, psychological, and professional skills.
  • U.S. Vets supports veterans struggling with homelessness through providing counseling, employment assistance, and both transitional and permanent housing.

Take Action, LA!

Posted October 28, 2019 by Team LA2050

Feeling inspired by the projects in the 2019 My LA2050 Grants Challenge Report? Every person has the power to make a difference. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Sign up for the LA2050 newsletter: Twice a month we send updates from grantees and partners, job listings, local events, and more to keep you up-to-date on opportunities to get involved. Sign up here.

2. Volunteer: Consider donating your time or skills to support a local organization or nonprofit that is working on a particular topic or cause that you are passionate about. Get started by checking out these volunteer opportunities from LA2050 grantees.

3. Replicate a great idea: Did you see a project that made you think “we need this"? Take inspiration from one of the projects from this year's grants challenge or browse the LA2050 Ideas Archive with more than six years of proposals from amazing organizations. Pick one that inspires you, and reach out to the organization to see how you can help bring the project to life for your community.

4. Collaborate and partner: Look for opportunities to engage with local organizations, nonprofits, and businesses that are working on social causes directly related to your industry. If you're looking for ideas, take a look at our metrics to identify where you can make progress toward each goal.

5. Make impact locally: Consider everything you do an opportunity to make an impact! Take small steps every day that can have a major impact in the long run, such as supporting your local farmer's market, purchasing sustainable products, participating in the census, or getting involved with your local neighborhood council. Use your voice, strategize and organize around a particular issue that matters to you, such as improving access to healthy foods, reducing homelessness, or reducing your carbon footprint.

6. Start conversations: Some of the biggest social change movements start with a simple question. Start conversations with your friends, family, and co-workers about things you learned from these proposals or trends from this grants challenge. From educating your neighbors, coworkers, and friends about the U.S. census to bringing a “pop-up" or mobile experience to your community to using trends for academic research and school projects related to social impact, everything can spark change.

Report on the 2019 My LA2050 Grants Challenge

Posted October 14, 2019 by Team LA2050

This report highlights the trends we observed in the 2019 My LA2050 grants challenge and looks at how local leaders, nonprofits, volunteers, government entities, and businesses are working together to make Los Angeles a better place for all. (For a pdf version, click here).

Keep up with LA2050