Like many Angelenos, we couldn't be happier that a conversation about Los Angeles (and all the exciting change going on here!) was given a national spotlight at the first-ever South by South Lawn (SXSL) festival, hosted at the White House on Monday, October 3.
Inspired by the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival, the White House's version brought together leaders, artists, activists and innovators to celebrate people making positive change. SXSL was also a call to action, an opportunity for changemakers to share best practices and inspire even more engagement around issues ranging from sustainable food to social entrepreneurship to climate change (and more!).
And guess which city was spotlighted as an exciting place for innovation? Of course, LA!
The panel discussion, entitled “ LA: A Case Study in Innovation," was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times food critic, Jonathan Gold. He led a conversation about how LA is changing (for the better!), what this looks like across sectors, technology's role and the lessons to be learned from it all. Panelists included:
Here are our favorite moments from the conversation:
“When we were first starting [URBAN Teens Exploring Technology] and told people 'we're ending the school to prison pipeline,' not only did corporations, but foundations, like the Riordan Foundation, jump on board, or the Durfee Foundation, or LA2050 jumped on board and said 'let's help this cause. It's important that LA has a good workforce in the future.' So I think that collaboration — again — that is coming from all sectors and is helping understand that there's talent in South LA, there's talent all over Los Angeles whether it's in the valley or downtown, we're willing to nurture that talent, we're willing to bring up and foster that talent as a community in LA."
You can watch the full video of the panel below. Enjoy!
As winner of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge to make Los Angeles the Best Place to Play, Grand Park - the Park for Everyone in Downtown Los Angeles - was thrilled to recently unveil Paper Airplanes, a remarkable installation that is both public art and practical infrastructure, providing whimsy and excitement as well as some very necessary shade to park visitors young and old.
This spectacular new shade structure was designed by local artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff, and engineered and manufactured by Canvas Specialty in East Los Angeles. The eleven planes were constructed of translucent, heat-resistant fabric in a building process that took six months from concept to installation.
Each plane represents one incorporated city in LA County and together the planes represent all 88 incorporated cities.
After successfully marshalling Angelenos to support the shade project by voting for Grand Park in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, Grand Park continued its public-spiritedness by holding a design contest for the shade structure itself. Local artists submitted more than 50 design concepts suited to the space and reflective of the spirit of Grand Park and the diverse communities that frequent it.
There were so many amazing submissions that appealed to the Grand Park executive committee – but once again public input was prioritized to determine the winning design. An online campaign was launched to encourage the public to vote for one of three top designs selected by the committee after in-depth personal interviews with the artists. Grand Park staff even canvassed the park during lunchtime to engage the public in conversations about the final design options. Public participation soared with nearly 4,000 responses in less than two weeks to the big question: L.A., which do you LOVE?
The three final designs each reflected a unique characteristic of Grand Park but in the end, the online public voting campaign crowned Paper Airplanes the undisputed winner. Paper Airplanes captures the free spirit and playfulness of Grand Park, soaring over Olive Court and bringing much needed shade and delight to everyone who visits to play, enjoy quiet green spaces, and attend free events in DTLA.
One of the major goals at Grand Park is to create a sense of community by truly engaging the public. By sparking the public's participation in helping Grand Park win the My LA2050 grant and then again in the final design selection, the park met an important milestone in the continuing mission to make Grand Park the Park for Everyone. And with the comforting shade the planes provide, visitors agree that Grand Park is cooler than ever!
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is utilizing the My LA2050 grant to expand the groundbreaking Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), the premier veterans-support program in America, to Los Angeles.
As the first and largest veterans empowerment organization with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership, IAVA has redefined case management and created a new standard for high-tech, high-touch support that is serving thousands of veterans and their families while showing countless community-support organizations a new way to serve their clients with life-saving programs at scale.
IAVA's unique support model has veterans working with social workers online or via phone to address a wide variety of transition related needs, from housing, to financial, legal, health and everything in between. By simply calling the RRRP toll free number or reaching out online, a veteran is connected with a Veteran Transition Manager (VTM), who does a complete and thorough assessment of all of the veteran's needs and makes personalized referrals to local and national service providers. No appointment is necessary and there are no awkward waiting rooms, and a case isn't closed until the veteran decides that the needed resources have been obtained or that assistance is no longer needed.
With the RRRP team focusing on the critical work of connecting veterans with needed services, IAVA also pursues a broader, more comprehensive strategy for veteran support that includes prevention and early intervention. Veterans who take advantage of IAVA's support are invited to continue their involvement as Member Ambassadors to help promote the program to other veterans. With the support of the Field Team as well as these Ambassadors, IAVA is able to reach veterans where they live and work. Through regular community social events and outreach (called VetTogethers), veterans are connected with each other to help build a sense of community and camaraderie and share resources. Often, it is fellow veterans who provide the push needed, removing the stigma many veterans feel about seeking help.
Through these efforts, hundreds of veterans and supporters received information about RRRP and, thus far, 45 have been taken on as clients with 24 referrals made to support programs. Currently, five veterans are in the process of being trained to serve as local Ambassadors. Additionally, IAVA has developed key partnerships with five local service providers – nearly to the goal of six - and has held four Ambassador outreach events.
Moving forward RRRP now has a California-based VTM who, in addition to serving California RRRP clients, will be developing and strengthening partnerships in the California veterans' community and conducting regular outreach events to inform veterans and supporters about IAVA and RRRP. Additionally, an LA-wide member survey is under development to help identify new potential Ambassadors who can be trained online with the support of other peer mentors.
To learn more about the RRRP program and see IAVA's work in action check out this incredible piece from Yahoo News.
For more than thirty years, CASA of Los Angeles has been providing highly trained volunteer court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) to aid abused and neglected foster youth, forever transforming their lives for the better.
What exactly does a CASA do? A CASA is assigned by a Dependency Court judge to an at-risk child and investigates the child's home life, identifying educational, physical and mental health challenges, and meeting with all the adults in the child's life, including parents, teachers, lawyers and social workers. The CASA then makes recommendations to the judge – offering suggestions for ensuring the child's safety, achieving permanency and promoting the child's well-being. The CASA also supports the child over the long-term on a personal basis, as a stable adult who cares about the child without being paid to do so.
It takes a special person to be a CASA. Because it requires such a significant commitment of time, experience, resources, and energy, recruitment efforts require strong marketing to further brand and advertise CASA/LA as an important volunteer experience for community members. Through the My LA2050 grant, CASA was able to:
The My LA2050 grant also provided CASA/LA a new level of exposure that greatly aided in recruiting more volunteers. Since the beginning of the grant, CASA has significantly increased the number of volunteer inquiries received, the number of people attending information sessions each month, and the number of viable applicants. The organization is currently on track to recruit and train 250 new CASAs by the end of 2016! In addition, CASA has been able to increasingly recruit from populations which best reflect the children served, including the Spanish-speaking, Latino, and African-American communities, as well as engaging more men and volunteers from a wider array of professions and age groups.
Through the My LA2050 grant, CASA of Los Angeles is building its capacity and working to transform the lives of our community's most vulnerable citizens: abused and neglected children in the foster care system.
To volunteer or learn more about CASA of Los Angeles' work, visit casala.org
We're celebrating the start of summer in LA with a new series of playlists featuring Los Angeles as our muse. These songs are from LA-based artists, feature LA as a character, or inspire West Coast feels.
" El Lay" - Snoop Dogg feat. Marty James
" California Dreamin'" - The Mamas & The Papas
" Compton" - Kendrick Lamar feat. Dr. Dre
" It Was a Good Day" - Ice Cube
" City of Angels" - Ozomatli
" A Los Cuatro Vientos - to the Four Winds" - Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano
" We Belong Together" - Los Lobos
" Shangri-La" - YACHT
" Falling" - HAIM
" California Girls" - The Beach Boys
" West Coast" - Lana Del Rey
" Sunset People" - Donna Summers
" Nissim" - The Gaslamp Killer
" Free Fallin'" - Tom Petty
The My LA2050 Grants Challenge has exceeded our greatest expectations. Angelenos have helped surface hundreds of creative and innovative ideas to make Los Angeles a thriving metropolis.
Feedback is important to us at LA2050. And we're making some improvements to the grants challenge, thanks to suggestions from Angelenos like you!
So, what's changing?
1. Applicants can submit proposals for three different grant amounts. You can submit an application for a grant of $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000.
We're still giving out $1 million. This change just means that we can level the playing field and potentially support more ideas. Applying for one amount or another doesn't necessarily improve your chances. This change is aimed at giving smaller pilot projects a chance to compete for a grant
2. We're switching platforms. After a few great years working with GOOD Maker, we're switching to a new platform powered by Skild. We're in build out phase now but there are exciting improvements to the application and voting processes to come.
3. You'll be able to leverage your application by providing an opportunity for the public to donate to your idea or volunteer for your organization.
We're adding easy activation buttons to the publicly viewable submissions to help you engage Angelenos interested in your idea.
4. Voting will last one week and will begin on October 18th.
5. We're getting ready to celebrate your great ideas even sooner. Save the date for #CelebrateLA. This year's public celebration of LA changemakers will take place on October 18th, aligned with the opening of the public voting period.
We're looking forward to your great ideas! Don't forget to attend #LA2050Collaborates to workshop your ideas with other LA social innovators.
- Team LA2050
June 7th is just around the corner and we have the deets on four ways you can #PartyatthePolls
RENT Poet & Melrose Poetry Bureau are bringing poets to your local polling station to write personalized poetry on typewriters in English and Spanish for voters waiting in line. Their goal is to engage the public in the generative, creative process we all know politics can be! Check out #PoetsatthePolls and their #WritetoVote social media campaign.
Venice Arts will serve not only as a polling place for the California Primary Elections on June 7th, they will also be hosting a professionally run photo booth to capture the many different reasons people vote. #VeniceVotes will not only be Venice Arts' first interactive photo booth project, but will become a living album of portraits that speaks to the uniqueness of Venice and the vital importance of civic engagement. Show Venice Arts why #VeniceVotes.
The Unique Space wants you to participate in local elections and is throwing a giant block party on election night to celebrate. After hitting the polls, head over to their space where they'll transform their 5,000 square foot parking lot into an outdoor block party with FREE food, drinks, a DJ, photo booth, games and interactive art installations. Don't forget to wear your “I Voted" sticker to be entered into really great contests, and the first 200 people through the doors get a bag full of swag! RSVP here.
Celebrate Election Day with KPCC's #WhyIVoted party. Bring your "I voted" sticker and join the KPCC In Person team at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate your decision to vote in the election and, we hope, encouraging others to do the same. RSVPs not required but let KPCC know if you can make it here.
Three weeks ago, we asked Angelenos for event ideas to improve voter engagement and turnout in the upcoming primary election. Today, we are excited to announce that eight proposals will receive $3,500 apiece to pilot events between May 17th and June 7th.
These proposals represent a sample of the truly creative voter engagement ideas we received, ranging from using comedy to communicate about elections to conducting direct outreach to first-time voters and immigrants to encourage them to head to their polling locations. In all, these #PartyatthePolls events will spark conversation about civic engagement among thousands of members of our Los Angeles community.
We can't wait to report back on these events, so please stay tuned. You are also welcome to join the events where noted. Be sure to follow these and other great voter engagement activities all across Los Angeles using #PartyatthePolls. And, don't forget to vote! For information about voting in LA County, visit www.lavote.net.
* indicates a public event. Feel free to join!
Together with the Angeleno community, we have outlined a goal to make Los Angeles the best place to connect and to make our region one where every resident is empowered to contribute to our civic processes. Los Angeles can be made better if all Angelenos are enabled and encouraged to use the power of their civic voice to create change in their community.
However, we know that voter participation as a measure of civic engagement has hit historic lows in LA, and the voter population is not representative of the diversity of the region. But you can help change that.
Are there barriers to voting in your community that you can help overcome? Can you help improve outreach and increase awareness of the election in your neighborhood? Or do you have a fun idea to encourage civic engagement that you're excited to test?
Apply for a $3,500 grant to host a #PartyatthePolls event that will promote voter engagement in the upcoming June 7th primary election. The application and additional details can be found here.
The events should be participatory and engaging, but the format and design are completely up to you. From pop-up parties at polling places to providing child care for families waiting in voting lines, the possibilities are endless.
Applications open on April 26th at 9:00 am and are due by midnight Pacific Time on May 10th. Email us at [email protected] with any questions.
Join LA2050 and the California Community Foundation for a twitter party about how we can come together to build the LA of our dreams. Follow #LAtogether on Feb 24th at 1pm to participate! Not sure how to join a twitter party? Check out our handy Twitter party guide--we've got you covered.