2016 Grants Challenge

Co/Lab (Co/Llaboration): Resident-Driven, Co-Created, Social Change

Co/Lab will empower 10,000 Angelenos to co-create social impact innovations that improve civic engagement & social connection; putting the power of social change back into the hands of residents.


Please describe your project proposal.

Co/Lab is an innovative response to the prevalence of top-down, institutionally-led social service programs.

As the first initiative of its kind in LA County, & perhaps the country, Co/Lab is designed to put power back into the hands of residents. By leveraging SBCC’s capacity to mobilize Relationship-Based Organizing strategies, Co/Lab will empower residents to work alongside institutions to create & implement a county-wide projects mirroring the success of SBCC’s CFSK & iHeart Models.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your proposal impact?​

Social & emotional support

Cultural events

Public/open streets gatherings

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs

Participation in neighborhood councils

Rates of volunteerism

Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

Voting rates

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

South Bay

Gateway Cities

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles


Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to CONNECT?

Low-income LA County residents are marginalized by top-down, “expert” consultants & institutionally-led programs. Traditional approaches to social services do not authentically connect & engage residents. Social service experts, practitioners and institutions design services & programs without the voices or lived experiences of real people. Evidence-based, best-practice models designed by people who do not live in the neighborhood lead to ineffective programs & services. Honoring the gifts, talents & capacity of residents allows them to be active agents of change.

The problem of resident disempowerment & disengagement is widely recognized & there have been a number of attempts to solve it. However, existing initiatives to engage residents consists of focus groups or token representation on a variety of committees.

The solution: go connect directly with residents & co-create programs, strategies & initiatives that are resident-led. SBCC will achieve the goal of authentic resident participation through three strategies: Relationship-Based Community Organizing, Resident Co-creation & Resident-Driven Civic Engagement.

The first strategy is Relationship-Based Organizing (RBO). RBO’s approach is rooted in an asset-based perspective, focused on harnessing the skills & talents of residents. 10,000 residents have participated in neighborhood groups. This strategy includes SBCC’s network of Neighborhood Action Councils & Community Connection Groups— which connect residents through their talents, passions & the implementation of neighborhood projects. These social networks form the foundation for the other two strategies SBCC will utilize.

The second strategy is Resident Co-creation. Co-creation is an emerging approach to social innovation built on the Human Centered Design (HCD) movement built on the core value that the end user of any product, service or system should be empowered to create effective solutions. Co-creation in the social sector takes these core principles further and brings the best practices of HCD—end user research, systems, ideation and prototyping—directly to residents, empowering them to create solutions that reflect their lived reality.

The third strategy is Resident-Driven Civic Engagement. This strategy empowers community residents to act in ways that address social issues in their neighborhoods such as public safety, voter registration & neighborhood revitalization. This strategy allows residents to hold local officials and institutions accountable. In practice, this strategy is the neighborhood-based iHeart campaigns currently deployed across Los Angeles County in : Wilmington, Carson, Hawthorne, the Antelope Valley, Compton, East LA, Watts, & San Fernando Valley.

In mobilizing these 3 strategies, Co/Lab will empower Angelenos across the county to be effective change agents. By placing Angelenos at the center of the solution design process, Co/Lab’s approach will make LA a premier place to connect & live.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

SBCC is partnered with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for evaluation, utilizing a tool known as the Protective Factors Survey. This tool measure gains in social and emotional support. SBCC will measure success utilizing the metrics set forth by LA2050’s Connect. They are:

Government responsiveness to Residents’ Needs

Co/Lab will be able to measure and convene both online and in-person forums to connect local political representatives with residents convening dialogues on neighborhood issues. We will be able to measure connection through participation and engagement in these dialogues.

Rates of Volunteerism

This metric will be measured through participation in NAC, CFSK and iHeart projects (i.e. cleanup events, senior center visits and tutoring/mentoring) and CFSK project.

Social Media Friends and Connections

This metric will be measured utilizing Facebook and Twitter analytics that allow SBCC to monitor and track gains in connections (i.e. friends/followers) across LA County. Connections will also be measured through tracking engagement on the CFSK and SBCC’s website. We will also administer surveys online to track participants connection to their neighbors, resources and elected officials.

Voting Rates

This metric will be measured through number of voter registration forms iHeart volunteers collect during voter registration drives.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?




Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support