2018 Grants Challenge

Hacker Fund Civic Innovation Center

Idea by Hacker Fund

Hacker Fund is launching a Civic Innovation Center in order to provide Angelenos with resources for technology education, tools to prototype civic innovations, and a community workspace.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Hacker Fund is building a Civic Innovation Center in order to provide Angelenos with technology education, tools to prototype and develop new civic innovations, and a collaborative workspace to activate a trans-generational community.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your activation impact?​

Jobs per capita

Manufacturing activity

Patents per capita

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

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

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Digital organizing or activism

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Increase donations to organizations and causes

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CREATE?​

In order to create a better Los Angeles and activate 100,000 Angelenos by 2050, Hacker Fund is launching a Civic Innovation Center (CIC) in Downtown Los Angeles. The CIC will make Los Angeles the best place to CREATE by offering to the general public state-of-the-art prototyping tools, vocational education and job-training, a framework to receive funding to patent innovations, and exposure to hackathons that bring thousands of community members together.

Our first CIC will occupy up to 5,000 square feet for the purpose of managing a makerspace, mixed-reality lab, a classroom, private offices, and collaborative event space. The first CIC is set to open in Q2 of 2019. Membership will be sold to the general public at discounted rate of $200-$250 per month. The CIC will be able to house on average 100 people throughout the day as it operates from 8:30AM to 10:30 PM, with the first 6 hours dedicated to collaborative coworking and manufacturing activity, and then using the next 8 hours to optimize for educational workshops, job fairs, and hackathons to serve up to approximately 250 members of the public.

Members of the CIC will be able to learn design, software engineering, hardware development, data science, and rapid-prototyping from industry mentors from Hacker Fund’s existing network of 250+ technology volunteers, including professionals from SpaceX, IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. The availability of 3D printers, laser-cutters, and soldering tools will make manufacturing more accessible thanks to our corporate sponsors. The use of this new knowledge through tools and mentorship will allow members to develop civic innovations that increase the number of potential patents per capita in Los Angeles. Once members develop their prototypes, they will be able to access Hacker Fund’s fiscal sponsorship services in order to raise additional funding for additional manufacturing and hiring employees. The increase in social impact projects developed by Angelenos will also increase the availability of volunteer opportunities and jobs per capita.

The CIC will be funded through a combination of grant funding (including LA2050 and $50,000 that we have already received from the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund), membership fees, corporate sponsorship, and in-kind donations.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CREATE​

Hacker Fund's Civic Innovation Center (CIC) intends to engage community members from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, as well as mixed age groups. Angelenos will have access to a 5,000 square foot multipurpose hub containing a maker-space, co-working space, classroom, private offices, and a mixed reality lab. With the center open from 8:30AM to 10:30 PM, the first 6 hours of the day would be used for manufacturing and heavy duty creation. For the next 8 hours, the space is opened up as an educational space for youths, students, and learners of all ages. Educational opportunities would include workshops in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Makerspaces and similar hardware spaces have historically had problems with accessibility. We intend to position our space in a location that makes the space easily accessible to communities that otherwise would not have access to the tools and educational resources we provide, as well as partner with K12 schools, local universities, community colleges, and trade schools. By helping those in our community become creators, and giving them the the resources to develop skills relevant in a constantly modernizing society, we create a ladder of engagement that leads to positive multigenerational change. Students become creators; creators become instructors, entrepreneurs, and valuable contributing community members.

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

The success of the Civic Innovation (CIC) is defined by the success of our ladder of engagement, with the main goal being to create a lasting positive multigenerational change in Los Angeles where community members feel empowered to create, learn, and give back. This would be measured by number of technology innovations prototyped, the number of active members per month and per quarter, and then the number of students that become educators and contributors to the center. Data will be collected on the amount of students reached, as well as the conversion from member to creator, instructors, entrepreneur, and patent holder.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years, we hope to have a Civic Innovation Center in each city council district in Los Angeles, allowing us to activate more than 100,000 Angelenos.