2018 Grants Challenge

Invest in Youth Coalition: Advocating for a Los Angeles that prioritizes young people

We demand an equitable strategy and coordinated approach to comprehensive youth development, led by a city department focused on creating prosperity for all of LA’s young people.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

The Invest in Youth Coalition will activate 100,000 Angelenos to advocate for our city’s young people, urging policymakers to prioritize youth outcomes by funding a Youth Development Department. This work includes getting approval to establish a task force, an initial investment from the city, with representation of community members and youth development practitioners on task force. All this leads to the creation of a blueprint for an equitable youth development strategy.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your activation impact?​

Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

Resilient communities

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

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

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Advocate for policy

Digital organizing or activism

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Increase participation in political processes

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

Over 800,000 youth between 10 to 24 years of age live in the City of Los Angeles. A majority of this population, 81% are youth of color, and creating opportunities for this population will help them reach their full potential and make the City more prepared for the future.

Opportunities for youth to engage as decision-makers and community leaders becomes a driving force in their likelihood of being publicly engaged and creates a life-long dedication to the wellbeing of their neighborhoods. Youth who have limited opportunities are at higher risk of developing personal, social, and behavioral problems. Youth who have access to civic engagement, educational opportunities, vocational programs, and health services have higher rates of psychological and emotional stability, positive self-esteem, and greater risk management capacities. Access to these programs and services makes it less likely for young people to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, crime and violence, and unsafe sex. Positive youth development has also been found to have a positive relationship to life satisfaction.

An emphasis on preventing risky behaviors, preparation for the workforce, after school services, and raising academic achievement are all increasing the demand for youth programs. Los Angeles faces significant challenges in this area since policymakers have not adequately funded and successfully coordinated effective services. In fact, LA is only spending $75 per youth, while San Francisco and New York are spending $1,909 and $541 apiece on their young people. The City’s current youth development effort is a piecemeal approach with multiple agencies managing various programs. We believe is it critical that one coordinating body be responsible for identifying strategies that increase positive outcomes and opportunities for young people.

Our activation will make LA the best place to live by demanding a greater investment in our city’s youth. This investment supports the healthy development of young people across various sectors, such as leadership development and workforce training, recognizes youth of color as one of our greatest assets in an increasingly globalized economy, and is a critical component of citywide efforts to combat poverty, reduce violence, and decrease homelessness.

The City of Los Angeles should recognize how critical young people are to its economy, culture, and civic discourse — both today and in the future. Nonetheless, the City minimally invests in programs that benefit youth. The future of our City depends on the next generation of young Angelenos becoming ready for the transition into the workforce and/or higher education. It is time to ensure that all youth have access to high-quality programs—no matter where they live—with public investment to support a Youth Development Department.

For Reference: Advancement Project Report:

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

We will engage nonprofits, community leaders, educators, parents, and youth to support this work in the following ways:

- Convening at community meetings and rallies

- Petition support

- Social media support

- Youth leadership committees that engage peers at school and within neighborhoods

- Direct actions, contacting local and government leaders via phone, email, text, and in-person

This is a city-wide activation with emphasis on where there is a high need and disproportionate investment in positive youth development opportunities and services. In addition to the five organizations collaborating on this activation, the Invest in Youth Coalition is already engaging 24 organizations in these areas.

The choice confronting City leadership is to finally recognize the importance of youth development. We are advocating for a strategic, adequately funded plan to promote youth development. We expect to get citywide support for our efforts -- and our partners will continue to be strong advocates — but we need more city residents to help us urge the City Council and Mayor to prioritize youth development moving forward.

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

Immediate success would include the following:

- The City should begin the process of creating a Youth Development Department by first establishing an independent commission that could provide lead thinking and relationship building that could eventually turn into a department.

- The Youth Development Commission should consist of community leaders, resident advocates, and youth themselves and would serve as the focal point within the City to review policies and coordinate funding for youth programs.

- An immediate down payment for current youth programs in the FY 2018-19 budget would play a key role in kick starting the conversation in City Hall. It will send a message of long-term strategy, accountability, and ownership.

The end goals of our activation include the following:

- Formalized Strategy for Youth Development

- Consolidation of Existing Programs

- Interagency Coordination

- Coordination of Local Government Partners

- Finalized Plan for Funding

To ensure success we will track the following:

- Number of organizational partners

- Geographic spread of partners

- Number of meetings, rallies, actions hosted

- Number of participants at in-person events

- Number of petition signers

- Number of social media followers

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

In five years we should see the implementation of a Youth Development Department in the City of Los Angeles, which is fully funded to be competitive with other major cities.