2020 Grants Challenge

Blue Sky LA

Angelenos are tired of breathing in the worst air in the nation. Blue Sky LA is an air quality improvement program fueled by volunteer projects that result in cleaner air for our County by the 2028 Olympics. Leading residents CONNECT through monthly volunteer opportunities, tracking the number of people participating in each event, and quantifying reductions in harmful emissions, Blue Sky LA will engage residents, promote collaboration, and establish LA County as the global leader in reducing air pollution so Angelenos may breathe easier.


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

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

California State University Northridge

Climate Cents

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

BREATHE LA will collaborate with both California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Climate Cents on this project. CSUN will provide students who will help to plan, implement, and evaluate volunteer-based community activities that reduce community air pollution. Climate Cents will help to build and maintain a digital platform to track volunteers and air quality improvement progress.

BREATHE LA also works regularly with 250 community partners. These organizations include schools, parent organizations, senior citizen groups and faith-based groups. We use our community partner database to identify which organizations align with our projects based on the specific needs or a population or geography. These relationships will be used to recruit volunteers for our Blue Sky LA events.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Blue Sky LA addresses a startling statistic facing residents of Southern California: more than 10 million people in Los Angeles County breathe in harmful air pollution. Eighty-eight percent is from transportation-related sources. Exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections, aggravated asthma, COPD, bronchitis, lung cancer, and kidney failure. It has also been linked to decreased cognitive function, depression, anxiety, weaker bones, impacts on children in utero, decreased fertility in men, and premature death.

Los Angeles is known for our diversity, our welcoming communities, and our sunshine. Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint will serve as a model for the world as we prepare to host the 2028 Summer Olympics and Para Olympics. Let’s CONNECT Angelenos to improve our environment and lung health.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

BREATHE LA educates underserved populations across Southern California about lung and environmental health. In 2019, we reached 11,000+ students at 100+ school sites with our after-school programs; provided asthma and vaping prevention programs to 1,300+ families; lung health screenings and support for nearly 1,000 adults; and provided educational sessions about air quality, access to clean technology and improved environmental sustainability to 5,000+ people.

Each member of our 19 person staff has a story to share about why they are passionate about clean air and healthy lungs. Marc Carrel, our President and CEO, gets his inspiration from his three active daughters who have asthma. He knows how air pollution can trigger asthma attacks on bad air days and each day he comes to work joined by staff committed to developing more ways to advance lung health research, create innovative programs to improve air quality, and advocate for equitable reduction in exposure to pollution.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 1,200

Indirect Impact: 10,000,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

BREATHE LA will achieve broader goals of improving lung health (reducing NOx, PM2.5, and VOCs), improved public health and quality of life (reducing asthma emergency room visits due to air quality), and greater access to clean technology (increasing awareness about innovative and environmentally-friendly technologies and incentive/rebate programs for energy efficient auto and home solutions). Blue Sky LA will not only make the Los Angeles community healthier, but also serve as a model for other California communities and beyond.

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

BREATHE LA will define success by the number of volunteers we engage, the number of community-based educational programs we offer, and the amount of greenhouse gases we eliminate through our “citizen-driven” projects. We will measure this success through the following projected project outcomes for year one:

1. Engage 1,200 volunteers during year one through partnerships with community-based organizations.

2. Provide 12 community-based educational sessions per year about air pollution.

3. Reduce greenhouse gases by 3,000,000 pounds per year.

4. Plant 200 trees per year.

5. Create 5 urban gardens per year.

6. Increase public transportation users by 100 individuals.

Our LA2050 vision is to showcase how community collaboration can effect change toward reduced air pollution in Los Angeles County in advance of our hosting the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics.

Our program goals for Blue Sky LA goals include continuing to increase awareness about the importance of air pollution reduction through community education, reducing asthma emergency room visits that result from poor air quality, decreasing vehicle emissions, and increasing awareness about innovative clean technology and environmentally friendly products.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your submission impact?​

Public transit ridership


Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff

Capacity, including staff

Strategy assistance and implementation