2021 Grants Challenge

Give Your Gift Los Angeles

Idea by SBCC

SBCC believes that lasting social change happens when communities come together to support each other by sharing their gifts, talents, and abilities; and that every individual has something unique to contribute. SBCC will create a digital platform to facilitate this exchange on the local level and help build a more equitable and just society. Give Your Gift (GYG) is about organizing and scaling a community’s capacity to help itself. SBCC is paving the way for an alternative “gift economy” that will result in a more inclusive local economy.


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

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Marginalized and oppressed communities are often invaded, captured and colonized by professional services, robbing them of their agency, self-worth, and belief in their ability to make a change. This deficit model damages individuals by undermining their sense of self and inherent capacities. These negative effects on self-concept have been thoroughly explored where people labeled deficient come to see themselves as less than. These dis-empowering effects are clearly evident in the data about low measures of self-efficacy and hope in marginalized communities. SBCC’s Give Your Gift campaign is a bold response to this deficit model. Oppressed communities have their own culture of wellness and powerful strategies to enhance well-being. They are generous and caring. SBCC believes not in the power of social services but in the power of community strength. As John McKnight wrote, “Revolutions begin when people who are defined as problems achieve the power to redefine the problem.”

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

SBCC’s GYG is challenging the deficit model and creating a scalable structure to leverage all of the assets, gifts, and talents within a community. SBCC’s GYG drives social change by surfacing, elevating, and activating the assets within individuals and neighborhoods. The first step in this strength based revolution is to empower 10,000 LA residents to discover their gifts and talents through a digital strength finding platform. SBCC’s website and social media will be the primary channels for the two components of this initiative: the first being an opportunity to barter and share gifts within the community. The second is an easy to use, localized resource map in the spirit of Yelp to reveal the often unknown resources throughout SBCC’s LA County reach. Both of these new sections will provide value to residents on their journey towards positive, self-initiated change. GYG scales its digital strength finding through a broad network of partners who are committed to challenging the deficit model. Next, SBCC through GYG will develop a “gift exchange”. The SBCC Gift Exchange will be a communal space that welcomes everyone in with a simple on-boarding question/response wizard that adds them to a community map. Leveraging the platform, SBCC’s goal will be greater accessibility to the vast personal capacity within SBCC's community. The map will be both desktop and mobile friendly with provisions for SBCC community members to personalize relevant mapped elements and information.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 10,000

Indirect Impact: 100,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

9. Most public information about communities is deficit based. SBCC flips that script, allowing residents, CBOs, and public systems to share the strengths and assets of communities that can be leveraged to create lasting change. SBCC is laying the groundwork for a new kind of “gift economy,” which reinforces the importance of each individual contribution. GYG is about organizing and scaling a community’s capacity to help itself. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is the philosophical cornerstone of building a resilient, connected, thriving community. SBCC’s GYG is boldly solving what John McKnight, founder of the ABCD model, called the social services and professional problem. By building strengths and supporting residents rather than trying to solve deficit-based problems, communities will drive lasting change. After the grant, this initiative will continue to drive a conversation around a shared asset based economy completely owned and driven by the residents themselves.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

SBCC will utilize both qualitative and quantitative data to measure the success of this campaign, which launched in 2020. “Give your gift” allowed residents to feel a connection to others. Initially, over 350 people responded and sent a video describing their gift and how they would give it. This campaign aligned with SBCC’s core value, that everyone has a gift and can contribute. LA2050 is an opportunity to expand the network of people. SBCC observed the same phenomena and data collection in our community organizing program. The data is evidence the campaign was impactful and effective. The number of people who created a video was additional evidence that this strategy would work to promote civic engagement, reduce social isolation and ensure that every person has an opportunity to contribute. SBCC has a diverse collaboration of partners, which is further evidence this a successful strategy. We believe that there is value in expanding this project into a countywide initiative.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​

Social and emotional support


Immigrant integration