2021 Grants Challenge

RE-ACH! Boots for the New American Dream

Ezrach Brain Trust Association is excited to partner with ArtCenter College of Design and Social Innovation department, Designmatters to develop the RE-ACH Boot. Responsibly made footwear that will reduce the carbon footprint and support our initiative to provide professional workforce development throughout the South LA community. This will serve as a strategic blueprint to surge economic growth and leverage the resources of community and faith-based organizations. This initiative will provide boots for the “New American Dream”.


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

South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Ezrach seeks to address climate change and unemployment with focus on the circular economy as it relates to fashion and eliminating waste in Leimert Park and South LA. In 2018, the fashion sector was responsible for 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Moreover, high unemployment rates have been linked to the lack of hard and soft skills. Ezrach’s goal is to bridge the skills gap in youth and the aging workforce by providing technical and soft skills training. LA County’s unemployment rate hit 12.7% as of January 2021. African Americans only hold 4% of household wealth, while White households hold 84% of household wealth (Moss et al., 2020). Leimert Park is located in Service Planning Area 6, which makes up the 80th percentile (25% highest scoring census tract) of poor air quality according to the CalEnviroScreen. Ezrach seeks to provide education in Leimert Park and South LA about the harmful impact of carbon emissions.

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

The American Dream has long been seen as a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity, success, and upward social mobility for everyone, achieved through hard work with few barriers. Ezrach Brain Trust Association recognizes that this American Dream does not represent what many disenfranchised communities are able to sustain and achieve. With the design and production of the RE-ACH Boot, Ezrach will provide programming, employment opportunities, and reduce the carbon footprint in Los Angeles County Service Planning Area 6 (SPA 6). With support from LA 2050, the RE-ACH Boot will increase workforce development by sourcing our materials locally; create a sustainability and environmental education program; create infrastructure to identify resources available to Los Angeles’ most vulnerable residents to reduce emissions; and create community engagement programming. Ezrach’s partnership with ArtCenter College of Design/Designmatters will provide access to top student product designers that bring a dynamic and entrepreneurial approach and serves as a vibrant hub for social impact through innovation.

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

Research (initial work to identify and understand the problem)

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

Direct Impact: 250

Indirect Impact: 750

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

Ezrach is committed to protecting underserved communities and improving the public health and environment of Los Angeles County. The battle against climate change is a moral imperative, an environmental emergency, and an economic opportunity. With the RE-ACH Boot, South Los Angeles will move a step closer toward a low-carbon, green-energy future. Furthermore, creating green employment opportunities will improve the trajectory of underrepresented groups in Los Angeles County by providing upward mobility. Our vision for the project is to produce a working prototype of the RE-ACH Boot and engage the community in educational workshops. The boot will undergo initial user evaluation and refinement. When ready to go to market, the boot will be manufactured locally. Through strategic partnernships, Ezrach’s goal is to create over 50 green jobs, bridge the wealth gap, and reduce carbon emissions in Leimert Park by 20% in the first year of the boots release.

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

Ezrach will host educational webinars to provide circular economy education. Ezrach and ArtCenter College of Design will provide pre and post surveys to stakeholders in the community to measure success of the project. Short-term: Carbon Footprint and Product Development Education 25% increase in carbon emission awareness 25% increase in food waste pollution and composting awareness 25% increase in how to identify responsibly sourced materials and products Community Engagement: 250 community members will attend the ABC’s Education Courses 750 households and businesses will adopt sustainability practices i.e. composting, purchasing sustainable products. Long Term: Workforce Development Training and Job Creation 25 participants complete first workforce development training (i.e. smart manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, project management) 20 participants complete the second cohort of workforce development training. 50 green jobs created in Los Angeles County.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Ezrach Brain Trust Association will be the lead organization for the collaboration. Ezrach will be responsible for grant administration and providing guidance and thought leadership for the workforce development and community impact component of the project. Ezrach Brain Trust Association will provide workforce development training to equip participants within South Los Angeles for highroad employment opportunities. ArtCenter College of Design/Designmatters will collaborate with Ezrach to lead the development of the RE-ACH Boot from ideation to product development to market. ArtCenter College of Design/Designmatters will provide in-kind research, development and implementation necessary to reach desired outcomes.

Which of the CREATE metrics will you impact?​

Manufacturing activity

Employment in the creative industries

Income inequality

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

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