LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2022 Grants Challenge

S.T.E.A.M. Collective: LA

Idea by Hacker Fund

S.T.E.A.M. Collective: LA is a fellowship and professional development ecosystem that builds pathways to a career in the creative economy for Angelenos who fight for social change. Our initial cohort will be accepting Los Angeles applicants who are between the ages of 18 and 24 and who identify as BIPOC or women.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

Road to Artdom Foundation

What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)

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

County of Los Angeles

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

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

According to Otis College of Art and Design’s 2021 Annual Report, 109,410 creative economy employees lost their jobs between February and December 2020 in Los Angeles County alone. To make matters worse, the Arts workers of color who were affected will earn 35% less in wages than their white colleagues if and when they do find new employment. The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth Research from the National Endowment for the Arts, shows there is a marked difference between the career aspirations of young adults with & without arts backgrounds. Youth with access to the arts tend to have higher career goals, better workforce opportunities, better academic results, and increased civic engagement. It is imperative that individuals pursuing a career in the creative economy who identify as BIPOC or women receive equitable access to mentorship, career counseling, professional development, and most importantly, a network of hiring partners and funders who want to invest in their growth.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

This grant will allow S.T.E.A.M. Collective: LA to close the creative industry skills and resources gap for 50 Angelenos who are between the age of 18 and 24 and identify as BIPOC or women. The applicants, once admitted, become "fellows" that participate in a 6-month professional development bootcamp and receive lifetime access to all of the S.T.E.A.M. workshops both Hacker Fund and Road to Artdom have developed collectively since 2014. Fellows will then be able to choose between two tracks: (1) Creative Employment - this track is designed for fellows who are seeking full-time employment in any S.T.E.A.M. career, including but not limited to product design, virtual & augmented reality engineering, game development, and UI/UX at a creative technology company, such as Snap or Google. Fellows will master interview skills and will produce a portfolio of projects to present at Demo Day. (2) Creative Founder (including self-employment) - this track is designed for fellows who are interested in starting their own organization/business or treat themselves as such because they are self-employed. Fellows in this track will learn the basics of social entrepreneurship and will present their new organization's pitch deck at Demo Day. They will be able to seek funding via fiscal sponsorship with Hacker Fund. All fellows will have access to weekly workshops, hackathons, office hours, and work space. They will all present to prospective funders and employers we invite to Demo Day.

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

If our work is successful, Los Angeles County will have its first non-commercial one-stop-shop for economic empowerment in the creative industry. Los Angeles is known for its creativity but the door for underrepresented youth from ages 18 to 24 will be pushed out wider if we are successful. If more women and BIPOC creators can receive equitable education, training, and skills, they will be able to find a job or start an organization in order to earn an income in the creative industry and become self-supporting. If we give underrepresented creators a different vantage point to solve problems in Los Angeles, they can use their seat at the table to create jobs and solutions to problems that are often overlooked by major funding sources.

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

S.T.E.A.M. Collective: LA will be applying the combination of two proven models: (1) the educational model that Hacker Fund used to empower 50k+ people to pursue S.T.E.M. careers and generate more than $1.5M in volunteer support from mentors at 150+ companies including Apple, Google, MSFT, SpaceX, and Snap. (2) the fiscal sponsorship model that Road to Artdom Foundation used to empower organizations founded by creatives, such as Comedy Gives Back and Preservation Hall Foundation, to pursue over $1M in grant funding during COVID-19 shutdowns. Short term, we are successful if fellows: (1) feel more confident about their prospective career (2) present at Demo Day Long term, we are successful if fellows: (1) incorporate their own business/organization in the creative industry (2) obtain employment in the creative industry (1099 or W2) We will measure this by implementing pre/post sentiment analysis tests, exit-interviews and longevity studies via our member dashboard.

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

Direct Impact: 50

Indirect Impact: 100

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

Road to Artdom Foundation represents the "A" in S.T.E.A.M. ever since we started collaborating in 2014.They will be providing the following to S.T.E.A.M. Collective: LA throughout the grant period and beyond: (1) its entire repository of workshops related to art including fine art, product design, VR/AR design, game design, and mechanical engineering since 2014. (2) its directory of studios through LA county that fellows can use to produce their work, including the Compton Innovation Center launched in 2019. (3) staff and volunteers who can assist with program magement, workshop development, instruction, and fiscal sponsorship accounting (4) its network of mentors and hiring partners who can attend Demo Day and office hours