LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Empowering the future generation of female filmmakers and changemakers!

Girls' Voices Now is a youth development program that empowers girls and femme-identifying youth ages 14-18 from under-resourced and underrepresented communities of Los Angeles to find, develop and use their voice for positive social change through filmmaking. With this program, we strive to: - empower the next generation of filmmakers and changemakers in LA - build pathways for underrepresented voices to access the creative industries - create valuable content for all - our film 'Under the Scarf' won a Daytime EMMY in 2021!


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

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

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

East LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

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

Women and girls' voices and stories have been systematically overlooked. Yet, in California today, about one third of women have experienced physical violence inflicted on them by an intimate or former partner. Domestic violence accounts for roughly 20% of all violent crimes. Women still face pay gaps and higher poverty rates, and remain primarily responsible for childcare and housework even when working full-time. Simultaneously, girls between ages 8-14 experience a 30% confidence drop when they reach puberty, in spite outperforming boys academically (YPulse, The Confidence Code for Girls). The confidence gender gap that begins at puberty often remains throughout adulthood, and can seriously impede girls' sense of agency. Girls growing up in under-resourced communities face additional, intersectional discriminations based on ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, immigration status etc. Yet, their stories rarely make it to the screen and they lack access to the film industry.

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

Girls' Voices Now (GVN) serves youth from low to extremely-low income backgrounds, who come from underrepresented minority groups and have had a lack of exposure or access to the film industry overall. In 2022, 62% identified as Hispanic/Latina, 15% as Asian, 8% as Black/African-American, 15% as multicultural. 38% of them identified as LGBTQIA+. 77% of them qualified for Free or Reduced Lunch at their school and 8% of them had already experienced homelessness. GVN provides the skills, confidence and connections for girls to find their voice through filmmaking and use it to advocate for and create change, whichever field they end up pursuing. To that end, it combines a high quality filmmaking training, critical literacy skills and exposure to many guest speakers from the film industry. But another major component of GVN is to develop the participants' self-esteem, and foster leadership skills that can later serve them in their professional and personal lives. Finally, film is a powerful tool to raise awareness on key issues. GVN provides a platform for the general public to watch these films, learn about women and girls' rights and needs locally, and take action. GVN is composed of three main phases: - a five-week long intensive summer filmmaking training serving 20 new youth each year - a premiere public screening in the fall - a year-round program open to all past alumni (serving about 90 youth currently, and growing with every new cohort) to support their development

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

GVN sets out to: - empower the next generation of changemakers and filmmakers - build pathways for underrepresented voices to access the film industry - create content with strong educational values for all ages. Our vision for success is for GVN to increase gender parity, equity, and equality in the film industry and society as a whole. Even if not all participants will pursue a career in the film industry, we have designed GVN to empower all of them to feel confident voicing opinions and having a sense of control over their lives. But for the participants who do embrace a creative career, GVN offers continued filmmaking education opportunities and professional support so that they can actually access this industry and create change from within. As a result, communities who have been historically marginalized will get to see their specific stories and needs more accurately represented and understood locally.

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

Our thorough evaluation strategy was reviewed by the Executive Vice President of the Center for Nonprofit Management. We collect extensive feedback from participants right before and after the program and then yearly. We track their filmmaking skills acquisition, self-confidence, short and long-term academic and professional goals to name a few key metrics. Across previous cohorts, 24% of participants reported feeling self-confident before taking part in the program vs 94% after. Likewise, 31% of participants felt confident in their ability to reach goals that they have set for themselves vs 75% afterwards. Our alumnae have gone to UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSB, Columbia University and have worked/interned at Netflix, ACLU, Planned Parenthood and PBS to name a few. Thanks to partnerships with HereTV and Kanopy, GVN films have been watched by over 1.5 million online viewers, and in 2021 we won a Daytime Emmy! GVN films have been selected to over 115 film festivals.

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

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 500,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

This isn't a collaborative proposal but we do rely on a few key partners to successfully implement GVN: Mount Saint Mary's University (Doheny campus), Adobe, SmartSource. In addition, Girls' Voices Now films are distributed by our two partners Here TV media (since December 2019) and Kanopy (since February 2021). Since then, our films have already been seen by 1,560,000+ online viewers (mostly located in the United States, New York, Los Angeles, Houston) and we won a Daytime Emmy with HereTV in July 2021 for one of our films. These partnerships are key to amplifying the stories and topics that our participants have chosen to focus on in hopes of contributing to positive social change. All films remain available on our website (