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

Empowering Today's Young Adults: Advocates for Progress

Young Invincibles equips civically-engaged young adults across Los Angeles through our paid leadership development program to thrive as today's students and workers, providing opportunities to address inequities by shaping local and state policies in education, health care, finance and voting. Our Young Advocates Program trains and coaches young adults furthest from power and privilege to build skills as policymakers, engage their elected officials, conduct research, mentor their peers, and tell their stories to center their lived experiences.


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

Income Inequality

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

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

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?

A 2023 Urban Institute brief points to disproportionately high debt among young adults: they have limited income, haven't built a credit history, are unable to save; and have trouble repaying loans. Young adults seek the confidence and knowledge to improve their community. Paid leadership development opportunities for youth from families of meager or modest means, or groups met with discrimination or other systemic obstacles are in short supply but young adults hold tremendous power and, with support, can use their lived experiences to shape policymaking. They're a force for good in our communities and society, and YI shifts cultural narratives around youth as a time of opportunity and growth, especially for first-generation students. Programs like YI's can decrease social isolation and improve mental health. Access to information and resources are critical as young adults constitute Los Angeles' largest age demographic. Our YAP provides a resilient pathway to economic security.

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

Established in 2017, the Young Advocates Program, a twelve-week paid program, was incubated in Los Angeles to provide a dynamic learning curriculum of hard and soft skills to strengthen young adult power. Advocates are primarily recruited from community colleges, work-based learning programs, and through alumni/peer mentors. They learn about issues affecting their generation including borrower protections, CalSavers, CalEITC, and, benefit program eligibility, and realize possibilities toward economic security, learning media relations, storytelling, social media communications, policymaking, engaging with elected officials and government agencies, colleges, employers, conducting research, and organizing events to educate and facilitate discussions among their peers. Our leadership development program addresses income inequity by providing a paid opportunity for young adults to connect with peers and become civically-involved. YI helps young adults develop protective factors that moderate risk for adversity and facilitate resiliency, including intellectual development, self-esteem, problem-solving skills, connections with school and peers, and opportunities for engagement with school and community. Many of our young adults find future work placement because of the relationships they build in this process. Each young adult is provided mentorship that supports them and provides guidance on their education and career goals. These factors lend to both economic security and equity.

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

More than 25% of the County's population includes young adults 18-34 years-the largest age group. Improving economic outcomes for this demographic has a positive ripple effect for all. Gaps in income, employment, homeownership, student debt, and retirement savings are damaging to the economy broadly. Young adults need higher wages, more stable incomes, better and cheaper access to housing and month-to-month household necessities, greater opportunities for asset-building and retirement savings, and a lower debt burden. Policymakers are well-positioned to address these challenges, and our Young Advocates have designed the solutions. From laws protecting borrowers' rights to expanded voting rights, California is an innovator. Young adults learn from peers and social media, and enriching both of these activities will increase our reach toward measurable gains. Strengthening our community partnerships through geotargeting and in-person consumer education events will expand our reach.

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

YI measures our impact toward economic equity, i.e. college matriculation, community college completion, etc., through a combination of quantitative and qualitative data both from our young adults, and local and state reports. YI collects and analyzes pre- and post-YAP surveys ensuring measurable value. Our program goals are specific, measurable, action-oriented, relevant, time-bound, inclusive, and equitable (SMARTIE). We track program applicants and participants, including socioeconomic background, race or ethnicity, or gender, and engagements (i.e. invited testimony). YI tracks different levels of policy wins. YI uses surveys to track partner engagement (e.g. in coalitions, webinars), i.e. youth development organizations; education systems; employers, etc.). YI assesses our young adults' experiences with systemic obstacles; tracks endorsements, i.e. partner implementation of YI's recommendations; event attendees; media hits; and, policy recommendations adopted by key stakeholders.

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

Direct Impact: 60

Indirect Impact: 5,000