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

Ignite Youth Leading Change

Ignite Youth Leading Change is a transformative program to build the capacity of at risk and hard to reach BIPOC youth to become agents of change for themselves and their communities. The program aims to build on the capacity of youth to lead, promote protective factors, exercise their Constitutional rights, and become active participants in their own success and financial future.


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

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

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

San Gabriel Valley

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?

Structural racism and systemic inequality drive the poverty of the BIPOC youth and families we serve, and discriminatory policies and practices deny them access to the "American Dream." BIPOC youth endure anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ toxic stress which impacts their rest, education, and career pursuits. They face pressures of homelessness, hunger, pandemic issues, unemployment, gangs, community violence, and substance abuse. Ignite Youth participants shared with us how social media, movies, and videos negatively impact their mental health and relationships. Adverse messages on money and security exacerbate the problem. This program will promote holistic well-being as a foundation for financial literacy. Youth will be empowered to recognize their brilliance and participate actively in society. We will create a community where promising youth and families collaborate as experts to transform systems and find sustainable solutions.

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

Ignite Youth Leading Change will address generational poverty harms by leveraging community wisdom and cultural strengths for sustainable solutions. This prevention-focused program will target at-risk, hard to reach BIPOC youth too often overlooked until trouble arises. This program will first address healing, holistic well-being, psycho-social needs, and challenging stereotypes to address poverty symptoms; then financial knowledge crucial for economic improvement can be built on this foundation of health and wellness. This program will disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline, educate youth about their rights and responsibilities, foster success through building leadership, critical thinking, and Youth Thrive Protective Factors: youth resilience, positive social connections, concrete support in times of need, social and emotional competence, knowledge of adolescent brain development. Strategies we will employ include Youth Talks Conversations and mental health support, promoting financial literacy, supporting academic success, fostering education and entrepreneurship, hosting business speakers, encouraging mentorship, promoting PACTL.ORG values, building youth leaders, and offering economic opportunities. Our approach addresses root causes through innovative engagement, brain science, and systemic oppression awareness. With understanding, interest, and action, we improve financial outcomes for individuals, families, and communities over time.

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

Our vision for LA County is a future where BIPOC youth are valued, their brilliance is nurtured, and they experience joy and belonging. They will be recognized as problem solvers, not problems themselves. We aim to prevent harm by addressing root causes and providing necessary interventions. Empowering youth with knowledge, conflict resolution skills, access to health and mental health services, and leadership training will ensure their success. Financial literacy, academic support, and mental health resources will equip them for economic and personal growth. Collaboration among service providers is crucial, and by forming strong alliances, we can create a comprehensive resource guide. Through a youth-led movement, we will promote healing, resilience, and empowerment, reducing substance use disorders. PACTL.ORG is dedicated to prioritizing youth needs and building a stronger alliance for a more equitable and inclusive LA County.

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

Ignite Youth began in 2020 as a pilot program to test innovative approaches and techniques to work with youth in a transformative capacity. This program's success has been captured by Imoyase for 2021, the evaluator for READY TO RISE (see "Success 2021"). Ignite Youth Leading Change will build upon our success and learnings. Measuring Success is an important part of PACTL.ORG and the Ignite Youth program design so that it can be taken to scale in the future. We keep attendance records, pictures, financial records, and conduct youth evaluation focus groups. We will continue to use the measures and outcomes we have used with success, and develop new measures and outcomes with the assistance of our youth co-designers to measure youth economic development. We will incorporate measures of success including the number of participants completing the program, and trained youth who stay and continue leading the program.

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

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 5,000