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

Rising Together for A New Economy

The project Rising Together for A New Economy was developed in response to the severe inequality and wage gap that we have seen in the last decade, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions of a new economy had been happening within our organization. The pandemic was the catalyst for action. Our goal is to start a local worker owned coop in which workers earn livable wages, have health care benefits, and support the local economy in collaboration with anchor institutions committed to investing in local labor and transformation.


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

Income Inequality

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?

Research (initial work to identify and understand the problem)

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

We are seeking to address income inequality and wage gaps. There is information released periodically on how much someone has to earn in order to live in LA County. Our agency supports and hears the stories of many of our community members that have fallen on hard times. We hear people who have multiple jobs are are still struggling to make ends meet. We want to really take a deep dive on issues of income inequality, pay transparency, compensation, and work culture. We believe that in order for a new economy to emerge and one in which people have the opportunity to live well, it's going to take collaboration and a lot of work and research. We also want to encourage local institutions- school districts, hospitals, universities, and city government to make a commitment to support the local economy and utilize their purchasing power to hire.local workers and to procure locally as well. We want to create campaigns where also community members recognize the importance of shopping locally.

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

Rising together for a new economy will require the community to come together and grapple with some facts, realities, and questions. The initial stages of this project is to work with the local community to create a community needs assessment and a common narrative about what the community needs in order to progress economically. We are specifically focusing on Eastern San Gabriel Valley and Pomona. Cities such as El Monte, La Puente, Azusa, and Pomona have limited resources in comparison to other larger cities with more resources. Usually community members here struggle on their own for a while and rely on their personal networks of support to find work or support when needed. In addition, there is a significant number of community members who are impacted by their immigration status, which has many repercussions and makes a workers vulnerable to accept work even if it is underpaid, because that is what is available. The projects aims to create at least one worker owned coop that contracts with local anchor institutions for services/goods. The coop members will have a livable wage, health benefits, and benefits that support overall wellbeing. The anchor institutions will be part of a local anchor collaborative where they commit to make every effort to procure goods locally and to support local businesses and coops. This is a community driven project to support and uplift the local economies and encourage investment and active participation in transforming the economy.

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

Los Angeles County is one of the most amazing and innovative counties. It has tremendous diversity and the potential to lead innovation. We have access to some of the most amazing resources, including our residents. It also is a county of great disparities and inequality. Poverty and wealth exist side by side. This project aims to bring some solutions to the immense poverty we are experiencing and witnessing in the county. Living in this county with a minimum wage or slightly higher is not realistic or sustainable. This project aims are looking for solutions to the economic crisis we are currently facing that is exacerbated by the rising cost of housing, basic necesstties such as utilities, food, and transportation. As a result of this project we can predict that Los Angeles county will have a new and scalable model to transition lower wage earners into better and higher paid jobs that not only support the local economies, it also provides a different framework for the workplace.

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

Success will be measured with multiple factors, including pre-and post surveys, participant self assessments, community discussions and community needs assessment, and comparison of baseline data from the cities. One of the places where we want to create an impact is in creating employment opportunities for youth. Young people tend to work in the service sectors and are more likely to have multiple jobs to supplement their incomes. There are significant disparities between youth who live with parents/family vs. youth who live on their own. Success will be based on the number of community members engaged in this project at various points, from participation in the community needs assessment to choosing to become part of the coop. Another indicator of success is workers being able to earn more money and also save for at least $500.00 for an emergency. In addition, we will generate 3 lists of community driven solutions for each city to address some of the challenges in labor sectors.

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

Direct Impact: 300

Indirect Impact: 8,000