Established in 2011 by Smart Growth California with leadership from the California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, and Environment Now, the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative supports funder learning and collaboration to promote healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities in Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles metropolitan region is undergoing transformational changes thanks to landmark policies and programs addressing transportation, housing, parks, and the environment. One of the most significant opportunities is Measure R, a sales tax measure passed in 2008 which will raise nearly $40 billion for local transportation over 30 years. Seventy percent of this amount will be spent on public transportation, including 12 transit lines and 43 new transit stations.
There are many other innovative policies and initiatives at play as well, including the state’s cap-and-trade program, Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan, the Mayor’s Sustainability Plan, LA County Parks Needs Assessment, historic efforts to clean up the Los Angeles River, and initiatives to build more affordable housing near transit.
Funders can play a critical role in ensuring that policies and public investments benefit all Angelenos, particularly traditionally underserved people and communities. The Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative focuses on: fostering multi-sector collaboration; supporting community organizing and power-building; piloting innovative solutions; and driving policy change.
The Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative is open to all funders currently supporting efforts to build healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities in Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative is led by an active steering committee with representatives from: the California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, First 5 LA, Liberty Hill Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Resources Legacy Fund, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, and an anonymous funder. Smart Growth California facilitates this funder network.
“As part of the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, I get to work with other funders at the intersection of health, equity, and sustainability in an ongoing way, which strengthens both my work and our collective impact as grantmakers.”Jacqueline Waggoner, Enterprise Community Partners
Our vision for a healthy, equitable, and sustainable Los Angeles County is one where:
- People live healthier, more active lives where taking public transit, biking and walking is the norm rather than the exception.
- Residents have access to affordable housing near transit and greater access to economic opportunities.
- Communities are empowered to participate in key decision making processes that help drive systems change.
- Government agencies, nonprofits, and others have funding and resources to pilot innovative, replicable models.
- The funding community is actively engaged in supporting organizations and communities working to support healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities.
Together with an array of partners, the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative and members of our community have helped make a range of recent accomplishments come to life, including:
- Partnering with Reconnecting America to produce the Los Angeles Equity Atlas, which offers a vision for leveraging the $40 billion in transportation investments funded by Measure R to achieve a stronger regional economy, accessible living wage jobs, reduced congestion, healthier people and places, greater affordability and an overall improved quality of life, particularly for low- and moderate-income people who comprise the majority of the population and workforce in Los Angeles County.
- Commissioning a research team led by Dr. Manuel Pastor to produce An Agenda for Equity: A Framework for Building a Just Transportation System in Los Angeles County. Dr. Pastor and his co-authors developed the paper with representatives of advocacy nonprofits and community-based organizations over the course of a year, yielding a clear, highly specific shared vision for what transportation equity in the region should look like.
- Partnering with Los Angeles County Metro to: 1) create a transit-oriented affordable housing loan fund called the Metro Affordable Transit Connected Housing (MATCH) program to facilitate preserving, improving, and developing affordable homes within a half-mile of a rail or rapid bus transit stop; and 2) establish supportive policies to build more affordable housing on Metro-owned land. In 2015, the Metro board voted to set aside at least 35 percent of housing units built on Metro-owned land for affordable housing. In 2016, the Metro board voted to allocate $10 million to the MATCH program.
- Supporting nonprofit and community-based organizations to participate in the successful Parks for All campaign. Working together, these groups achieved a historic victory to change Los Angeles’ Quimby ordinance. This change will increase funding for parks from $20 million to nearly $50 million each year and help bring more parks to low-income communities.
- Nurturing multi-sector collaboration by supporting LA THRIVES and the Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles (ACT LA). These collaboratives focus on building equitable transit-oriented communities, neighborhoods, and public transportation for all.
As part of the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, you can:
- Network and build relationships with other funders committed to creating healthier, equitable, and sustainable communities in Los Angeles County.
- Learn about model practices, tools, and strategies that you can apply to your work, plus share knowledge and insights with your peers.
- Explore opportunities to create joint funding opportunities and drive policy change.
- Leverage the impact of your own giving through collaboration with other funders.
Our funder network hosts quarterly face-to-face gatherings including:
- Funder briefings: In partnership with Southern California Grantmakers, these briefings explore timely issues and feature issue experts. The Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative has engaged over 100 funders in briefings on a range of topics. Previous briefings have included: Innovations for Building Healthy, Equitable Communities; The Hardest Road: Building an Equitable Los Angeles; and Climate Change, Heath, and Equity. Check out our event calendar for upcoming funder briefings.
- Funder conversations: These casual networking opportunities create a space for funders to share information, learn, and collaborate.
- Learning tours: These tours, typically on public transportation and/or bicycle, look at on-the-ground innovations and challenges.
How to Join the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative
To join our network, we ask that you support our vision and allocate some portion of your giving to creating healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities in Los Angeles County.
Contact Ron Milam, Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, to learn more and get involved. In joining the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, you also become part of Smart Growth California.
Banner image from iStock.