Non-profits get billion dollar boost



California Community Foundation Town Hall at St. Sophia Cathedral | Photo by Kevin Walker

California Community Foundation Town Hall at St. Sophia Cathedral | Photo by Kevin Walker

The California Community Foundation pledged $1-billion to Los Angeles County non-profits today during a special town hall meeting at the St. Sophia Cathedral in Mid-City. An estimated 400 civic leaders, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas were among the attendees.

The town hall meeting and funding announcement was part of a celebration of CCF‘s 100th anniversary.

The money will be disbursed over a ten year period and will be paid out in the form of grants, loans and scholarships. Which non-profits will get funds and how much they will get are unknown.

Jonathan Zeichner, Executive Director of the South L.A.-based A Place to Call Home, said that communication between groups like his and the Foundation is key.

“We’re on the ground representing the constituents that we serve,” he said. “[It’s] really important that it’s a two way dialogue.”

CCF President, Antonia Hernandez said she hopes to focus on low income housing, community clinics, and early childhood education. Groups trying to get a cut of the funds will have their application reviewed by the CCF staff and its 20 member board.

“We’re [non-profits] required to show what we will do with the funds,” said Zeichner. “And if we’re doing we we say we are…that’s the basis to continue the funding.”

Representatives from all of the County’s 88 cities were in attendance, signaling the importance of the funds to public officials who are grappling with increases in crime and homelessness in many of their communities. Their combined attendance was also a sign of unity among the county’s various municipalities.

Since 2013 homelessness has risen by 12% across L.A. County, a fact that many attribute to the area’s tight housing supply. A report from the LA Homeless Services Authority released earlier this year had the number of homeless people in the county at more than 40,000.

The problem has gotten so bad that this past month the L.A. City Council declared a “state of emergency” over the issue and dedicated $100 million towards homeless services like shelters and housing vouchers.

Mayor Eric Garcetti at California Community Foundation Town Hall on October 8, 2015 | Photo by Kevin Walker

Mayor Eric Garcetti at California Community Foundation Town Hall on October 8, 2015 | Photo by Kevin Walker

Mayor Garcetti, speaking at today’s event, referenced the challenges facing the county but stressed the need for civic pride.

“We’re good at privately saying what we love about L.A., but publicly bitching about what we don’t,” Garcetti said. “We need to invert that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deaths from heart disease go down in Los Angeles County



By: Smitha Bondade

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Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:

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image Los Angeles County experienced a huge milestone in the number one cause of death over the last decade. Director of the county’s public health department Dr. Jonathan Fielding says deaths from heart disease have gone down 41 percent. This means 9,000 fewer deaths annually from heart attacks. The number of deaths from strokes also went down by 2000. Dr. Fielding says there are few key reasons for the decline.

“One is public education,” Fielding said. “Secondly, important advances in both medical and surgical treatment of cardiovascular disease so that even when somebody has a disease, the risk of death from that disease has declined substantially.”

But there is still more work to do.

“We still have much higher raters of cardiovascular disease from heart attacks and strokes in African Americans,” Fielding said.

The American Heart Association defines seven ways of improving cardiovascular health.

“They’re get active, eat better, lose weight, stop smoking, control your cholesterol, manage your blood pressure and reduce your blood sugar,” said Shannon Lawrence of the heart assocation.

He says everyone can adopt a healthier lifestyle and make healthy choices.

Giants fan remains in critical condition



Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News:

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Trenise Ferreira: Bryan Stow has been in a coma since he was brutally attacked outside of Dodger Stadium on March 31. He suffered a brain injury as well as a fractured skull. Doctors had to remove part of his skull to reduce the swelling. Stow’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Gabriel Zada, gave an update on Stow’s condition today at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medial Center.

image Dr. Gabrial Zada: “And he required a life-saving operation to decompress the brain and reduce the pressures, which was successful. However, since that time, he has remained in a comatose state, and our medical team has done and is doing everything to ensure that the most optimal outcome that is possible is achieved.”

Ferreira: Stow’s cousin, John Stow, was also at the news conference. He said the family does not hold this violent act against the people of Los Angeles. Instead, he thanks the community for its support in this difficult time.

Stow: “To know that people who have never met Brian that care so much about him and his well-being has truly been overwhelming.”

Ferreira: He also said that he hopes the men behind this attack will fess up to what they have done.

Stow: “I hope somehow deep in their heart or their friends or whoever it is that knows who did this, that they would at least have the courage to come forward now and face what they’ve done. It’s bad enough that they hit him, but at least come forward and have the courage to face the facts and face the book for what you’ve done here.”

Ferreira: Dr. Zada said by next week, they’ll have a better idea of Stow’s prognosis, but for now, it’s too early to tell. Dr. Zada also said the recovery will be very intensive, and that it’s possible there will be some brain dysfunction going forward.

OPINION: The economic impact of preschool



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By Jennifer Quinonez for Los Angeles Universal Preschool

imageWith more than 10 million residents, Los Angeles County is one of the most heavily populated counties in America. There are more than 155,000 four-year-old children living here, and yet only about 70,000 licensed preschool spaces are even accessible. Since about half of the children in this area are missing out on a preschool education and possibly starting elementary school behind their peers, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) is working to provide high-quality, free or low-cost preschool to thousands of children who need it most — but we can’t do it alone.

Business leaders, taxpayers and elected officials need to take a look at preschool as a smart business investment because preschool has proven to help close the achievement gap among children entering kindergarten, as well as combat high crime rates and a sagging economy.

According to a Rand Corporation study, RAND researchers estimated that “a high-quality, one-year, voluntary, universal preschool program in California could generate for California society $2.62 in benefits for every dollar of cost.” The study found that for each annual cohort of four-year-olds (approximately 550,000 children), California would receive an estimated $2.7 billion in “present-value net benefits.”

The positive economic impact of investing in Pre-K services is also significantly felt here in Los Angeles County. The Center for Community Economic Development released a report that says the early care and education (ECE) industry is a crucial element in strengthening and sustaining Los Angeles County’s economy. For instance:

• The early child care and education (ECE) industry generates $1.9 billion dollars annually in Los Angeles County
• The ECE industry is expected to generate the sixth highest number of new jobs between 2006 and 2016 of all industries in Los Angeles County
• The ECE Industry currently employs 65,000 people in full-time jobs
• Benefits all industries in the county by enabling parents to work and attend job training/education programs to upgrade skills
• The ECE industry supports the employment of thousands of families whose earnings are estimated at more than $22 billion.

It’s clear that investing in the early care and education industry is a wise investment not only for taxpayers, but for the proper care and development of our children and the future of Los Angeles County. For more information, please contact Jennifer Quinonez at LAUP at 213-416-1838 or email [email protected]up.net.

Mark Ridley-Thomas has proposal for juvenile justice reform



Listen to the audio story:

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About 20,000 young people are on probation in Los Angeles County right now, and more than 40 percent of these youths will head right back to jail. Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas commissioned a report on making transition back into society more successful, and it makes some serious charges.

“We need to be smart about reentry,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The report found that some county juvenile detention camps have good reentry programs; some, but not all. The programs make sure that young people have a safe place, healthcare, addiction treatment, a support system and a plan for avoiding gang life before they leave. But the report argues that these transition services need to become institutionalized.

The researchers pointed to a few exemplary Los Angeles-based organizations as models for the Department of Corrections.

Los Angeles County sees first ‘green’ park



imageWhat used to be a devastated, vacant lot is now Los Angeles County’s first park with drought-resistant plants, permeable pavement, recycled materials for both park benches and tables, and solar lighting.

“Over the last few years, we have worked hard to get rid of eyesores like [vacant lots],” Gloria Molina, county supervisor, said. “We have transformed blight into much-needed affordable housing and community parks.”

About 100 students from Lillian Street Elementary School in Los Angeles participated in a contest to name the “green” park. Third grade student Natalie Torres submitted “El Parque Nuestro,” the winning entry.image

“We are very proud of Natalie and all of the kids,” Gloria Molina, county supervisor, said. “They [learn] early the rewards of civic participation.”

imageThe park is just a little less than an acre, but offers fitness equipment and a walking trail, something Molina referred to as the community’s “very own fitness zone.”

Before the park entered the community, an area often referred to as “park poor,” the nearest park in the neighborhood was Roosevelt Park, one that was about a mile away on Nadeau and Beach streets.

imageBut with the addition of private-public partnership housing, Molina felt it was necessary to add “green,” recreational space for neighborhood residents.

“We [will] save [on] energy, water and overall energy costs,” Molina said.

Proposition 40, the California Clean Water, Clean Air, image Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, provided funds for the $2.1 million project.

“Now, there is a close and convenient park for everyone in the community to utilize,” Molina said.

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Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation planned a summer of activities for Los Angeles county families and youth.

Youth summer camps will begin between the last week of June and the first week of July. They will run from Monday through Friday at about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Hours and fees may vary from park to park.

Camps will be offered at the following parks, among others:

Belvedere Park: 4914 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, 90022

City Terrace Park: 1126 N. Hazard Ave., Los Angeles, 90063

Eugene A. Obregon Park: 4021 E. First Street, Los Angeles 90063

Ruben F. Salazar Park: 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, 90023

Saybrook Park: 6250 E. Northside Dr., Los Angeles, 90022

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Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation will begin registration for summer swimming lessons on June 26, July 10 and 24, and August 7 and 21. The fee is $20 for a 10-lesson course.

The following pools, among others, will be open seven days a week during the summer, and all sites provide certified lifeguard supervision for swimmers:

Atlantic Ave. Park pool: 570 S. Atlantic Blvd., Los Angeles, 90022

Belvedere Park pool: 4914 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, 90022

City Terrace Park pool: 1126 N. Hazard Ave., Los Angeles, 90063

Eugene A. Obregon Park pool: 4021 E. First Street, Los Angeles, 90063

Ruben F. Salazar Park pool: 3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, 90023

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For more information about park services, please contact (213) 738-2963.

LA County workers rally



County employees held a demonstration Tuesday, September 29th just before the Board of Supervisors met to discuss a new benefits contract. The old contract expires Wednesday night and employees fear they will have to cover rising premium costs. Listen to an audio report by Annenberg Radio News reporter Dominic Riley.