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.







Tom LaBonge says he wants to save the city’s arts programs

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The chair of the committee, Councilman Tom LaBonge, said the committee will save the city and programs about $2 million.

Madeleine Scinto: $2 million?

Tom LaBonge: But compared to no dollars, meaning the dollars are being erased because of the difficult times that we’re in. And so we need to reach to partners in order to keep these places open.

Scinto: Is there any fear that if you contracted out or leased out these programs that these partnerships won’t be able to execute these programs as well as the city has been doing?

LaBonge: Well, I think they can do… they’re seen around the country, these relationships that have grown and even in other cities and other countries as well, where there’s this relationship that enhances it, blossoms it. It makes things more creative, so I’m not afraid of this opportunity.

Scinto: Would this be the first public-private partnership in Los Angeles, if this went through?

LaBonge: In the early 90s, the cultural affairs partnered out with community groups to do the public-private partnership. But there were public-private partnerships from a long, long time ago. The Grand Theatre in San Pedro is a public-private partnership for many years.

Scinto: What kind of organizations would you foresee coming in to participate in this?

LaBonge: People who have a love of arts, a love of people and a skill to raise revenue.

Scinto: But you don’t have any specific organizations in mind?

LaBonge: No, I don’t know. That’s up to those who choose to bid on it. I hope people step up who have a value and a love for the city’s opportunity to continue art-community programs.

Beyond Shelter’s Barbara Hill on Homelessness in South LA

ARN’s Kaitlin Funaro speaks with Barbara Hill of Beyond Shelter about what non-profits are doing to help combat homelessness in Los Angeles. She says the increase in homeless in South LA is putting a strain on local services.