Macala Wright: What Will Happen When LA Crowdsources $1 Million For Social Change

Macala Wright: What Will Happen When LA Crowdsources $1 Million For Social Change

How a city created a roadmap to a brighter future.

Macala Wright
  • 13 march 2014

In 2013, the Goldhirsh Foundation launched LA 2050, an initiative to create a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles, and to drive and track progress toward that vision. LA2050 looked at the health of the region through eight key indicators and made informed projections about where Los Angeles would be in the year 2050 if the city continued operate and the people continued to live as they are now.

The Goldhirsh Foundation then launched the My LA2050 Grants Challenge for nonprofits and for-profits to apply for $1 million total in ten $100,000 awards.  The My LA2050 Grants Challenge proposals received 279 submissions from nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Collaboration was a key component of many applications, with 16 percent coming from multi-stakeholder applicants. Interestingly, 18 percent of applicants were social enterprises, offering innovative business models blending revenue generation with solutions to address the needs of our region. This indicates a trend toward the blurring of lines between nonprofit and for-profit entities, with increasing consideration of social enterprise as a route to solve social problems.

From the collective work of all those who participated, LA2050 has published, “Unleashing the Potential of Los Angeles: Submissions, Trends, and Impact from the My LA2050 Grants Challenge,” which highlights themes, promising ideas, and surprising trends that emerged across tall submissions.
The study revealed five key takeaways about the city’s inhabitants:
  1. Angelenos collaborate. The collaborative spirit of Angelenos was evident with a majority of submissions proposing to collaborate, and nearly one quarter of the proposals came from multi-stakeholder applicants.
  2. Angelenos are eager and ready to test new ideas. 44 percent of submissions were pilot stage projects, testing a new idea on a small scale in order to prove feasibility of a concept.
  3. Angelenos have a significant appetite for change in the way we connect with each other. 73 percent of submissions sought to increase / improve Angelenos’ daily connections with one another (where, when, and how).
  4. Angelenos are passionate about education. The majority of submissions applied under the Education category.
  5. 5. To identify creative, original solutions that are uniquely Los Angeles – ask Los Angeles. From pop-up artisanal villages to market makeovers, organizations submitted original ideas that felt distinctively “Los Angeles.”

The following eight different indicators help  paint a comprehensive picture of the region. Each submission
targeted one indicator from the LA2050 report.


LA 2050 hopes that the themes identified, city will further support and activities to improve the region and serve as a resource for funders and social innovators as we work together to build LA’s future. If we don’t like what the projections are saying about our future, then we as citizens, organizations, stakeholders, and policymakers can work together towards a more successful Los Angeles – one that empowers us and takes full advantage of the potential our region holds. Download the complete report for free here



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