What Los Angeles Nonprofits Should Know About the Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050 Initiative

On July 1st, the Goldhirsh Foundation opened its  2014 “My LA2050 Grants Challenge” program for grant applications. To help Los Angeles become the healthiest place to live, and the best place in the world to learn, create, play, connect, the foundation is putting $1 million toward local causes (Read Goldhirsh Foundation: Los Angeles Grants).

This is a broad grantmaking initiative, so lots of Los Angeles nonprofits have the opportunity to get in on the action. The application deadline is July 31st (so hurry!), voting takes place in early September and the winners will be announced on September 30th. Keep these things in mind as you try for one of these $100,000 local grants.

Grant Focus Areas

  1. Goldhirsh’s education focus area, "Learn," spans from early childhood education all the way to higher education institutions in the Los Angeles area. It’s also looking for programs that help high school students graduate and get ready for college and career and that empower parents to become engaged in the learning process.
  2. The “Create” focus area aims to support working artists, technology leaders, and entrepreneurs who can create jobs and generate wealth. This is the area in which to apply if your program is related to employment, venture capital investment, or minority-owned start-ups.
  3. Apply to the “Play” focus area if your program helps keep beaches clean, spaces open, and parks green. This area is open to grant applications for sporting event attendance, per capita crime rates, and afterschool programs.
  4. Local government, elected officials, and civil engagement are at the heart of Goldhirsh’s “Connect” focus area. This is the area to apply to if your program involves participation in neighborhood councils, volunteerism, and cultural events.
  5. Goldhirsh’s “Live” focus area is all about lowering obesity rates, providing access to healthy food, and providing affordable healthcare and housing. Mental illness, air pollution, and homelessness are also included in this category.

Voting and Grantee Selection

Interestingly, voting is open to the public from September 2 to 16, and anyone over 18 years old can vote online. All you need to vote is a GOOD account. The founder’s son, Ben Goldhirsh, is the CEO of GOOD, a “global community of, by, and for pragmatic idealists working toward individual and collective progress.”

But this doesn’t mean that your friends and neighbors have ultimate control over who receives grants. One project from each of the five LA2050 Goal Categories will be selected by a panel of judges to receive $100,000 to implement their idea. The top-voted project in each of the five LA2050 Goal Categories will receive $100,000 to implement their idea. There will be 10 total winners, bringing the initiative’s total value to $1 million.

Submission Tips From Goldhirsh:

  • Complete the submission form.
  • Share how your idea will impact the LA2050 Goal you are focusing on. For example, if you’ve chosen LA is the best place to CREATE, you might describe how your idea will help LA lead the nation in manufacturing; if you’ve chosen LA is the best place to LEARN, you might explain how your idea will alleviate youth unemployment and underemployment.
  • Be practical, yet imaginative. We want to hear your most innovative ideas – but we also want to know that your idea is both feasible and implementable.
  • Collaborate. We are eager to see folks working together to improve Los Angeles. We are hosting an event on July 2nd for organizations who are interested in collaborating.
  • Although the LA2050 Goals use specific metrics to conduct its tracking and analysis, please do not limit yourself to these metrics.
  • Describe how the $100,000 award will enable you to implement your idea.
  • Include a photo or video that represents your idea or organization. Photos should be in JPG, PNG, or GIF format, at least 570 × 345 pixels and no larger than 10MB. To include a video, use a YouTube URL.
  • Check out the LA2050 Goals, the LA2050 Report, and the My LA2050 White Paper for additional information