LA n Sync Looks Ahead
In our second year, one of our first tasks was to evaluate LA n Sync – what we did well, where we could improve and what the opportunities are for the future. Based on this assessment, we’ve already begun making changes. For example, this year we’ll be increasing our focus on state funding opportunities and the pursuit of national philanthropic dollars. We’ve also refined our funding criteria, which you can read here.
In addition, LA n Sync is now overseen by Stephanie Levin, the Annenberg Foundation’s Director of Special Initiatives and Board Liaison. David Conforti, Ellah Ronen, Lisa Cleri Reale and Ruben Gonzales and make up the rest of the LA n Sync team. You can learn more about us here.
You’ll see additional changes in the future, but if you have any suggestions, please let us know. We’re always open to hearing your ideas about how we can work together more effectively for Greater Los Angeles.
Long Beach Promise Zone Bid
Last year LA n Sync supported the City of Los Angeles and the nonprofit Youth Policy Institute’s winning bid for a Promise Zones designation. As of October 2014, that designation had already helped garner grants totaling over $36 million from the federal government to counter poverty in Los Angeles. This year LA n Sync put its collaborative strength behind the City of Long Beach’s bid to become one of the next federal Promise Zones. Organizations in Long Beach have recently won several awards, including:
- $21 million from the California Career Pathways Trust
- $1.5 million from the U.S Department of Labor’s Face Forward program
- Selection by the U.S. Department of Justice to join the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, which allows the city to apply for federal grants
LA n Sync was committed to helping Long Beach build on these successes by supporting their Promise Zones application. Beginning in September, LA n Sync provided technical assistance, a Letter of Support and funding for a grant writer. The application, which was submitted on November 20, was spearheaded by new City of Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and his staff.
The proposed Promise Zone area has an overall poverty rate of 41 percent, much higher than the application’s minimum requirement of 33 percent. If successful, Long Beach will receive preferred access to certain competitive federal grants and programs, a liaison to help navigate federal resources and full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members “to recruit and manage volunteers to strengthen the capacity of Promise Zone partners."
Hosting the Secretary of Education
In October, Washington came to Los Angeles, one of six Roundtables they attended across the country, to learn about LA’s innovative programs surrounding early learning.
In partnership with First 5 LA, The Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Advancement Project and the White House Domestic Policy Council, LA n Sync hosted Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and 40 key cross-sector leaders for a roundtable discussion.
The discussion demonstrated Angelenos’ collective commitment to early learning. Furthermore, the convening helped strengthen the California Department of Education’s application for a $170 million Preschool Expansion Grant, which was supported by LA n Sync in partnership with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Should the application succeed, LAUSD and its partners will receive $27.6 million for preschool expansion over 4 years.
After the roundtable, Secretary Duncan said,
“We just left a remarkable roundtable, and ... the amount of talent, the level of commitment, the amount of collaboration might be unprecedented. If you guys can help to lead the nation where we need to go, a state that has one in eight children going to school here, a community that is increasingly diverse, increasingly minority, increasingly immigrant families, which, guess what, is exactly where the nation is going ... think about the opportunity for LA to help break through.” President Obama will announce the recipients of the Preschool Expansion Grants at the White House Summit on Early Education on December 10.
Happy Holidays to everyone. Here’s to a successful 2015 for Los Angeles.