November 2013

LAnSync td img {display: block;}       November 15, 2013 The Latest from LA n Sync Los Angeles leaders step up to support an historic bid that could leverage half a billion dollars of funding from the federal government; we get behind Green Dot's $30 million Race to the Top; and the LA County Board of Supervisors increases the County's involvement with LA n Sync.

Promise Zones - The Ultimate Funding Relationship

This week, at a convening hosted by LA n Sync, leaders from across key sectors in our region committed to supporting a joint bid by the City of Los Angeles and the Youth Policy Institute (YPI) to become one of the first five Promise Zones in U.S. history. At stake is nothing less than a very special relationship with the biggest community funder in the country, the federal government. “Today we have a moment in history, an inflection point for us to decide to do things differently,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in his keynote remarks at the convening. One of Mayor Garcetti’s top advisors, Rick Jacobs, put it this way: “LA n Sync is the fabric that creates what we hope will be this winning Promise Zone because it weaves together public and private collaboration.” One of President Obama’s priorities for his second term, the Promise Zones initiative aims to help revitalize high-poverty communities. Only five communities will be designated Promise Zones this year – 20 in total through 2016. Each will receive on-the-ground technical assistance from a multi-agency federal task force. But, perhaps more importantly, these designated communities will be given preference in applying for any subsequent federal funding opportunity. This is a key point. Promise Zones doesn’t bestow just grants, it bestows extraordinary leverage to win future support. What might this advantage mean in terms of real grant dollars? LA n Sync did an analysis of most major federal grants. The result: over seven years, a Promise Zone designation has the potential to leverage more than $516 million in federal money. Even the chance to compete for the designation is an honor. This year, only 33 urban communities have that opportunity. YPI and the City of Los Angeles qualified by receiving a $20 million Promise Neighborhoods grant in 2012. LA n Sync is also preparing the way for a possible Promise Zone selection next year for Watts. Our support of the recent Jordan Downs Revitalization Project for a federal Choice Neighborhoods grant is the key. If Jordan Downs wins the $30 million award, it will also be eligible to seek Promise Zone status. (See our September newsletter for more.) Thus, the Promise Zones initiative offers a powerful proposition for us. If Los Angeles wins a Promise Zone designation, its special status with federal agencies will last for 10 years. The deadline for the Promise Zone application is November 26th – with winners announced by the end of the year.

HUD Secretary Donovan Cites LA As An Example

In a recent conference call with funders around the country, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan made a specific reference to the City of Los Angeles and YPI partnership. Secretary Donovan said Los Angeles offered an example of how the Promise Zones initiative could create “a team from all the key agencies that will make a difference in that promise zone…customized to what the needs of that neighborhood are.” “I was in Los Angeles…talking about Promise Zones, and there, what the mayor and neighborhood leaders are trying to do is build a tech‐focused job development effort, and so in addition to…working on a promise neighborhood, they would want to bring the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies that have technology‐focused grant opportunities and expertise into the conversation.”

Race To The Top – A $30 Million Opportunity For Green Dot

The Los Angeles-based charter school organization, Green Dot, has taken a big step forward in its quest for a major grant - with help from LA n Sync. Previously a finalist for a Race to the Top – District grant from the Department of Education, Green Dot recently filed an application that is longer than most blockbuster novels. Uniting more than 40 key Los Angeles organizations, LA n Sync not only pledged its support to the Green Dot plan, but also helped pay for grantwriting expenses. As the application ran 1,000 pages long, the per-page cost was quite reasonable. The Race to the Top – District competition encourages “transformative change within schools, targeted toward leveraging, enhancing, and improving classroom practices and resources,” according to the White House website. Green Dot, which operates 18 schools in Los Angeles including Locke High in Watts, seeks a $30 million, four-year grant. The money would enhance social studies and science courses, support further use of technology and strengthen support for college-bound students. The Department of Education will announce the winners of a total of $400 million in these grants by the end of the year.

Supervisors Vote On LA n Sync

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has taken a significant step to explore closer relations with LA n Sync. Proposed by Supervisors Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas and passed by a vote of the full board on November 5, the Motion asks the County’s CEO office:
  • To assess and explore partnership opportunities with LA n Sync – identifying shared philanthropic priorities and how these priorities might inform County strategy; and
  • To report on the feasibility of creating a new County position to function as a liaison with philanthropy on potential collaborations.
The County has had a representative on LA n Sync’s Workgroup and Bell Commission since the beginning of our pilot phase. But this week’s vote takes the involvement further – asking County representatives to report back specifically on the benefits to the County of funding opportunities arising from LA n Sync activities. We applaud the County Supervisors for their leadership and collaborative spirit. LA n Sync is devoted to building diverse partnerships to win major new funding for the region. Such a goal is inconceivable without the insights and participation of the County. Connect with us via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about LA n Sync's latest developments.