Jordan Downs – Seizing Opportunity Together
We have exciting news. This month, LA n Sync raised matching grant pledges of $1.325 million in support of a cross-sector plan to revitalize the Watts neighborhood of Jordan Downs. The effort was designed to strengthen a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant application in order to launch the transformation of one of the most disadvantaged communities in our region and our state. Philanthropy as a Team Sport Six LA n Sync partners led the Jordan Downs effort: the Achieving American Family Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Boone Family Foundation, the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation and the Weingart Foundation. Each of the six foundations made pledges to support the sustainability of the project’s service component. Overall, 40 Los Angeles institutions signed on to support the project in one way or another. We thank everyone who responded so generously in terms of their time, commitment and pledges. The Potential to Transform a Community The Jordan Downs Revitalization project aims to transform an area with 70 percent unemployment into an economically-healthy urban village. The master plan includes 1,370 units of mixed income housing, a new community center, a new retail center and new open space. The project will also provide comprehensive on-site services to help residents move toward self-sufficiency. City officials say winning the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant is the key to bringing the project to fruition. LA n Sync’s pledge will make the grant proposal stand out among the 40 or 50 competing applications, many of which lack similar matching commitments. For more on the $700 million Jordan Downs community redevelopment plan, visit www.jordandowns.org. Paving the Way for Future Federal Grants The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) is the Obama Administration’s place-based strategy “to revitalize neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity.” Under the NRI umbrella, there are five funding opportunities: 1) The Healthy Food Financing Initiative; 2) The Health Center Program; 3) Choice Neighborhoods; 4) The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program; and 5) Promise Neighborhoods. Last December, NRI awarded a $30 million Promise Neighborhoods grant to a Los Angeles coalition led by the Youth Policy Institute (YPI). The YPI story since then is indicative of both the potential these NRI grants hold, and what LA n Sync is making possible. In nine months, the YPI coalition's initial success has allowed them, with help from LA n Sync, to secure over $1 million for a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant -- and to submit applications for a Choice Neighborhoods planning grant, which would bring another $30 million to the Los Angeles area. In addition, because YPI received a Promise Neighborhoods grant, they and the City of Los Angeles are the only entities in the region that can apply in 2013 to President Obama’s latest program, the Promise Zones Initiative. This initiative aims to revitalize high-poverty communities by attracting private investment through tax incentives, and by offering these designated communities preference and assistance in applying for any federal funding opportunity. So for Jordan Downs, a Choice Neighborhood grant could be the stepping stone to a Promise Neighborhoods grant, a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant – and by 2014, an invitation to apply for Promise Zones, too.
August LA n Sync Grant SubmissionsAt its latest meeting, the Bell Commission received some excellent news. Three LA n Sync-supported grant proposals (totaling $9 million) were submitted in August. Here’s a quick recap:
- The Wellness Center
The Los Angeles Department of Health Services, together with 14 nonprofit partners, applied for $3 million from the federal Health Innovation Awards program to extend services from The Wellness Center. The grant would fund improved clinical outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses and deliver cost savings through improved client health.
Middle School Mathematics iPad App
A partnership of California State University, Northridge and several LA County school districts is seeking $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education (i3 Development Grant) to redesign course content through the use of a new iPad app. This grant would improve opportunities for students preparing for college and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
The California Emerging Technology Fund, two LAUSD middle schools and several nonprofits collaborated on an application for $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education (i3 Development Grant) for a program to improve student learning by increasing parent involvement.