Here in Los Angeles, LA2050 is a movement.
So, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the LA2050 Grants Challenge – more on what this is in the second question – we asked soulful social impact filmmakers Eve Van Dyke and Cassandra Giraldo to spend time with a trio of the past winners of the LA2050 Grants Challenge who worked tirelessly to help make Los Angeles an even better place.
The resulting short video, “Join The Movement,” introduces viewers to:
The video also features commentary from Tara Roth, president of the Goldhirsh Foundation and its LA2050 initiative, and concludes with a montage of portraits of dozens of the extraordinary people who do urgent work every day in communities throughout the vast county of Los Angeles, California.
The video’s goals were to: Highlight the work of the grantees; show the scope and scale that their collective works have achieved during the past nine years; and, catalyze the general public to vote in the 2023 LA2050 Grants Challenge, (spoiler: they did) and the social impact community to apply for grants (spoiler: they did).
LA2050 is a public initiative of the Goldhirsh Foundation, a private family foundation. LA2050 drives and tracks progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles. We are centered around five unique goals that in 2050 Los Angeles will be the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live. The Goldhirsh Foundation connects the dots between the best emerging innovations and the financial, social, and human capital to make them thrive.
Each year, LA2050 gives $1 million+ to nonprofits and other social impact organizations making a better Los Angeles for all through the LA2050 Grants Challenge. But, we take a different approach to grantmaking: we ask Angelenos to determine the issue areas that will receive funding – from homelessness and income inequality to park access – through voting.
This year, close to 12,000 Angelenos cast 83,000 votes for what matters to them. Then, we opened applications in search of the best ideas to make an impact on the top-voted issue areas as well as those sponsored by this year’s funding partners. A record-breaking 615 submissions poured in. Winners will be announced on September 28. Six other foundations – our most ever – have signed on as additional funding partners, and will be contributing an estimated $2 million additional dollars to the funding pool. An estimated 42 organizations – again, our highest number ever – will in total receive an approximate total of $3 million.
2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the LA2050 Grants Challenge. We’ve made 125 grants during the first nine years, to the ideas and issues that the general public voted on via our website, mobile experience, and in-person pop-ups at iconic locations. More than 680,000 votes have been cast overall. Nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, and government agencies have submitted more than 2,100 applications to the LA2050 Grants Challenge, detailing more than 3,100 plans to make Los Angeles County an even better place.
It took our getting to this 10th year anniversary to pause for a moment and reflect on these numbers. But the numbers don’t tell the moving stories of need, and of the caring, creative people who are making a massive difference. Together, they embody a movement.
We set out then to celebrate their work, and to catalyze other people to Join The Movement. When we met director Eve Van Dyke, watched her reels, talked to her about her documentary work and amplifying the voices of people who aren’t always in the media forefront, we knew right away she could help tell these movement stories. Eve introduced us well to the extremely talented and likewise equity- and impact-minded cinematographer, Cassandra Giraldo. That duo worked with our small LA2050 team (five full time employees and four part-time fellows) to learn about the 125 past grantees, and then determine how to honor the spirit of them all, while focusing on just a few, for best storytelling purposes.
The video set out to highlight the work of the grantees; show the scope and scale that their collective works have achieved during the past nine years; and, catalyze the general public to vote in the 2023 LA2050 Grants Challenge, and the social impact community to apply for grants.
The video has been very well received. Join the Movement debuted to a packed house to strong applause and many smiles and perhaps as many tears. A short clip of Join the Movement was LA2050’s second-most-watched video of all time. The organizations featured in the video have shared positive feedback. And, earlier this year, Join the Movement won a Telly Awards Gold Winner in the General-Social Impact category.
[LA2050 itself was named Nonprofit Organization of the Year (Growing), by the Los Angeles Business Journal earlier this year; and won a 2023 Shorty Award for best newsletter.]
Join the Movement served as the kick-off to the 2023 LA2050 Grants Challenge, and the general public responded to this year’s LA2050 Grants Challenge by voting 83,000 times. And, then, a record-shattering 615 nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, and government agencies submitted. Six other foundations – our most ever – have joined the movement as funding partners, and our highest number ever of grants will be awarded on September 28.
The video is evergreen; we hope it can continue to be of service to the organizations featured, and as inspiration and record to the communities of Los Angeles County – and far beyond.