34 Collaborative Change Initiatives in Southern California

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.29.24 AMIn addition to serving existing collaborative change efforts in Southern California as a consultant, I’m also researching other initiatives working to bring together a broad cross-section of stakeholders together to create positive change in the region. Below is what I have identified so far. If you know of other collaborative change initiatives in Southern California, please let me know and I will add them to this list (thanks!). Note that collaboration comes in many forms, funded in a variety of ways:

First a quick note, I use the term “collaborative change initiatives”, but there’s plenty of other related terms out there: “Collective Impact“, “Inter-organizational Relations“, Collaboration, Networks, Cooperation, “Transorganization Development“, Coopetition and the list goes on. Generally, all these terms describe when a diverse set of organizations work on something larger they can not accomplish on their own. Descriptions for the collaborations below are taken from their websites.

Alliance for Community Transit-LA, ACT-LA (20+ organizations working together on a shared vision): The Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles strives to create community transit – just, equitable, sustainable transit systems and neighborhoods for ALL people in Los Angeles, placing the interests of low-income communities and communities of color first as we create a more sustainable city.  

Arts for All (Collaboration launched by LA County Board of Supervisors): Arts for All is the dynamic, county-wide collaboration working to create vibrant classrooms, schools, communities and economies through the restoration of all arts disciplines into the core curriculum for each of our 1.6 million public K-12 students. Arts for All mobilizes diverse stakeholders including policymakers and local leadership, school district leaders and teachers, the arts community, artists, advocates, funders, business leaders, parents, students and community leaders.

Best Start (14 community initiatives funded by First 5 Los Angeles): Where we grow up matters. It can determine if we have access to healthy food, safe places to play and quality medical and child care and ultimately determine whether a child will survive or truly thrive as they grow into an adult. Through Best Start, parents and community leaders work together to build foundations for infants and young children, making our communities stronger.

Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (also in South LA & Boyle Heights, along with 11 other communities around the state, funded by the California Endowment): Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (BHCLB) is committed to building a community where: health care and prevention resources are available for all children, school attendance increases, the childhood obesity epidemic is reversed and youth violence is reduced. Every day, policy decisions are made that shape our communities and the way the look, feel and impact us. Ultimately, these policies impact our health and we’re here to make sure that working together, we can help make the right decisions for our communities.

Clean Tech Los Angeles (supported by the City of LA): CleanTech LA brings together business, government, and academia to grow the cleantech sector in Los Angeles, promoting sustainability and economic growth.

Clean Up, Green UP (Collaboration funded by the Liberty Hill Foundation): The Clean Up Green Up campaign aims to transform Los Angeles communities most impacted by industrial pollution into vibrant and healthy places for families to live. Specifically, the campaign proposes to create “green zones” in the City of Los Angeles. The Clean Up Green Up campaign is sponsored by four grassroots organizations, and is supported by organizations, businesses and individuals throughout the Los Angeles region, who recognize that only when you begin to address the problems where they are the worst, can you improve conditions for all Angelenos.

Council for Watershed Health: (Nonprofit that takes the lead on collaboration with local stakeholders) Mission: To facilitate an inclusive consensus process to enhance the economic, social, and ecological health of the region’s watersheds through education, research, and planning. The Council will strive to be a leader among leaders, working with government, business, academia, and organizations to maintain and improve capacity and ensure the success of Vision 2025.

Empowerment Congress (Civic engagement initiative in the LA County’s 2nd Supervisorial District):”the Empowerment Congress is here to empower and engage all members of our diverse communities to ensure our collective voice is heard…the Empowerment Congress is a dynamic partnership among neighborhood groups, residents, nonprofit organizations, businesses, religious institutions, and community leaders.

Flintridge Center (Foundation fostering collaborative change efforts): Flintridge is committed to working in partnership with the community. We believe in fostering an environment of inclusiveness that engages diverse voices and constituencies. Taking a collaborative approach in all our endeavors, we help people come together to share ideas, expertise and resources, and to join in cooperative action to reach common goals.

First 5 LA (Local Commission funded from a state-wide ballot initiative placing a tax on tobacco products): Our strategic, research and community partners are an intregal part of the First 5 LA family. We believe in collaboration and cooperation to achieve the most significant impact. The health care and service providers, community organizations, academic institutions and media outlets we work with have been indispensable to our research and outreach.

Healthy Eating, Active Living Initiative (Funded by the California Endowment – no longer in operation): In March 2005, The California Endowment selected six communities across the state as demonstration sites. Each HEAC site has a collaborative consisting of a school district, broad-based community-based organization and the local public health department. Through a variety of strategies and tactics each of these communities is working toward making sustainable changes in the school, after school, neighborhoods, health care, and marketing and advertising sectors that support healthy eating and opportunities to engage in physical activity.

HEAL Zones (Funded by Kaiser Permanente): This program is designed to help make healthy choices more accessible to people in underserved communities. Kaiser Permanente developed the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Initiative program to support healthy behaviors and reduce obesity through clinical practice and sustained community-level change. Today, there are ten HEAL Zones and Partnership Grants in Southern California including one in Long Beach and another in Hollywood.

L.A. Compact (Collective Impact supported by a federal grant): The L.A. Compact is a bold commitment by Los Angeles leaders from the education, business, government, labor, and non-profit sectors to transform education outcomes from cradle to career, ensuring that today’s youth have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in a 21st century global workforce.

L.A. THRIVES (supported by the California Community Foundation): We are a collaborative of organizations committed to equitable TOD — transit­oriented development that prioritizes investments in the production and preservation of affordable homes, protects the social fabric of neighbor­ hoods, and allows residents to walk, bike and take transit to shops and ser­vices.

Little Green Fingers (Collaborative project funded by First 5 LA): First 5 LA awarded a five-year grant to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to help address the obesity epidemic in Los Angeles by creating a children’s garden collaborative for young children and their families called “Little Green Fingers.” The initiative will construct eight community gardens in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County between July 2012 and July 2014. The Little Green Fingers team includes: First 5 LA, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Nicole Gatto, GDML, UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program and The Better World Group.

Los Angeles Collaborative for Healthy and Active Children (Coordinated by the LA County Dept. of Public Health): The Los Angeles Collaborative for Healthy Active Children is a dynamic partnership of over 150 organizations in the Los Angeles area who are dedicated to improving the health of children and families in Los Angeles County. The Collaborative strives to promote healthy eating, physical activity and positive lifestyles in underserved communities.

Los Angeles Partnership for Early Childhood Investment (supported by multiple funders): Founded in 2003, the LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment (the Partnership) is a philanthropic funding collaborative comprised of some of the country’s largest private foundations, impactful family foundations and public funders of early childhood development. The LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment is dedicated to realizing the potential of every child in Los Angeles County.  We are a diverse collaboration of funders and government agencies that promotes innovations to prepare children for success when it is most effective and impactful for us all: in the earliest years.

Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood (Youth Policy Institute, a local nonprofit, coordinating a larger collaborative change effort funded by the federal government): The centerpiece of the Los Angeles Promise Neighborhood (LAPN) is an innovative public-private partnership that blends diverse funding streams around a core set of outcomes and objectives. The LAPN is transforming 19 neighborhood schools into full-service community schools while opening six Promise Neighborhood Centers and dozens of satellite centers. More than 60 partners have signed MOUs in collaboration.

Los Angeles Regional Food Policy Council (Collective Impact initiated by the Mayor’s office in LA): The LAFPC is a collaborative network working to make Southern California a good food region for everyone- where food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable. Through policy creation and cooperative relationships, its goals are to reduce hunger, improve public health, increase equity in our communities, create good jobs, stimulate local economic activity, and foster environmental stewardship.

Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (UCLA Institute for the Environment led collaborative): Southern California’s leading municipal governments, utilities, agencies, universities and organizations united to form the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC). LARC is built to achieve three goals: (1) Climate Action, (2) Promote a Green Economy, (3) Build Sustainable Communities.

LA 2050 (Using social networking to connect issues, funded by the Goldhirsch Foundation): LA2050 unites citizens, stakeholders, and organizations to address our region’s toughest challenges. LA2050 is rooted in a vision of a successful Los Angeles—a healthy, thriving, and desirable place to live. LA2050 looks at the health of the region as it exists today along eight well-defined indicators.

LA n Sync (Collaboration supported by the Annenberg Foundation): Winning more money for Los Angeles through a new model of public-private collaboration.     It will provide a creative clearinghouse, to keep all of Los Angeles—the public and private and philanthropic sectors—focused like a laser beam on opportunities for funding and innovation as they arise. It can serve as a centralized marketplace for ideas—so we can keep refining our common goals, and go after them as cohesively and aggressively as possible. And LA n Sync can be a platform for a much broader civic movement—a new and stronger civic identity that’s worthy of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County’s Strategic Plan for Economic Development (supported by the California Stewardship Council): In 2009, the LAEDC completed the development of . They began the development of the Strategic Plan through a very public, year-long, grassroots process that brought together over 1,080 stakeholders from business, government, labor, education, environmental and other community-based organizations to identify and build consensus around a set of economic development priorities to strengthen the economy, improve the environment and promote broader prosperity across all our communities. The result of this very public, consensus-building process was a community-developed plan that identified 12 objectives and 52 strategies to achieve five core aspirational goals critical to achieving their shared vision of ensuring a strong, diverse and sustainable economy for L.A. County’s residents and communities.

Magnolia Place Community Initiative (launched by the Children’s Bureau): Magnolia Place Community Initiative which unites more than 40 other nonprofit community organizations in an effort to create sustainable change for families, build neighborhood resiliency and become a national model for other vulnerable communities. Through this partnership, the Magnolia Place Community Initiative will serve families well beyond the walls of the Center by transforming the community.

Move LA (nonprofit that takes a collaborative, coalition building approach): Move LA’s mission is to build a broad constituency that will advocate for the development of a comprehensive, diverse, robust, clean, and financially sound public transportation system for Los Angeles County and champion strategies to accelerate its implementation.

North East Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative (funded by a federal government grant): The NELA Riverfront Collaborative aims to remake the Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) River and its surrounding communities into a focal point of community revitalization, environmental stewardship, sustainable civic engagement, and economic growth for the entire city. Partners: the City Community Development Department, Workforce Investment Board, Department of City Planning, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Urban Environmental Policy Institute, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s Metamorphosis Project, KCET Departures, LA River Revitalization Corporation, Tierra West Advisors Inc., and the LA Conservation Corps.

OneLA: Founded in 2004, OneLA is the largest and most diverse broad-based organizing effort in Los Angeles County. OneLA is an organization of organizations – 65 congregations, schools, nonprofit organizations and labor unions intentionally working together across cultural, geographic, and socialeconomic boundaries. Through our institutions, we teach the practical skills of public engagement to everyday people. As a result, OneLA creates and sustains a vibrant democratic culture in LA County, which builds the power necessary to effect change around issues that matter most to our families.

People St.: People St offers communities within the City of Los Angeles the opportunity to transform underused areas of LA’s largest public asset – our 6,500 miles of city streets – into active, accessible public space. People St is a program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles Departments of Public Works and City Planning, the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

Reach Partners in Health (Community Health Councils was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead this initiative): A three-year project to develop and implement “replicable and scalable” policy, systems, and environmental changes in South Los Angeles – an urban, racially and ethnically diverse and underserved community. The project collaborates with CHC, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and University of Southern California researchers. It is designed to reduce disparities in obesity rates and hypertension for African Americans and Hispanic/Latino residents in the West Adams, Baldwin Hills, and South Los Angeles Community Plan Area of South Los Angeles.

Second District STD Control Plan (Supported by LA County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’ office consisting of stakeholders, service providers and community leaders):  The Second District STD Control Plan embraces a comprehensive community-engaged strategy that seeks to give youth the best available guidance and tools to enable them to make better choices regarding their physical, mental and sexual health. A clinical approach alone will not be effective in preventing STD without addressing the underlying issues of self-worth and self-respect.  Through this initiative, we want to enable the youth to value themselves enough to take action to protect themselves from high-risk behaviors.

The IMPACT Project (University led collaboration with local grassroots organizations): The Trade, Health & Environment Impact Project is a community-academic partnership focused on reducing the impacts of international trade on health and community life.  THE Impact Project seeks to develop an information network to share knowledge on the health and community impacts of ports and goods movement and appropriate strategies for preventing and reducing those impacts.

United for Health (Community Health Councils was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead this initiative): A community-level effort to reduce chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes serving Boyle Heights, Central Los Angeles, Pacoima, Southeast Los Angeles, and Wilmington.

Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles (a membership based coalition): The VPC is a network of public and nonprofit agencies who promote a prevention-based approach to violence. The mission of the VPC is to unify and strengthen voices of member organizations and individuals committed to ending the epidemic of violence, by providing education, resources and policy advocacy.

Vision 2021 LA: A Model Environmental Sustainability Agenda for Los Angeles’ Next Mayor and City Council (A report that engaged a cross-section of stakeholders): Vision 2021 LA is a proposal to put Los Angeles on the path to becoming the greenest big city in America. Recognizing that the next Mayor of Los Angeles will have the power to shape the City’s environmental future, environmental faculty and researchers at the UCLA School of Law and UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, with input from local stakeholders and other environmental experts, developed Vision 2021 LA. The plan does note: Economic and social sustainability experts should collaborate with City agencies to create complementary sustainable city plan components that expand upon and enhance Vision 2021 LA.

About Ron Milam

I work to build the capacity of organizations and collaborative change initiatives in Southern California through facilitation, training and coaching. I specialize in the areas of organization development, collaboration, strategic planning, team building, board development and fundraising. Since 2005, I have served over 100 organizations.
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