Liberty Hill to Honor Michele Prichard with Founders Award

by Anonymous (not verified) on March 18, 2015

Liberty Hill Foundation's annual Upton Sinclair Dinner is just a little over a month away.  Taking place on April 21, the event honors Angelenos whose work in social justice has left such an indelible mark on those it aims to help that it deserves honoring and recognition.

Liberty Hill presents its annual Founders Award to individuals whose philosophy and philanthropy embody the spirit of “Change. Not Charity.”

Michele Prichard

The Founders Award honors those whose philanthropic pursuits exemplify the motto of our mission. We are pleased to present this distinction to our own Michele Prichard. Michele's role in broadening the scope of the foundation world and key funders to support social justice issues over the last 25 years has resulted in millions of dollars in resources for community organizing and advocacy in Los Angeles.

Michele is the Director of Common Agenda at the Liberty Hill Foundation. Today, Liberty Hill’s reputation as one of the country’s most innovative public foundations can be attributed significantly to her early and ongoing leadership.

As Liberty Hill’s executive director from 1989 to 1997, Michele spearheaded the foundation’s expansion into new grantmaking and donor education programs focused on poverty, racial justice and environmental health. Before coming to Liberty Hill, Michele worked at the Southern California Ecumenical Council during the 1980s on homelessness, peace and human rights issues where she learned about grassroots organizing and coalition-building from the Rev. Eugene Boutilier. During the late 1970s, at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, she worked as a research assistant to the renowned environmental scientist, Dr. Barry Commoner, whose mentorship Michele attributes to her lasting commitment to social change.

As director of the Common Agenda program, Michele guides collaborative efforts that seek to change public policy through a combination of cutting edge research, alliance-building and community organizing. Currently, she facilitates the LA Collaborative for Environmental Health & Justice which is working to establish Green Zones in toxic hotspot communities. Michele is co-author of Hidden Hazards: A Call to Action for Healthy, Livable Communities (2010) and LA Rising: The 1992 Civil Unrest, the Arc of Social Justice Organizing, and the Lessons for Today’s Movement Building (2012). In 2014, she led the UCLA Community Scholars program which coordinated Urban Planning graduate students and community leaders to research climate change reduction strategies in low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Over the last 25 years, Michele has worked to expand the philanthropic community’s commitment to social and environmental justice by serving in a leadership role for the California Health and Environmental Funders Network, LA Urban Funders, the Southern California Association for Philanthropy, the Funding Exchange and the Neighborhood Funders Group. In April 2012, Michele received the Distinguished Service Award from the Council on Foundations, the association’s highest honor.

Michele was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2011 to the board of the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the Port communities of Wilmington and San Pedro. Since 2012, Michele has served as a senior advisor to California Calls, a statewide alliance of social justice organizations working for progressive tax reform through voter engagement. She also served on the boards of Venice Community Housing and the GREEN LA Coalition, and has served as a Senior Fellow in the UCLA School of Public Affairs since 2007, where she earned her M.A. in Urban Planning in 1989.

Michele celebrated her 25th marriage anniversary to Rod Lane this year, and is the proud mother of Taylor Lane (21) and Ian Lane (19).

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