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Environmental Justice

Two Liberty Hill Donors Effect Real Change Through Philanthropy

bronsons (From left to right) Melissa Bersofsky Rodgers, Director of Development and Alumni Relations UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; Daniel Lee; Harold and Stephanie Bronson; VC Powe, Executive Director of External Programs UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; Paula Litt, Secretary Community Activist Liberty Hill Board of Directors

 

 

If L.A. is a city of many centers coming together, then Harold and Stephanie Bronson are quintessential Angelenos. They put their philanthropy to work in multiple centers, thoughtfully considering the impact of each of their donations, and they also craft their own initiatives to bring people and organizations together.

As Liberty Hill supporters and donor-advised account holders, their most recent innovation has been the creation of a paid internship for a UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs graduate student to work with Liberty Hill.

“Organizations and people can learn from one another and this presented a good opportunity,” says Harold. “We met Frank Gilliam, former dean of the Luskin School, at a Liberty Hill retreat. So therefore we ‘met’ the Luskin through Liberty Hill and then, kind of flipping it back, funded the internship.”

Liberty Hill's 2014 Fund for Change Grants

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By Margarita Ramirez

This year Liberty Hill's  Fund for Change is investing $864,000 in the most effective community organizers working on economic justice and LGBTQ justice in L.A. How do we know? For the past six months, Liberty Hill staff members and Community Funding Board members have reviewed applications, conducted site visits and interviews, and met in collaborative decision-making sessions. The total list includes 32 organizations receiving one-year grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 and three groups receiving their second installments of two-year grants. Six of the 2015 grant recipient groups are seed organizations. Congratulations! Liberty Hill grants are accelerating concrete social change led by the people impacted by injustice.

An Inside Look at Liberty Hill’s Fund For Change Granting Process

By Miranda Chartoff

photo 2 Community Funding Board: (Top row left to right) Shukry Cattan, Elissa Perry, Eric Wat, Rabbi Heather Miller (Middle Row left to right) Xiomara Corpeno, Stacey Strongarone, Jacky Guerrero, Yamileth Guevara (Bottom Row left to right) Regina Freer, Jennifer Ito, Hal Barron

It’s that time of year again! Liberty Hill is in the midst of its primary competitive grantmaking program, Fund for Change. With the help of the Community Funding Board (CFB), Liberty Hill will soon decide which grassroots leaders will receive grants from the Fund for Change in 2014-2015. The CFB is a diverse group of volunteers who have organizing experience and strong perspectives around specific social issues. The CFB acts as a “think tank” to help Liberty Hill better assess the effectiveness of applicant organizations and the landscapes in which they work. The CFB plays an essential role in the five-month process of choosing which organizations to support financially.

To convene the CFB, which has been part of Liberty Hill's grantmaking process since its founding, Liberty Hill reaches out to organizers, academics, donor-activists, and other experts representing the great diversity of Los Angeles. This year, returning members of the CFB are Regina Freer, Saul Sarabia, Stacey Strongarone, Jennifer Ito and Eric Wat. Serving for the first time are Hal Barron, Jackie Guerrero,  Shukry Cattan, Xiomara Corpeno, Yamileth Guevara, Maria Loya, Rabbi Heather Miller, and Elissa Perry.  Members commit to an orientation day, a number of site visits to applicant organizations, completion of an assessment tool for a selection of applicants, and a report-back meeting for discussion and debriefing about each potential grantee.

ANNOUNCING THE UCLA COMMUNITY SCHOLARS NEW REPORT ON A GREENER LA

“Envisioning a Greener L.A.?”

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Turning Los Angeles’ toxic hotspot neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities has moved one step closer to reality with the recent release of the UCLA Luskin 2014 Community Scholars’ report, “Envisioning a Greener LA:  Environmental and Economic Sustainability for Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington”.

How to Become a Government Influencer Without Being a Politician

By Jonathan Skurnik

Have you ever wondered how you might influence local government from the inside without running for elected office? That’s what an impressive group of grassroots leaders came to Liberty Hill to learn about on April 17th. In the inaugural Wally Marks Leadership Institute For Change training on city commissions for grassroots leaders, eleven community activists learned about the benefits and perils of pursuing a city commission slot from public service veterans who are currently serving—or have served—in that capacity, including Liberty Hill’s own President and CEO Shane Goldsmith.

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Michelle Lin, Liberty Hill Program Assistant, got the group up to speed on the more than 50 Los Angeles commissions by hosting a heart-pounding Jeopardy game where “contestants” picked categories and searched for answers on cheat sheets. For instance: When a contestant chose “Protecting the Most Vulnerable” for $300, Michelle stated: “If you come across a building without disability access, this is who you consult.” Pressing their imaginary button, the winner volunteered, “What is the commission on Disability?”

After the game show winners received their prizes, Laurie Jones Neighbors, movement and leadership strategist and consultant to Liberty Hill, explained that City Commissions  were established as a response to the “big boss” era of government in the late 19th Century. Commissioners, it was hoped, would counterbalance the excess power of the political bosses with citizen power.