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Ready to Rise Impact Report Released

September 8, 2021
By Raymond Jimenez

Liberty Hill Foundation (Liberty Hill), and the California Community Foundation (CCF) recently released an annual report on their innovative youth development initiative, Ready to Rise: Expanding Opportunities for All L.A. County Youth (R2R).

The report looks at R2R’s strategies to transform the justice system and to reinvest in the health and well-being of historically excluded young people and their communities by increasing opportunities and resources for community-based youth development organizations that keep youth out of the legal system and help those in the system successfully transition back into the community.

R2R is a public-private partnership between CCF and Liberty Hill, which began in 2019 as a $3.2 million pilot program. By 2020, it had expanded to a more than $25 million multi-year initiative serving 49 youth development organizations and 7,854 youth.

The goal of R2R is to grow a robust countywide youth development ecosystem where all youth of color are positioned to succeed, learn, and thrive before any criminal justice system contact occurs.

“Ready to Rise is a prime example of the power of public-private partnerships to create innovative solutions to long-entrenched problems,” said Liberty Hill President & CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith. “They also allow us to move critical public funds quickly and more equitably into approaches that uplift the experience and knowledge of community organizations who are best positioned to meet the needs of young people.”

As the initiative enters its third year it has now grown to a $38 million dollar initiative providing critical funding for community-based services connecting Black, Brown and Native American youth with civic engagement, leadership development, arts, health and wellness, and academic and enrichment.

The R2R initiative has proven that working with a third-party intermediary to invest in the community gives Los Angeles County a quick and effective way to impact racial injustice. This type of partnership is now a primary recommendation of the proposed $300 million Measure J implementation process, which seeks to offer alternatives to incarceration through direct community investment.

As stated in the report, R2R has proven its ability to be an equitable, efficient, and responsive vehicle for distributing public dollars and growing the organizational capacity of youth service providers in L.A. County.

“Los Angeles County has one of the nation’s largest punitive systems when it comes to addressing youth violence,” said Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation.

We believe Ready to Rise can be a model for communities across the country in how to successfully replace traditional structures of punishment and incarceration with a whole child approach that meets the needs of our youth by offering academic, identity, socio-emotional, physical health, mental wellness and other youth development services.
Antonia Hernández
President and CEO of the California Community Foundation

To date, R2R has served nearly 12,000 youth from priority populations such as justice-involved, foster youth, LGBTQ+, unhoused youth, and other youth dealing with significant challenges. More than $18.7 million dollars has been granted to youth-serving organizations—69% of which are led by people of color, including Black and Native American leaders.

R2R grantees have also participated in more than 2,000 hours of training, coaching, and planning to enhance their organizational capacity—enabling a collective 15% median growth in their budgets, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

The impact on youth has been improved educational and personal wellness outcomes, reduction in system involvement, and expanded access to positive developmental environments. Additionally, R2R has enhanced the collaboration of youth-serving organizations, and strengthened their ability to secure government funds.