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connect / 2015

The CoachArt Student/Coach Matching App

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by CoachArt

The CoachArt Matching App will modernize the way chronically ill students are paired into arts and athletics mentorships and expand CoachArt’s transformative community to include exponentially more families. Our algorithmic matching app will reduce 99+% of the overhead currently needed to make a successful matches, from an average matching process of 8 hours down to approximately 5 minutes. In two years, that will scale annually to provide a projected 3,000 more students in Los Angeles.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Implement a pilot or new project

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

Los Angeles is booming. From the re-emergence of a thriving downtown to having the third largest technological ecosystem in the nation, Los Angeles is a force to be reckoned with. Residents continue to find innovative ways to connect to the community and expand their impact. That community importance has also been prevalent in the world of volunteerism in the city. About 21% of Angeleno residents volunteer – giving 283.3 million hours of their time amounting to $6.4 billion of services contributed per year.

CoachArt wants to revolutionize how volunteers are matched to individuals in need by creating an app to speed up the process. We’re a nonprofit that creates a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness.

In 2012, the University of Michigan reported that 15-18% of children nationwide were living with a chronic illness. Chronic illnesses disproportionately impact under-resourced communities with one in four children below the poverty line suffering from a chronic illness.

These startling numbers motivate the dedicated staff at CoachArt to improve the lives of these students by matching them with volunteers who share their interests. In 2014 alone, over 90% of our CoachArt students confirmed that CoachArt allowed them to express what they think and feel creatively.

Currently, CoachArt serves 1,300 students and their families in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and are on pace to provide over 20,000 hours of free lessons to our participants by the end of 2015. Hundreds more students are on CoachArt’s waiting list as they work to recruit new volunteers to meet ever-growing student needs. We rely heavily on the dedicated program coordinators to make matches, which can take up to 8 hours per match. By implementing a matching app system, the process can be decreased significantly to only 5 minutes per match.

The core insight is that the quality of potential matches can be algorithmically predicted in the same way technology predicts matches for employment, dating, and advertising; significantly reducing overhead. This will bring a nuance to the nonprofit sector and transform local matching programs.

We anticipate an 8,800% increase once fully integrated at CoachArt. Moreover, our “moonshot” includes the creation of a replicable tool that will empower any current and future organizations with a matching model in their organization helping increase volunteerism rates in LA.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

CoachArt recently launched a new performance evaluation tool that measures the impact of our program activities on each student we serve across five key metrics: skills learned, sense of community, self-expression/self-empowerment, positive attitudes toward self/confidence, and health attitudes. We anticipate showing gains in all five measurements in nearly 100% of the students we serve. The CoachArt Student/Coach Matching Tool will pair approximately 30,000 additional students (an 8,800% increase) affected by chronic illness per year with adults who will engage them in an 8-hour arts or athletics mentorship. The health impacts of those mentorships will vary based on the disease and the activity. For instance, among cancer patients, 1 hour of art therapy causes statistically significant reductions in 8 out of 9 qualitative symptoms. As for athletics, 1 hour per day of sports reduces depression among youth by 8%.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support