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connect / 2016

Front Line Leaders Academy – Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by People For the American Way Foundation

FLLA provides values-based training to young people seeking social change with a vision to create a system of truly representative government that gives voice for youth and marginalized communities.


Please describe your project proposal.

Building on a successful two-year pilot, Front Line Leaders Academy will recruit 15-20 young people who are seeking positive social change but are underrepresented in local leadership - such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ youth. Fellows participate in four three-day weekend trainings over the course of the six months to cover a wide range of skills and tactics. By graduation Fellows will have developed a wide range of organizing skills that will help them to be effective local leaders.

Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Voting rates

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

  • County of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?

Front Line Leaders Academy Los Angeles (FLLA LA) will train 15-20 young leaders dedicated to creating lasting change in their communities throughout Los Angeles County. FLLA LA covers a wide range of civic participation leadership skills: how to be an effective campaign manager, finance director, communications director, field organizer, and even candidate. FLLA LA equips young people with the skills and confidence to become effective leaders, and prepares them to work on a campaign in any capacity as well as to assume key roles in non-profits, local government, and community leadership. In the application and selection process, we look for applicants who are committed and have the potential to create change in their communities – now and over the long-term. Since 2006, 161 participants have graduated from the program nationally – 70 percent of FLLA graduates have gone on to hold leadership roles in nonprofits, community groups, or in an elected official’s office; 70 percent have increased their civic participation through work on issue or political campaigns; and 14 percent have run for office (65 percent of these won their races).

Participants in past FLLA LA classes are already making strides toward many CONNECT metrics.

Many FLLA alumni are working toward increased voting rates. A recent FLLA alum is serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for a southern California Congressional campaign, using the field and communications training from FLLA to increase voter turnout in the district.

Other FLLA LA ’16 alumni hosted a meeting to sign up participants for Vote Allies. Vote Allies matches eligible voters with those who cannot vote (undocumented immigrants, citizens with a past felony, etc) to educate each other on the issues and process; to find common ground on the issues and candidates to “share” a vote. Vote Allies engages potential voters to critically think about issues in elections through conversations with ineligible persons, and increases their stake in the electoral process. Through official and unofficial capacities, FLLA alumni work toward involving more people in the electoral process and local government.

FLLA alumni can also contribute to building cultural and public events. A pair of FLLA alumni, including one working for Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, partnered to host a community hike and build relationships with community members in their neighborhood.

Another significant outcome from FLLA is the development of young civic leaders who will go on to participate in and lead neighborhood councils. Five FLLA LA alumni have received appointments to their community’s public boards and commissions, including:

  • Cudahy Planning Commission
  • City of Artesia Planning Commission
  • City of Hawthorne Youth Commission
  • Huntington Park Health and Education Commission
  • City of Walnut Mount San Antonio College Development Task Force

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

FLLA LA has numerous measurable deliverable outcomes, the first being recruiting a class of 15-20 Fellows for the next cycle of FLLA LA. PFAW Foundation will focus their recruitment on young people who are traditionally marginalized from the political process and underrepresented in public leadership – including women, people of color, and LGBTQ youth. By recruiting a diverse pool of candidates, FLLA LA aims to make the leadership in LA County as diverse as the population they will represent.

PFAW Foundation will then train the newest class of Fellows in the areas of candidacy, field, finance, communications and campaign management. These skills will equip Fellows to pursue careers in government, nonprofits, campaign operations, or elected office. FLLA LA will work with our network of alumni and young elected officials to create a sustained community and curriculum to equip the talented, ambitious and civically-minded young people participating in the next fellowship class. The training will culminate with each Fellow developing a mock individual, district-specific “campaign” plan. PFAW Foundation will continue to provide support to Fellows after graduating the program, via alumni networking opportunities and mentorship with elected officials.

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

  • Money
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support