connect / 2020

Insight in Action

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by InsightLA

InsightLA is requesting support of its Insight in Action (IIA) program, which offers meditation teachings and community-building activities to vulnerable and marginalized populations and to healthcare workers and caregivers responding to suffering. This year, IIA will continue to work with existing partner organizations and expand programming for individuals and organizations recovering from the effects of Covid-19 whether because of illness, loss, economic instability, or vicarious trauma experienced in the line of duty.


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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Many Angelenos experience suffering due to systemic challenges like homelessness, poverty, illness, and discrimination. IIA comprises three components to mitigate this suffering: community outreach, through which we partner with non-profit organizations and schools to bring secular mindfulness practices to vulnerable populations and those serving them; affinity groups where people can meditate with others of shared identity; and daylong retreats for healthcare workers and caregivers.

Due to the global pandemic caused by SARS CoV-2, LA faces an unprecedented crisis which threatens the health and well-being of its citizens and strains our healthcare system. Research shows that mindfulness meditation increases capacity for emotional regulation, decreases anxiety and depression, and helps practitioners gain compassion and acceptance. These are some of the reasons why mindfulness meditation has proven to be particularly effective for those facing high levels of stress or illness.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

When InsightLA (ILA) founder and Guiding Teacher Trudy Goodman set out to offer mindfulness teachings in Los Angeles in 2003, she dedicated herself to relieving suffering. She started by teaching mindfulness practices to incarcerated minors and pediatric patients, but quickly discovered a profound need among social and healthcare workers struggling with vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue. The Insight in Action program developed in response, and is suited to meet the need presented by the COVID-19 crisis because it is simply an extension of the work we already do.

ILA is a leading meditation center in Los Angeles, serving more than 10,000 individuals annually, and is known for the quality of its teachers. Many of ILA’s 55 teachers are trained in popular secular mindfulness practices including mindful self-compassion and mindfulness-based stress reduction. ILA has three locations, and is equipped to offer mindfulness practices remotely and in person.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

4,035
Direct impact
10,265
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Practitioners of mindfulness meditation often notice that the benefits of their practice affect not only themselves, but ripple out to those in relationship to them. Our work with healthcare professionals and caregivers in particular shows us that meditation can help prevent burnout and positively impact the way healthcare services are delivered—we have estimated that 10 individuals will be indirectly impacted by the services we provide to healthcare workers.

And, many people ILA has worked with express that they feel connected to those they practice with. In a time of collective trauma, mindfulness meditation can provide a collective healing, helping organizations and individuals rebuild and recover together.

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

Success for this project would mean that IIA is connecting with organizations and individuals with a real need and interest in mindfulness meditation practices. We hope to form new partnerships with hospitals and non-profit organizations who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We will also form affinity groups for essential workers, healthcare professionals, aging adults, and others. We will start this effort by scanning our existing networks to determine where there may be connectivity, and conduct outreach as needed.

Success will also mean that individuals and organizations are receiving mindfulness teachings clearly and in a way that directly relates to their lives. InsightLA will work with each organization to determine what is needed and develop modules or class series that can meet demonstrated need. For instance, InsightLA could work with a team of individuals at a hospital using a “train the trainer” model to help deliver mindfulness practices more widely at the institution. Or, InsightLA could develop a special class series tailored to the needs and concerns of a specific group.

Success will also mean that InsightLA is gaining institutional knowledge and adapting to improve program elements. To that end, InsightLA will distribute before and after surveys to see whether participants feel that mindfulness classes have positively impacted them, and analyze them to determine trends and/or areas for improvement.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation