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connect / 2020

LA COVID-19 Assessment and Response System (CARES)

LA COVID-19 Assessment and Response System (CARES)

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Inspiring Service

The COVID-19 pandemic, trite now to be calling it a disaster of historic proportions, is different in yet another way. Typically, when disasters occur, thousands of volunteers descend to relieve the pain. Not this time. But there is hope. And because of our work, people are not helpless. Using innovative technology tools, we've turned our volunteer ecosystem-building platforms into an assessment, response and recovery tool for the entire Los Angeles social sector. In a single site in real time, Los Angeles will know who, where and how to help.

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

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

We will closely with MFLA on communication with nonprofit partners and the region in order to make the platform a success.

What is the need you’re responding to?

The Greater Los Angeles region is ranked 46th out of 50 states in the number of adults volunteering at 24 percent. Our mission is to provide communities with the modern technology tools they need to rebuild volunteer ecosystems, and in normal times (not during a pandemic), our tools are making a dramatic difference in the who, what, where, when and how of volunteer engagement in communities. The coronavirus pandemic has changed how volunteers can engage with nonprofits. As a result, we have created a toolkit – the COVID-19 Assessment and Response System or CARES – embedded as part of our platform that helps every nonprofit community assess, respond and recover from the horrific impact of COVID-19. This pandemic has been a triple-whammy on nonprofits – hitting them hard in their main fundraising or performance season with the cancelation of numerous events, reductions in service-delivery revenue and the final big impact is the removal of most volunteers from their business model.

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

CARES helps us rebuild a volunteer ecosystem, devastated by COVID-19’s impacts. First, each nonprofit can share data about how they have been impacted by COVID-19. The data can be put into context with a story. Both the stories and data are maintained in real time to show the impact of COVID-19 on individual organizations, causes, sectors and an entire community’s social sector. A second phase is using the tool to recruit prospective volunteers to COVID-19-friendly ways to help now. A lot of people are looking to help, but until now have felt helpless in finding online, remote or socially distant safe ways to help. In the third phase of the approach, residents can use the tool to give to nonprofits or campaigns within a community to help the sector recover. We are a nonprofit technology firm that has rebuilt the Cincinnati volunteer ecosystem. Our success in Cincinnati has led to other communities deploying our platforms. We’re pleased to get to work in America’s second largest city.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Building – or rebuilding, due to the COVID-19 crisis – the volunteer ecosystem in Los Angeles is a capacity building effort that impacts the entire region’s social sector. The social sector in Los Angeles includes more than 12,000 volunteer-engaging nonprofits who directly impact more than 4 million people – employees, clients and volunteers – while having an indirect impact on the entire population of 13 million. A healthy volunteer ecosystem positively impacts all causes, including the most difficult social issues, from homelessness to equitable education. The implementation of CARES will immediately give policymakers insight into COVID-19’s impact on the social sector, helping to determine the future of critically scarce resources.

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

Beginning April 3, success looks like helping Los Angelenos find their way to help. Less than 1 in 4 Greater Los Angeles residents volunteers. Our 2050 goal would be to lift Los Angeles to one of the nation’s best, increasing the percentage of adults volunteering to close to 50 percent. In the short-term, success looks like CARES becoming a key barometer for the health of the region’s social sector. The tool will help the region understand both the impact from COVID-19 as well as the aggregate of the community’s response. We start with 150 organizations on the platform, and the goal would be to engage all 12,000 volunteer-engaging organizations in the region.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Volunteerism

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

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

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation