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play / 2020

Leadership Development

Leadership Development

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Nature for All

Community base building is an essential step toward achieving equitable investment in healthy communities. Nature for All’s Leadership Development proposal will cultivate community members and leaders to be well-equipped to advocate for their community’s needs for more parks, open space, and transit options.

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

  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

In Los Angeles, where you live determines your health. Communities with the least access to parks and recreation also have the worst health outcomes and are primarily inhabited by low-income families and people of color. A 2016 LA County DPH report found that communities with less park space/capita on average had higher rates of premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, higher prevalence of childhood obesity, and greater economic hardship than places with more park space/capita.

LA voters recently approved tax increases to improve park access, improve water resilience, and transit to public lands. Decisions for how to use those tax dollars are being made now. However, community leaders from these areas may lack an understanding of the technical and procedural aspects and can be shut out of the advocacy process for funding for their communities. To reduce health inequities and improve health, we need an engaged citizenry that can advocate for its community’s needs.

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

Nature for All’s Leadership Development program trains communities of color and low-income communities to engage in the decision-making that distributes voter-approved parks, water resilience, and transit funding. Nature for All effectively engaged high-need communities on many of these same policy issues over the last several years. We organized more than 500 hundred community members to attend and participate in public meetings related to: 1) the Measure A Parks and Open Space parcel tax; 2) Measure M, an LA County sales tax to fund public transportation, greenways, and bicycle infrastructure; and 3) Measure W, a parcel tax for water quality, water conservation, and community investments. Nature for All’s Leadership Development program ensures that the diversity of community voices are heard and expressed in our policy choices, and we have seen great success in our efforts as evidenced by the passage of all of those funding measures by Los Angeles voters.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

It is critical that the communities that receive new parks and transit funding reflect the diversity of Los Angeles and that funding resources go to communities that have been historically under-resourced. The broader impact of our proposal is to reduce health inequities and improve health because an engaged citizenry can advocate for its community’s needs. Our program can help residents of these communities be prepared for the advocacy that will be necessary to ensure equitable public funding for parks, open space, and transit investment in their communities.

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

Our vision of success is that participants from communities that have long been absent from environmental decision-making begin to build their leadership and participation in crucial environmental decisions and funding opportunities that can benefit their communities. We consider our project successful if they gain knowledge of environmental issues and can navigate the processes for taking community action. Their leadership can ultimately have an impact on the following metrics defined by LA2050: Access to open space and park facilities; Easy access to a safe park; Obesity; and Parks with intergenerational play opportunities.

We will use pre- and post-testing surveys of training participants to gauge their learning over the course of the training. The surveys will use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to measure what was learned in the training. We seek to measure the degree to which participants in the program know: 1) how access to parks and open space impacts their communities and families; and 2) how to communicate with the decision makers on issues that are important to them.

Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Easy access to a safe park

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

  • 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
  • Communications support
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation