connect / 2021

CivicASK - A Platform Connecting Civic Needs with Community Resources

CivicASK - A Platform Connecting Civic Needs with Community Resources

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Civicas

“CivicASK” is a platform connecting civic needs with community resources. LA2050 funds will help Civicas develop, manage and market an accessible, targeted and transparent website with infrastructure for individuals, organizations and government to build connections that are more responsive to community needs. Public sector ASKS (menus of civic opportunities) linked with Private sector OFFERS (people, businesses & groups with resources: services, expertise, materials and/or financial support) will engage more equitable, effective civic action.


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

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

We need equitable and accessible infrastructure connecting civic stakeholders to better solve civic challenges. Individuals, community organizers, experts, businesses, funders and governments may share civic goals, though limited access to program staff creates inefficiencies and inequities, preventing initiatives from accessing available resources to maximize outcomes, scale and value. The CivicASK platform is a transparent tech bridge to improve communication, partnership and responsiveness between local governments, residents, communities and organizations. It will offer organized, prioritized opportunities to address civic challenges by filling existing gaps in outreach, materials, support and expertise. People can create a “recommendation engine” by directing others to opportunities and resources too. Connecting stakeholders with access to community resources (goods, services, funds, volunteers) will add value and amplify the reach of our City, County, nonprofits, and foundations.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

LA2050 funds will support developing “CivicASK”, an online “menu of civic opportunities” connecting civic challenges with private resources to help Los Angeles better serve community needs. Civicas will coordinate a team to develop, brand, market and manage the website. A project manager will engage local governments, nonprofits, foundations, neighborhood groups, businesses, networks and individuals to populate a platform with ASKS and OFFERS for potential partnerships. Civic-minded networks, organizations and residents across sectors, professions and demographics making OFFERS of goods, services, funds, volunteerism will link to ASKS from government agencies, civic networks and community participants. L.A. City’s Al Fresco program is a catalytic example of convening government departments to serve immediate needs which will inform the design/build of a scalable, transparent platform. Access, efficiency and value will be increased with better connections between the public and existing initiatives like these: Dept of Transportation’s Al Fresco program Procurement’s LA Business Assistance Virtual Network Building & Safety’s Standard Plans Public Works’ Keep LA Beautiful Office of Budget and Innovation’s Mayors’ Dashboard Angeleno Account LA Optimized Volunteer LA Empower LA CivicASK creates opportunities for people to understand, actively participate, and increase the impact and value of our resources to help solve civic challenges throughout Los Angeles, and beyond.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

300
Direct impact
5,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

CivicASK will help Los Angeles be a place where every resident is empowered to engage with others to address civic goals. This platform will enhance communication of civic initiatives and coordination with community resources. The impact of civic engagement and resources will be amplified in many areas including other LA2050 metrics like disability access which can be addressed by connecting with LA City’s Public Works disability programs. Neighborhood Council participation can be increased by linking to EmpowerLA. Organizations with projects and programs in the LA2050 archive can immediately populate the platform with current opportunities and requests for resources. In the long-term, CivicASK will become a self-sustaining, scalable model for access to civic initiatives. Angelenos will connect with people and projects across sectors and neighborhoods, increasing empathy and access to civic opportunities and resources, and improving life throughout the Los Angeles region, and beyond.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

CivicASK is a pilot project of Civicas, a women’s civic action network. For four years we have hosted civic education forums for cross-sector leaders and maintained resource pages at Civicas.net on timely civic issues including COVID-19, social justice, civic health, civic space, education, climate change and civic organizations. We also present civic news & events to thousands of Angelenos via the monthly Civicas Review. Expanding this work into an interactive platform will amplify our reach and impact while linking more residents, nonprofits, foundations and government agencies working to address civic challenges. Some metrics we will measure include: User access, demographics, SEO Number of offers made Number of connections made between government agencies and civic organizations or individuals making offers Success of programs utilizing connections made with CivicASK in achieving desired and equitable civic outcomes (Al Fresco example) Growth of a regional resource network

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Civicas is collaborating with Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and County of L.A. Several City departments (including Public Works, Procurement, Design, Beautification, Economic Development and Volunteer LA) expressed enthusiasm for connecting CivicASK to their evolving digital platforms. Building infrastructure prioritizing communication and efficient connections will simplify and increase equitable access to government initiatives which adds value to their investments. Agencies will participate and inform the platform’s design while initiatives like Al Fresco, LA Optimized and LA n Sync begin populating the directory’s “Menu of Civic Opportunities”. Our technology partner, Inspiring Service, redesigned, built and maintains the City of L.A.’s Volunteer LA website, originally funded by LA2050.

Which of the connect metrics will you impact?​

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Neighborhood council participation
  • Volunteerism

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project 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