connect / 2021
The Beautify LA Community Grant Program
The Beautify LA Community Grant Program is an annual competitive matching grant open to the residents of Los Angeles to fund exceptional neighborhood projects. It encourages, supports, and provides opportunities to communities of high need and the general public in the ownership and beautification of public spaces. The grant will provide a stronger foundation and diverse partnerships that will revitalize the community and educate future generations to continue stewardship of public spaces through volunteerism.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- City of Los Angeles
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
With a growing population, increase in service demand, and the financial crisis from the Pandemic, LA does not have the financial capability nor the labor force for the services desired by its residents. We are aware that neighborhoods without equal access or knowledge of funding sources suffer a greater risk of blight. Urban blight creates a perceived acceptance of litter and graffiti. This in turn creates a sense of reduced public safety in impoverished areas. With a noted disparity in access to funding and scarce City resources to service over 99 neighborhoods, the community has expressed a sense of slow government responsiveness. In addition, city policy and procedures can be confusing to navigate. Community projects established without the basic requirements and permits lack the justification for longevity or sustainability in the public right of way and can be unintentionally destroyed or removed. This further creates a sense of disassociation of a responsive local government.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
LA2050 will help us amplify the grant program and expand the limited number of awards. OCB/KLAB will execute a request for proposals throughout the City in English/Spanish from community groups, nonprofits, school groups, etc. Groups will submit project proposals of desired areas they would like to improve. Murals, art projects, medians and other creative projects in public spaces will take priority. Grant funds serve as seed money for community projects. The program will foster collaboration and create support networks, encourage creativity and innovation, instill community pride among residents, and empower them to take ownership of their communities. Grantees will work with city staff navigating partnerships and any city permit process that the project will require. An increase in community beautification projects creates a decrease in urban blight and crime related activity. To ensure equity, proposals will be screened and receive bonus points using CalEnviroscreen’s data on Disadvantaged communities (SB535 & AB 1550). A minimum of 33% of the proposals will be from communities of high need. This includes areas with high concentrations of people with low-income, high unemployment, low levels of home ownership, high rent burden, low levels of educational attainment, and high environmental pollution impact. The projects improve a neighborhood’s public safety and health through beautification while creating a positive economic impact and advocating for environmental justice.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
LA County will enjoy an increase of beautiful open spaces and cleaner neighborhoods. Residents will see an increase in community and local government engagement through volunteerism, improved and maintained public spaces and increased knowledge of city resources by its residents. The projected impact of the Grant through a variety of clean, green, and sustainable projects will improve public safety and help prevent blight that will then reduce litter throughout LA. The grant methodology supports the Sustainable City plan and the Green New Deal. To receive funding means to follow best practices in empowering those who live, work, and play in the City with an equal opportunity to participate in bettering their neighborhoods. LA City can serve as an example of community partnerships beyond city services. A long term goal and byproduct of the grant program would be to develop a guide of helpful resources for project implementation (recognized organizations, sources of donations, etc).
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Despite the elimination of previously funded grant programs, years later stakeholders have continued to demonstrate a desire for creative community-based project opportunities. An average of 110 grants were awarded yearly, with a dollar value from $2,500 -$10,000. An organization’s contribution match is usually more than the award. Examples • The Big Blue M: Awarded $10,000.Match= $21,575 • Veteran Memorial Park: Awarded $10,000.Match= $26,629 • Moorpark Way Median: Awarded $10,000.Match= $55,063 The value beyond funding is in the variety of community partnerships and the social/environmental impact. A knowledgeable community knows how to request services and advocate for their needs. We have seen an increase in communication and service needs, documented through the MyLA311 system. Knowledge of resources increases volunteerism. This increase in participation is documented in the number of annual volunteer hours entered while beautifying communities through clean up events/projects.
Which of the connect metrics will you impact?
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
- Neighborhood council participation
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to CREATE
- LA is the best place to PLAY
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE