The California Community Foundation sure knows how to splurge on a special occasion. To celebrate its 100th birthday, on Thursday the organization pledged to give away $1 billion to Los Angeles county’s nonprofit organizations over the next ten years. (That’s reportedly about $300 million more than the foundation handed out over the last decade.) The funds will be provided in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships.
The pledge was announced at a town hall-style event that coincided with the release of the findings of a “vision survey” of Los Angeles County residents, which was conducted by the foundation, USC Dornsife, and the Los Angeles Times. The poll gauged residents’ interest in becoming more engaged members of their communities. It found that many people—80 percent of respondents—wanted to get involved; 67 percent said they were most likely to get involved if they knew their involvement would make a difference. The problem, said Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, is that residents often don’t know where to give their time and money. The California Community Foundation wants to change that—in part by encouraging all 10 million residents of L.A. County to identify first and foremost as Angelenos.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas were on hand to address civic pride and local issues at the event. “We are so good at privately saying what we love about L.A. and then publicly bitching,” said Garcetti (to laughs from the crowd). “It is time for us to have L.A. pride, to say the good news and to take the challenges. But a great city addresses its great challenges and reaches for great things. So we do things like get the Olympics and have the Oscars and we do things that distinguish us and drive people here, but we also face the challenges: homelessness, poverty, the disenfranchised voices that are not here.”