Southern California Program

Grant Abstracts 2017

American Red Cross Los Angeles Region

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$300,000
June 2017

PrepareLA 2.0 is a four-year campaign implemented by the Red Cross Los Angeles Region that began in 2015 to build greater community resilience.  The campaign is grounded in individual, household and community based preparedness.  It revolves around the development of community-led coalitions in some of the most vulnerable communities in the region.  Data on poverty, population density, age of the housing stock, earthquake hazards and the potential for loss of property and life were analyzed to identify 15 communities throughout Los Angeles County whose residents are the most vulnerable to disaster.  In the first two years of the initiative, the Red Cross supported the development of leadership coalitions in ten of these communities that have developed and are implementing customized resiliency plans.  Over the next two years, Red Cross staff will support new coalitions in five additional communities, working alongside residents, leaders and partner organizations to plan and build their capacity to respond to a disaster – from a house fire to an earthquake – and recover.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support the Red Cross’ efforts in two of these communities, South Los Angeles and Wilmington.  In these communities, at least 8,000 residents and 500 youth will participate in preparedness education classes, 1,600 home smoke alarms will be installed and 6,000 individuals will be involved in creating a household evacuation and preparedness plan.

CASA of Los Angeles

Civic and Community
Monterey Park, CA
$300,000
June 2017

CASA of Los Angeles (CASA LA) serves abused and neglected children and youth in the dependency and foster care system with volunteer-based advocacy.  Court-appointed volunteers work one-on-one with these vulnerable children to support them not only through the judicial process, but in all areas of their lives.  Children assigned a CASA volunteer are more likely to do better in school, experience improved wellbeing and have a viable permanency plan, including adoption, than children who do not have an advocate.  In 2016, CASA LA served over 800 children.  Recognizing that there are many more system-involved children who would benefit from a CASA advocate, the agency has launched the Community Collaborations Project to recruit, train and support additional volunteers to serve 1,350 children by 2019.  With the support of a two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant, CASA LA will expand its presence in the county by co-locating staff at two community agencies – the Child Development Institute in the San Fernando Valley and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Los Angeles.  Establishing these hubs will provide CASA LA with access to new pools of potential volunteers from these organization’s networks and facilitate involvement for those who may otherwise be put off by the lengthy commutes to CASA LA’s offices in Monterey Park and Lancaster.  By the end of the project period, CASA will have identified a third partner in the South Bay or Long Beach, which will give it a presence in all five of the county’s supervisorial districts.

InnerCity Struggle

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$200,000
June 2017

InnerCity Struggle (ICS) was established in 1994 to promote healthy, safe and non-violent communities.  It engages Latino youth and families in Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights to work together to improve public education, expand health services and enhance community safety.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support ICS’ capital project to establish the organization’s first permanent home in Boyle Heights.  The new, two-story, 5,600-square-foot-facility will allow ICS to continue making progress in advancing educational equity and opportunity for students in Los Angeles public schools.  ICS will increase its youth membership that currently numbers 750 high school students and provide up to 300 of them with individual academic guidance, tutoring and college access services.  Having appropriately designed space will also enable ICS to better serve and expand its base of 450 adults involved in educational and leadership activities as well as strengthen intergenerational connections.  Over the years, ICS’s trained youth and parent leaders have successfully engaged decision makers in improving public education on the Eastside.  Their work has resulted in the construction of three new high schools, reduction of student suspensions from school, approval of a Los Angeles Unified School District policy focused on preparing all students for college, and an increase in high school graduation rates of 41% over a ten-year period.

Los Angeles LGBT Center

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$250,000
June 2017

Founded in 1969, the Los Angeles LGBT Center (the Center) provides a wide range of programs, services and housing at six different locations for youth and adults, 94% of whom are low income and represent the full diversity of greater Los Angeles.  Over the past decade, the Center has experienced a dramatic increase in demand for its services, growing from 25,000 monthly client visits in 2010 to more than 42,000 today.  This has placed an enormous strain on its infrastructure and programs and limited its capacity to serve some of the most vulnerable youth and seniors.  In response, the Center has embarked on the creation of a new campus and headquarters that will enable it to dramatically increase its services and housing for these two populations, while also facilitating expansion of the medical and mental health services provided by its Federally Qualified Health Center at its current headquarters.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support the capital campaign.  The new 1.67-acre campus located in the heart of Hollywood will provide a 40-bed emergency shelter and 60 beds in the transitional living program for homeless youth, as well as up to 100 affordable housing units for seniors and up to 35 units for youth.  It will also include a Senior Services Center that will serve as many as 5,500 senior clients and senior residents.  A Youth Academy on the campus will focus on empowerment through education, employment, and leadership programs and engage an additional 750 youth.  Meaningful intergenerational programming for seniors and youth living on campus will be developed to combat isolation, build community and offer mentorship opportunities.  Meaningful intergenerational programming for seniors and youth living on campus will be developed to combat isolation, build community and offer mentorship opportunities.  With the expanded space, the health center, which currently treats 4,700 primary care and mental health patients annually, will serve an additional 1,200 of the Center’s clients and the community at large.

Public Counsel Law Center

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$450,000
June 2017

In October 2015, the California Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) Act was passed, which makes a series of changes in the child welfare system to reduce the use of group homes and other institutions, increase the placement of abused and neglected children and youth in foster and kinship homes and expand supports for this vulnerable population to thrive.  However, pressure to “deinstitutionalize” special needs children and youth before building a stronger network of relative and foster homes and community-based supports could result in multiple placement disruptions and increases in runaway and homeless youth, criminal justice system involvement, and commercial sexual exploitation.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support a collaborative project among Public Counsel Law Center, Children’s Law Center of California and the Alliance for Children’s Rights to ensure that CCR is implemented as intended to improve the lives of Los Angeles County’s foster children.  The three agencies, each with distinct expertise, have developed a multipronged approach that involves policy input, training and direct legal representation to collectively identify and proactively address problems that arise during CCR implementation.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple
(Karsh Family Social Service Center)

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$150,000
June 2017

As part of its Koreatown campus expansion, Wilshire Boulevard Temple funded and constructed space for the Karsh Family Social Service Center to support the surrounding community and involve its congregation in improving the lives of fellow Angelenos.  The Karsh Center opened in April 2016 and is a separately incorporated nonprofit with its own board of directors.  Located in one of the Los Angeles’ densest neighborhoods, the Karsh Center offers multiple services under one roof, provided not only by the Center itself, but by sixteen collaborating organizations from across the city.  In this way, clients can access not just dental or legal help, but a full array of support that addresses their needs holistically.  For many of the service providers, the Karsh Center is their first location in Koreatown, which is more accessible to their clients who previously had to travel long distances.  In the first six months of operation, 600 individuals were served by the nonprofit agencies located at the Center and the Temple’s volunteer-operated food pantry.  Four paid professionals currently staff the Center.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support a full-time associate director of development to build the Center’s fundraising capacity.

Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation

Health Care
Los Angeles, CA
$275,000
June 2017

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is the sole provider of 911 response for America’s second largest city, and has seen rapid growth in 911 use for non-urgent medical complaints, 911 frequent users, and patients with mental health complaints.  In 2016, LAFD launched an Advanced Practitioner Response Unit (APRU) with three missions: (1) Mobile Urgent Care response, including on-scene treatment, release and follow-up referral for low-acuity 911 callers; (2) Comprehensive assessment and social work referral for 911 frequent users; and, (3) On scene medical clearance for mental health patients with transport to psychiatric urgent care.  Initial results have been promising in safely diverting patients from overcrowded emergency departments by providing treatment on the scene and connections to additional community-based care.  The next step, which the W. M. Keck Foundation will support with a two-year grant, is to conduct a study of the mobile integrated health delivery model’s effectiveness.  The methodology will involve a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional mixed-methods approach to assess patient safety and experience, utilization of acute healthcare services and overall emergency care costs.  Working with polling professionals, LAFD will develop, test, and validate a phone survey to assess APRU clients' experience of care.  Working with other emergency service and hospital partners, investigators will prospectively collect health care utilization data on APRU and matched-control patients transported to nearby emergency departments in 2018.  Health services researchers and health economists will analyze cost data.  The findings are expected to provide useful information about the quality and safety of pre-hospital care to encourage new reimbursement mechanisms and replication of the model.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Education
Long Beach, CA
$200,000
June 2017

Founded in 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is embarking on its first major expansion.  The new Pacific Visions wing will provide visitors with up-close virtual encounters with animals never displayed in aquariums and the opportunity to explore alternative pathways to sustainability.  Integral programmatic pieces will complement the new galleries and exhibits to engender an interest in science and learning while visitors are at the Aquarium, in a school classroom and/or at home.  Building on past and current programs and in concert with key consultants, the Aquarium will develop an interactive film experience for all visitors that will be shown in the centerpiece of the expansion (a 300-seat theater); produce curriculum modules for middle and high school students that will bring content themes of Pacific Visions into their classrooms; and, create a mobile app for visitors of all ages that will provide a vehicle for further exploration through games and social interactivity.  The W. M. Keck Foundation’s grant will support the development of these educational components.  An external evaluator will assess the content as part of an overall study of the new wing’s exhibits to determine the extent to which visitors’ knowledge of scientific concepts and the connections between ocean issues and their own behavior increased.  Currently, 165,000 students and teachers visit the Aquarium annually and schools are eligible for free admission if at least 40% of their student body is low income.  The Aquarium anticipates that when the new wing is completed, over two million people will visit, including 200,000 students and teachers.

P. F. Bresee Foundation

Education
Los Angeles, CA
$300,000
June 2017

Founded in 1982, the P. F. Bresee Foundation (Bresee) provides afterschool programming and family support services to middle and high school students and their families in a densely-populated area of central Los Angeles that is home to the highest concentration of recent immigrants in the City.  A three-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support the launch of the English for Success program through Bresee’s Academy for Middle School (BAM), which will serve struggling English Language Learners (ELLs).  One in three students at Virgil Middle School, Bresee’s primary BAM partner, is enrolled in English as a Second Language classes.  If they are not reclassified as English Proficient by the end of 8th grade, they are significantly less likely to pursue a postsecondary education.  Only 18% of ELL graduates nationwide advance to college.  The pilot English for Success program consists of three components: supporting families to set goals for their child’s academic attainment; fostering students’ academic success by providing homework help and language interventions; and, addressing their socio-emotional needs through mentoring and enrichment activities.  For the students participating in the pilot cohort, Bresee anticipates that 75% will reclassify as English Proficient by the end of eighth grade and advance to ninth grade ready to take on the full course of study needed to prepare for college.  Key findings from the pilot will be disseminated to other organizations through the City’s network of FamilySource Centers and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell after school programs.  The project will also build Bresee’s capacity to use data to evaluate and continuously improve its other programs and deliver optimal results for clients.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Education
Los Angeles, CA
$500,000
June 2017

This project is part of UCLA’s Community Schools Initiative (CSI) launched by the Chancellor’s office in 2007 and led by the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.  The goals of CSI are to expand access to a high quality public education in partnership with urban school districts, advance the university’s mission of teaching, research and service, and prepare underrepresented students to succeed in college.  In 2009, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), UCLA created its first K-12 community school, which now serves 1,000 low income, predominantly Latino students living in Pico-Union and Koreatown.  In the fall of 2017, UCLA will launch its second community school on the site of the Horace Mann Middle School.  Horace Mann is a 6th-8th grade school that faces declining enrollment and low student achievement.  To reverse these trends, UCLA will partner with LAUSD, Mann Middle School and the local community to design a 6th-12th grade neighborhood school where students will receive high quality instruction and the support they need to graduate and be prepared to succeed in college and beyond.  As part of the school’s transformation, UCLA will work with teachers and parents to set high expectations for achievement for all students and ensure students have access to the rigorous courses required for admission to a four year college or university.  A two-year grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will support the establishment of the College Access through Student Achievement Center to begin fostering a college-going culture on the school’s campus.  Students will participate in tutoring and mentoring by UCLA students, college counseling and college field trips to build their awareness about opportunities and their families will be invited to monthly family gathering activities and workshops on college-going.

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