Small Family Foundation with Big Ideas for LA

20 Mar

LA2050 Housing Meetup

What will Los Angeles look like in 2050? While the Los Angeles Times thought 2013 might look like a futuristic Jetsons episode, one small family foundation is also generating big ideas for the future of the City of Angels. The Goldhirsh Foundation, a philanthropic organization that aims to foster new ideas and connect them with financial, social, and human capital, is taking a hard look at LA’s future. Founded by the late Bernie Goldhirsh, creator of Inc. magazine, the foundation is chaired by his son, Ben Goldhirsh, who started the GOOD Worldwide media platform. But what can a charitable organization tell us about Los Angeles? The LA2050 project is one ambitious answer.  It aims to stimulate an outbreak of idealism that strengthens civic engagement, challenges the status quo, and demands more for the future of Los Angeles.

Part 1 of LA2050 measures the current state of the city based on eight key human development indicators: education, income and employment, health, public safety, housing, environmental quality, arts and cultural vitality, and social connectedness. The recently released LA2050 Report [PDF], prepared by Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors, uses in-depth research and eye-catching infographics to paint a picture of a vibrant region of contradictions and challenges. The report reveals who makes up LA, how people within the city live today, and projects where the region is headed if it stays on its current trajectory. The city thrives in the areas of arts and cultural vitality and public safety, yet scores low on all other indicators. Although the future seems grim if the region stays on its current path, the Goldhirsh Foundation sees these indicators as areas of opportunity for positive change.

Part 2 examines movements that will change the path of Los Angeles’ future. To further the conversation, the Goldhirsh Foundation hosted eight community meet-ups, inviting experts in each of the key indicators and opening the discussions to the public. LA2050 has kept the excitement up with a robust social media presence, including twitter parties and an active facebook page. The foundation is also awarding ten $100,000 grants to people and projects aspiring to implement an “innovative, impactful, inspiring idea in Los Angeles.” The hope is that My LA2050 grants will support catalytic, groundbreaking changes to the city. The future of LA is open to change, and with big ideas initiated by a little family foundation, that change looks to be GOOD.

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