Liberty Hill’s Our Kids Our Future Fund Raises Over $5 million as part of the California Funders For Boys and Men of Color’s Southern California Regional Strategy
Grant-making Supports 11 People of Color Led Organizations that are Building the Nation’s Largest Youth Development Department in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 5, 2021): As part of a statewide effort to reduce barriers and expand opportunities for youth of color, a group of philanthropic leaders today announced more than $6.2 million to support the coordination of efforts to reduce youth incarceration, transform the youth justice system, and create and launch a new youth development department in Los Angeles County.
“Together with community organizations, advocates, and governmental and philanthropic partners, we are committed to shrink and reduce the nation’s largest youth justice system, while building the nation’s largest youth development department to help youth of color succeed, learn, and thrive,” said Shane Murphy Goldsmith, President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation. “We know that as we shrink the number of arrests and close youth jails, we will free up public funds to invest in a youth development system that builds on the strengths of youth of color, so that they have the resources and opportunities to thrive. We are grateful to see the philanthropic sector mobilized to support community organizations fighting for racial justice and the transformation of systems that hold too many of our young people behind.”
In 2018, four members of the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color’s Southern California Regional Action Committee —the Liberty Hill Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation and Weingart Foundation — came together to award an initial $200,000 through the Our Kids, Our Future Fund. The initial grants to Black- and Brown-led organizations provided leadership and coordination, and support engagement in a collaborative process to develop a strategy to transform and reduce the size of the Los Angeles County youth justice system while envisioning a new countywide youth development system.
Organizations supported by CFBMoC So Cal include: Arts for Healing and Justice Network, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Brotherhood Crusade, Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, Children’s Defense Fund-CA, Community Coalition, InnerCity Struggle, Khmer Girls in Action, LA Youth Uprising Coalition, LeadersUp, Social Justice Learning Institute, Urban Peace Institute, and the Youth Justice Coalition.
As a result of this collective effort, the nation’s large youth justice system has been transformed and reduced by half since 2018. In 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to move the youth out of the Los Angeles County Probation Department and into a new Department of Youth Development with a $100 million budget. Los Angeles County also created the new Los Angeles County Division of Diversion and Development, which will spend more than $50 million over four years to serve approximately 5,000 youth through youth diversion and mentoring programs, keeping them from arrest and out of youth jails.
Since 2018, the regional action committee’s work has been supported by 20 foundation and donor partners. Through a participatory grant-making strategy, the regional action committee prioritizes funding to organizations and leaders from grassroots organizations led by people of color building power in Los Angeles County through: General operating grants to grassroots anchor organizations; tailored capacity building and organizational sustainability support to those groups; and project support for activities taking place in the broader ecosystem of Black- and Brown-led movement work, such as strategy convenings and network gatherings.
“Historic injustices threaten youth, families, and communities making it difficult for them to succeed,” said Nichol Whiteman, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our partnership with Liberty Hill and the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color network is crucial. As we invest in people and organizations on the front lines, we firmly advocate for Black and Brown communities, who often lack resources and support.”
The regional action committee has also aligned an additional $3 million from funders and individual donors to support strategic priorities addressed by grant partners including strengthening the educational ecosystem to help youth of color succeed from high school to post-secondary education, and launching a new gender-responsive initiative to end girls’ incarceration.
“Los Angeles County is paving a path forward for the rest of California on how to create a healthier and brighter future for young people, particularly Black and Brown youth,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment, one of the original founders of the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color. “Funders, grassroots partners and elected leaders are working together to create real community safety by creating a system of support and development for young people. Even more, we are building community power for lasting change.”
Managed by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color is a statewide network of leading foundations that are aligning their efforts and resources to improve life outcomes for boys and men of color through systems change. The CFBMoC’s Southern California Regional Action Committee aims to transform Los Angeles County’s approach to youth development and ensure that all young people, including boys and men of color, have a fair chance to thrive. Across California, the network is guided by the goal of youth of color achieving employment that pays enough to support a family in California.
Courtney Kassel, Chief Communications Officer, Liberty Hill Foundation, ckassel@
ABOUT CALIFORNIA FUNDERS FOR BOYS AND MEN OF COLOR:
Launched in 2014, the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMoC) brings together CEOs from the state’s leading philanthropic institutions to shape a better future for youth of color — and for California. CFBMoC aligns the resources, networks and voices of California’s foundations — from family and private foundations to corporate and community funders —with the goal of improving opportunities for African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander and Native American youth.
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