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L.A. Works Take Action Initiative

L.A. Works


L.A. Works Take Action Initiative empowers volunteers to tackle major issues facing L.A.: Homelessness, Climate Change, and Equity in Education. At monthly bootcamps, volunteers first hear from our nonprofit collaborators who provide background and framing of the issues; get trained by an L.A. Works project leader in grassroots advocacy tactics; then conduct a hands-on action like making phone bank calls, presenting a two-minute support or opposition speech, or going live with a social media campaign.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

L.A. Works strives to create a thriving and equitable LA by increasing volunteer participation in the community; building the capacity of nonprofit organizations through access to volunteer labor; and educating and encouraging people to engage in the broader social issues affecting our city.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD (please select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Everyone In - United Way
  • LA Councilmember David Ryu, District 4
  • Audubon Society at Debs Park

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

These are the nonprofit and civic partners we have to-date in each of our three issues, with each providing expertise and in-kind support as follows:

  • Homelessness • Everyone In/United Way: Content leader for topics and speakers • Councilmember David Ryu, District 4: In-kind space, logistical support, city awards
  • Climate Change • Audubon Center at Debs Park: topic experts, logistical support
  • Equity in Education • TBD

What is the need you’re responding to?

While the 25,000 volunteers who participate in L.A. Works’ programs annually are diverse in age, experience, skills, and background, they share a dedication to serving the greater good. More than 25% of our volunteers have participated in our programming across multiple years. After each project, the most engaged volunteers often express a desire to do something to prevent the inequities and challenges that make such volunteer work necessary. With Take Action, we ask: What if active, compassionate volunteers were empowered with the specific information and tools needed to advocate for lasting changes in policy on these issues? Guided by experts in the field, volunteers are becoming our strongest advocates to drive solution-oriented approaches. In light of COVID19, L.A. Works has pivoted its bootcamps to a virtual format. We have found that these virtual volunteer opportunities are an excellent way to engage homebound volunteers, with enrollment in our April 5th bootcamp quadrupling.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

With nearly 30 years of experience in volunteer mobilization, recruitment, and management, L.A. Works knows how to engage volunteers to make an impact. With a database of 50,000 active Angelenos, we work with every demographic in every geographic area of the city. Over the years, we have developed and fine-tuned a sustainable volunteer program model called Signature Projects, which are monthly volunteer sessions led by volunteers who are specially trained by L.A. Works to serve as Project Leaders. These Project Leaders, who commit to at least six months of leadership to an ongoing volunteer experience, learn how to manage all aspects of their volunteer project. These leaders ensure that the episodic volunteers who participate at their monthly or bi-weekly projects have a positive experience and the work being completed provides value to the nonprofit organization served. This is a proven model and is the framework for the Take Action bootcamps, whether held online or in person.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Our goal with Take Action is to empower everyday Angelenos with the knowledge and expertise to be able to affect major issues on the grassroots level. Each volunteer will leave with the potential to affect city policy by sharing, educating, and informing a circle of at least ten individuals close to them, changing hearts and minds in order to mobilize and enact change. With hundreds of volunteers trained, that potential grows exponentially. Together, they could affect millions of lives in the aggregate: those who find homes off of the streets; those who will be able to breathe clean air; and those who will have access to a better education.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

We plan to launch Take Action Initiatives in three different areas – Climate Change, Homelessness and Equity in Education – each cohort to run monthly for six sessions from July to December 2020, then again from January to June 2021, for a total of 36 bootcamps. Each bootcamp session will train at least 30 volunteers, with a different topic, speaker, and action. Volunteers who attend all six sessions in one topic will get a special certificate as a Super Advocate to be recognized in social media. Over the course of the year, we will be able to mobilize at least 1,080 volunteer advocates who will be educated and empowered to continue to take action to address root causes of their issue. These bootcamps will happen virtually if in-person is not an option.

The main measure of success will be in the organization and engagement of 36 bootcamps over one year with at least 6 volunteer leaders who will train at least 1,080 volunteer advocates. Our second measure of success will be the actions taken by our trained volunteer advocates after their bootcamps. Each participant in a bootcamp will be given an invitation to a Slack channel dedicated to their topic, moderated by an L.A. Works staff member. Each Slack channel will be a way for volunteers to build a community around their topic as they share advice, setbacks and successes. It will also allow L.A. Works to follow participants work as they work to change broader institutional systems to help address their issue.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Volunteerism

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff