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Whereas active participation in sports is universally accepted to successfully extend human life; the establishment of this annual “Marathon Project” for the marginalized Ethiopian, other African & African-American communities in/around LA, will not only accomplish in improving the physical, mental and emotional health/wellness of these targeted communities; but will also demonstrate what productive residents are able to achieve by fighting obesity, diabetes and other diseases, thereby enhancing the overall quality of life in Los Angeles.

Please describe the mission of your organization.

Whereas Sports is a universally accepted outlet for human longevity; my organizational mission is to establish the unifying & amplifying marathon running to benefit the overall health & wellness of the marginalized Ethiopian, other African & African American Communities in/around Los Angeles City.

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

  • Central LA
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Pilot project or new program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.


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

The Marathon Project is indeed a collaborative proposal, unilaterally spearheaded by Iyob Tessema & his organization: LA ENDURANCE SPORTING GROUP. Reporting to the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles (ECLA), he is tasked with comprehensively planning, directing, and otherwise managing all three phases of this project: Introductory, Implementation & Conclusion. ECLA will assist with any/all collaborative efforts with other African and African-American Communities, but Iyob & his group are solely responsible for building and maintaining newly formed relationships, and in all mutually beneficial work efforts. Needless to say, Iyob & his group will also act as trainers, coaches, mentors & guidance counselors to the 50-100 directly preparing, and ultimately participating in the 2021 LA Marathon.

What is the need you’re responding to?

The context of my “Marathon Project” is very clear. Whereas sports in general has been universally recognized as a unifier of communities, nations & the world; it has also been proven as a guarantor of physical, mental & emotional health/wellness. Even though black people have historically achieved excellence in a variety of sports for decades everywhere; the marginalized Ethiopian, other African & African-American communities who have long established themselves in Los Angeles, have unfortunately been left behind in their youth & adult sports participation levels. Disabling facts showing lack of participation in healthy/active lifestyles have led to alarming levels of obesity, diabetes and other diseases, but my project can contribute toward ameliorating this scourge. There is a strong need to encourage these marginalized communities to participate in a newly established marathon running program, which plans to diligently train them to successfully complete the Los Angeles Marathon.

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

Whereas two of the missions of the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles as an all-inclusive organization are its commitment to address social issues & collaboratively work with other community organizations toward these ends; this “Marathon Project” is uniquely suited to our organization for the following reasons: (a) Ethiopia/Ethiopians have long established their prowess and legacy in marathon running, making this project spearheaded by our organization all the more significant to our work & establishing Los Angeles as the best city to “Play” and “Live”; (b) Collaborating to lead “The Marathon Program” is our preeminent member Iyob Tessema, recognized by LA Mayor, LA City Council & California State Senate for his 25 years of pioneering marathoning work (25+ years of marathon ambassadorship & community activism, successfully completed 68 marathons/85 half marathons), along with his & his esteemed Sports Consulting Group, makes this project the preeminently quintessential project.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

In addition to the directly specific, and life enhancing impact this project is going to have on the marathon participants themselves, the broader impact will be felt throughout the indirect beneficiaries of all three target communities: Ethiopian, other African & African American communities. Moreover, through this active life style choice, the overall health & wellness improvements of the directly & indirectly served population in all three communities can be measured by assessing the one year time period of statistical outcomes recorded in the fight against various mental, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure & other related illness levels in the city of Los Angeles for a 1 year period (before & after effects).

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

This project is envisioned to elevate the marginalized Ethiopian, other African and African-American communities from abysmal levels of unhealthy lifestyles, by successfully establishing and maintaining an annual “Marathon Running Program.” This project will provide an accessible opportunity for youth/adults in these communities to train for & successfully participate in the annual Los Angeles Marathon. The immediate goal is to secure a winning grant of $100K from this grant challenge in the ‘Play” category, and to establish the structure & management of a 26-week running program from September 2020 through March 2021. This program aims to register, train/prepare, and enable 50-100 members aged 16 and above, to complete the 2021 LA Marathon race, free of charge. The long term goal of this project also purports to meaningfully contribute to measurable health and wellness improvements within these affected communities, and will collaborate in various efforts to fight obesity, diabetes, mental health and other diseases. Outcomes will be tracked through the various means/ways used to disseminate information throughout these communities, recruitment and registration of participants committed to a myriad of activities, as well as traditionally keeping attendance, depth of participation records (e.g. types & hours of participation per member, before/after program lifestyle changes, etc). If project is renewed, it will also be possible to track retention levels over multiple years.

Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Obesity
  • Youth sports participation
  • Access to open space and park facilities

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

  • 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
  • Strategy assistance and implementation
  • access/exposure to voters