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Featuring diverse and emerging leaders who are creating and building community across the greater Los Angeles region, while seeking to elevate discourse, foster community connections and promote civic knowledge and engagement.
3 days ago
Episode # 16: Funding Sustainable Systems Change | Christine Essel, President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers
Philanthropy has been called a critical part of a democratic society. Its purpose is to improve wellbeing by preventing and solving social problems. In 1973, four Los Angeles area foundations came together with a common vision to build a community of grant makers. Together, The Ahmanson Foundation, the Cummins Foundation, the Norton Simon Foundation, and the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation founded the Los Angeles Inter-Foundation Center (LAIFC). More than 40 years later, their visionary group has become today’s diverse Southern California Grantmakers (SCG), a regional association representing 300+ grant makers of all types and reflecting the evolving character of the philanthropic sector in Southern California and addressing the diverse needs of the communities served. The philanthropic sector has adapted rapidly in the face of unprecedented challenges this year. However, even in this new environment, funders must continue to sharpen their grantmaking abilities and knowledge to keep pace with the new and increasing demands for foundation resources. Join us for our conversation with SoCal Grantmakers’ President & CEO, Christine Essel, as we discuss their 40 -year legacy of working to create a stronger and more vibrant philanthropic community. As 2020 has unfolded, an unprecedented year with the COVID 19 pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, and social unrest, philanthropy, too, has been called to look at its practices and seek bold new solutions to embrace systemic change. In a report by McKinsey & Company, entitled Embracing Complexity, it noted that “current funding practices are often built to support short-term projects …. rather than collaborative evolving approaches to create lasting change.” Join us in our conversation today, as we talk with Christine about her unique perspective on “community” and how SoCal Grantmakers is looking to meet this critical moment and evolve its work to embrace systems change and engage in true partnerships with the diverse communities it serves. To learn more and become involved, please visit www.socalgrantmakers.org. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com. And we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Oct 14, 2020
Episode # 15: Building a Mindful Community | Justin Michael Williams, Author, Speaker, Musician
First popularized in the 1970’s, the study of mindfulness has blossomed as an area of academic study and practice. And, as the expansion of the discipline unfolds, many are bringing the practice of mindfulness to communities at large, as opposed to individuals. Many are also aiming to bring this practice to previously underserved communities, as poverty has been linked to decreased functional brain connectivity, anxiety, and depression. As a young man experiencing the trauma of gun shots outside his bedroom window, Justin Michael Williams shares his journey of healing and transformation. As an author, musician, and transformational speaker, Justin will share with us how he uses music and meditation to wake up the world and aims to fulfill his mission to build community and see that “We Rise Together.” With over a decade of teaching experience, Justin has been described as “a pioneering millennial voice for diversity and inclusion in wellness.” Learn how this work has been used in diverse communities to promote healing, growth, and create community connections. Justin’s teachings, starting local and building communities of color engaged in the practice of mindfulness, has grown exponentially and now reaches more than 40 countries around the world. To learn more about Justin’s work, hear his podcast “The Kingdom” or you can find his book, “Stay Woke, a Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us” by visiting www.justinmichaelwilliams.com For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com. And we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Oct 6, 2020
Episode # 14: Meeting This Moment | Richard Ayoub, Executive Director, Project Angel Food
Founded during a time of crisis, in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the late 1980’s, Project Angel Food has served as a reliable lifeline to thousands of community members diagnosed with critical life- threatening illness. Envisioning a world where every sick person is fed, nourished, and loved, Project Angel Food prepares and delivers over one million meals a year, free of charge to people who face hunger, isolation, and critical illness. Since its founding in 1989, Project Angel Food has delivered over 13 million free medically tailored meals across 4000+ square miles of Los Angeles County, from the Antelope Valley to the South Bay. In addition to serving the nutrition needs of critically ill people, the COVID 19 pandemic has brought forth new challenges – including economic, housing and food insecurity – which has made food banks and other food programs more essential than ever. Join Project Angel Food’s Executive Director, Richard Ayoub, as we discuss the remarkable journey of the organization, its evolution, and how it’s risen – yet again – to the challenges brought on by another pandemic, and how they are meeting this COVID 19 moment to be of service to community members facing critical illness as well as food insecurity. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.angelfood.org. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com and we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Sep 30, 2020
Episode # 13: Building Global Community through Citizen Diplomacy | Janet Elliott, President & CEO, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles
Building bridges between Los Angeles and the world, the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (IVCLA) plays a crucial role in creating international connections; cultivating local innovation; and activating global potential. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, IVCLA develops leadership exchanges and advances a range of cross border programs that addresses critical issues, including: alleviating chronic poverty and hunger, creating sustainable communities, promoting tolerance through the arts, empowering women in leadership, controlling infectious diseases, eliminating human trafficking, and promoting civic engagement, amongst others. Many of the international visitors that have participated in IVCLA programs have become leaders in and of their respective governments. While COVID-19 has made cross-cultural and international collaboration and connection more challenging than ever, the work of IVCLA has become more vital to the health and well-being of our international state system and the success of our world post-pandemic. Join us for our conversation with Janet Elliott, President & CEO, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, as we discuss the work of IVCLA; how IVCLA has adapted to facilitate connections and foster citizen diplomacy in new and innovative ways; and the important role IVCLA plays in the civic fabric of Los Angeles and connecting Los Angeles to the world. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.IVCLA.org. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Sep 22, 2020
Episode # 12: Facilitating Global Connections and Commerce | Stephen Cheung, President, World Trade Center Los Angeles
As Southern California celebrates World Trade Week (WTW), which for more than 90 years has brought focus to the important role international commerce has played in shaping our region, we’re joined by Stephen Cheung, President of the World Trade Center Los Angeles, to discuss LA’s place in the global commercial community; the economic impact of trade and investment on the region; and the role WTCLA plays in fostering critical cross border connections. The McKinsey Global Institute, in a report entitled “Urban America: US cities in the global economy,” projected Los Angeles to become the fourth-largest city in the world ranked by GDP (with Tokyo being #1 and New York City #2). Key to this success, for LA and others, is building connections to other US cities and global cities which is seen as “a source of strength and new ideas.” With a mission to make Los Angeles the nation’s leading center for international trade, the WTCLA is dedicated to attracting foreign direct investment to the Los Angeles region and facilitating business opportunities for the region’s business community and their counterparts globally. In carrying out that mission, WTCLA offers several important programs and services that seek to educate, inform, and foster cross border collaboration and connections that can result in mutually beneficial and sustainable economic opportunity. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.wtcla.org For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com. And we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Sep 16, 2020
Episode # 11: Advocating for the Arts | Gustavo Herrera, Executive Director, Arts for LA
In California, the Arts contribute an exceptional amount to not only the cultural and creative capital of the state, but to its overall economic activity and well-being. With $650.3 billion in annual output in California, the fifth largest economy in the world, and $203.2 billion in annual output in Los Angeles, the largest county (by population) in the United States, creativity is a massive engine for economic activity and growth. Heavily impacted by the global pandemic and the economic crisis that has ensued, a May report issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), noted the “Arts and Entertainment” industry was among the highest risk industries for job loss related to COVID-19. In that report, the LAEDC projected that initial job loss related to Stay At Home orders for “Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media” in the Los Angeles region could reach as high as 52.5% (year-over-year change). Navigating these challenges and advocating for the interests and needs of the region’s creative community is Arts for LA. Join us for our conversation with Gustavo Herrera, Executive Director of Arts for LA as we discuss their critical role as a leading voice for the arts in the Greater Los Angeles region. Learn about their efforts to inform, engage, and mobilize individuals and organizations to advocate for access to the arts across all communities; arts education for every student; robust investment in the arts; and inclusion of diverse and underrepresented voices. Arts for LA invests in leadership development; growing networks of civically engaged advocates; building deep relationships with elected officials; and working in partnership across sectors to make LA a vibrant, prosperous, creative, and healthy society. Gustavo will share his insights on the current state of the creative economy, initiatives underway to support the creative community, and share the work underway to develop a recovery strategy through a series of Community Strategy Sessions that will culminate in their upcoming ‘State of the Arts Summit’, taking place October 16th. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.artsforla.org. And for information about the State of the Arts Summit, please visit www.artsforla.org/sota2020. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com. And we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Sep 9, 2020
Episode #10: Roses & Lemons, An Inside Look at DTLA | Hal Bastian, Executive Vice President, Major Properties
For nearly 40 years, the Downtown Breakfast Club has served to recognize, foster, and encourage the orderly and planned growth of Downtown Los Angeles. The group consists of individual representatives from all major sectors, including real estate, banking, international investment, architects & engineers, urban planners, investment brokers, insurance development organizations and governmental agencies. Meeting on a bi-monthly basis, the group maintains a profile of current business activity through featured guest speakers and works to encourage and support sound principles of developing a better quality of life for Downtown Los Angeles. Join us as we follow this remarkable evolution of a community in Los Angeles with Hal Bastian, known as “Mr. Downtown,” and explore the fits and starts of transforming DTLA and its subsequent rise. And we look at the Downtown Breakfast Club’s annual event bringing together hundreds of civic leaders to celebrate the highlights (Roses) and low lights (Lemons) in the DTLA evolution. To know “What’s Up?” in DTLA please visit www.HalBastian.com or visit www.majorproperties.com For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Sep 2, 2020
Episode #9: Revitalizing the Urban Core | Jessica Lall, President & CEO, Central City Association of Los Angeles
Representing just 1% of the land mass of the City of Los Angeles, Downtown LA (DTLA) is emerging, in some sense, as “the Center of It All.” Attracting billions of dollars in investment over the past two decades, DTLA’s revitalization has been remarkable. Known principally as a business center, which closed after 5 pm, DTLA has become the city’s fastest growing community, with 30% of new apartments built in the city, or nearly 50,000 units. The current population of approximately 80,000 people has nearly doubled over the past decade. Continued residential growth for DTLA is projected to reach 250,000 people living in the area by 2040. As a major employment center, DTLA houses over 68 million square feet of office space, 22 million square feet of retail space, and the surge of new hotel development has resulted in over 9,000 hotels rooms that support 22 million visitors, annually. Leading the way in this revitalization effort has been the Central City Association (CCA), advocating for policies that enhance the vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles, increasing investment in the region, and navigating the challenges that face the community. Its diverse membership of businesses, trade associations and nonprofit organizations collectively employ more than 350,000 people. Join CCA’s President & CEO, Jessica Lall, as she discusses the impact of CCA on the Downtown revitalization and their vision for the future of this fast-growing community. To learn more and become involved, please visit: www.ccala.org For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Aug 26, 2020
Episode # 8: #Partners#People#Promise | Robert Sausedo, President & CEO, Community Build
Founded in 1992 in the aftermath of the civil unrest in Los Angeles, which witnessed over $1 Billion in economic damage, Community Build came into being with a purpose to empower people, build platforms for human capital investment, promote economic development and to deliver critical programs and services. From those difficult days, the South Los Angeles region, comprising over 51 square miles, more than 750,000 residents, and 28 neighborhoods has witnessed a significant increase in public and private investment, with major projects underway. Yet, with rising investment also comes increased community concern over potential displacement and a host of other issues. Join us as we speak with Robert Sausedo, President & CEO of Community Build, as he shares his firsthand experience at the civil unrest in 1992, the work of Community Build in rebuilding South LA, and discusses the economic potential of the region going forward. To learn more and get involved, please visit: www.communitybuild.org. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Aug 18, 2020
Episode # 7: Ensuring Physical and Economic Mobility | Effie Turnbull Sanders, Executive Director, South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z)
With a belief that a child’s zip code should never determine her/his destiny; but realizing that the community one grows up in impacts that young person’s odds of graduating high school; health outcomes; and lifetime economic opportunities, “Promise Zones” were created by the federal government for the purpose of partnering with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, and leverage private investment in order to address public health and other priorities identified by the community. Join us in a conversation with Effie Turnbull Sanders, Executive Director of the SLATE-Z promise zone as she discusses their efforts to promote neighborhood revitalization, educational excellence, and economic empowerment in order to realize the promise and potential of South Los Angeles. To learn more and become involved, please visit: www.slatez.org For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Aug 12, 2020
Episode # 6: Changing Lives and Building Neighborhoods | Mark Wilson, President, CEO/Co-Founder, Coalition for Responsible Community Development
Join Mark A. Wilson, President, CEO/Co-Founder of the Coalition for Responsible Community Development, discussing their work focusing on “changing lives and building neighborhoods responsibly.” Since 2005, CRCD has focused its efforts on the historic “South Central” community of Vernon Central, with a mission “to better sustain, coordinate and improve local planning, development and community services that address the needs of low-income and working-class residents and small businesses in South Los Angeles.” Learn how this community in South LA is evolving; and how CRCD’s work – whether in youth empowerment; workforce and economic development; affordable housing; or efforts to preserve its rich cultural history – are having an impact. To learn more and get involved, please visit: https://www.coalitionrcd.org/ For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and stay in touch with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instag…
Aug 5, 2020
Episode # 5: Closing the Opportunity Gap for the South LA Community | Veronica Melvin, President & CEO, LA Promise Fund (With Special Guest Intro by LA City Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr.)
Embracing a bold vision to radically improve the future of LA communities by increasing educational equity and ultimately closing the opportunity gap, the LA Promise Fund is a nonprofit organization with a mission to prepare students for success in college, career, and life. Join us in a conversation with Veronica Melvin, President & CEO of LA Promise fund as she discusses the work of the LA Promise community, the organization’s focus on South LA, and it’s efforts to address the talent pipeline problem that exists in STEM fields. To learn more and become involved, please visit: www.lapromisefund.org For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and connect with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Jul 29, 2020
Episode #4: Fostering LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship | Chris Fraley, Board member of StartOut
Founded in 2009 to promote LGBTQ+ equality and fight discrimination in the business world, StartOut has emerged as a leading champion for the LGBTQ+ entrepreneurial community, providing the resources entrepreneurs need to succeed, promoting success, and providing critical research on the economic impacts of LGBTQ+ discrimination. Join Chris Fraley, Board Member of StartOut, as we discuss the evolution of the organization and its work; the state of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship in the U.S. and in our region; and also the Supreme Court’s recent landmark ruling that federal law protects workers from job discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and its impacts on LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship. To learn more and get involved, please visit http://www.StartOut.org For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and stay in touch with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA), Instagram (@Civitas_LA) and Twitter (@C…
Jul 22, 2020
Episode # 3: Nurturing emerging filmmakers | Larry Laboe, Executive Director, NewFilmmakers LA
In LA’s signature industry —entertainment – NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) is forging a path and creating community for the next generation of storytellers. With the goal of showcasing, supporting, educating and connecting diverse and emerging filmmakers, NFMLA is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization designed to showcase innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge of monthly screening events. Meet Founding Executive Director, Larry Laboe, as we discuss the work of NFMLA and its efforts to provide a forum where filmmakers can be recognized for their contributions, have open audience discussions about their projects and connect with industry professionals for insight on distribution, production, acquisition, and representation. To learn more and get involved, please visit http://www.newfilmmakersla.com For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And…
Jul 15, 2020
Episode # 2: Empowering youth | Mel Culpepper, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood
Educating, inspiring and supporting our youth takes a village. In the village that is Hollywood, we explore the work of the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood (BGCH). Since 1937, the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood has provided a safe haven for children to discover, learn, lead and succeed. We are joined by visionary leader of the BGCH, CEO Mel Culpepper, where we discuss the important community building work taking place at their club and how the changes taking place across Hollywood impacts that work. To learn more and get involved, please visit www.bgchollywood.com. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and stay in touch with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Jul 8, 2020
Episode #1: Re-imagining Hollywood’s “Main Street” | Dan Halden, HEART of Hollywood and Li Wen, Gensler
Cities are ever evolving and spaces within cities are forever being re-imagined. And, with COVID 19, the global pandemic is also influencing how cities reshape themselves, and this is true in LA. In Los Angeles, the historic and globally recognized community of Hollywood has been undergoing rapid revitalization that has attracted billions in new investment. As private capital has returned, significant public investment and re-imaging is also taking place. This episode features a conversation with Dan Halden, Director of the HEART of Hollywood, and Li Wen, Design Principal with Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, to talk about the visionary re-imaging of Hollywood’s central corridor, Hollywood Boulevard, and the transformative Walk of Fame Master Plan project. To learn more and get involved, please visit: www.heartofhollywood.la For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and stay in touch with us on Facebook (@Civ…
Jul 1, 2020
Episode #0: Introducing CivitasLA | Dwayne Gathers, Creator & Host
Join Creator & Host Dwayne Gathers as he introduces the CivitasLA podcast and its goals of featuring diverse leaders, fostering community connections, and promoting civic engagement. With nearly two decades of civic and community engagement experience in Los Angeles through service on various boards and commissions, Dwayne shares his thoughts on the need (and opportunity) to create a platform that would highlight and celebrate the work of a broader range of up and coming leaders and elevate more diverse voices in the region’s civic conversation. For more information, please visit www.CivitasLA.com And, we hope you’ll rate and review our show; and stay in touch with us on Facebook (@CivitasLA) and Twitter (@Civitas_LA).
Jun 8, 2020
Welcome to CivitasLA, a new podcast featuring diverse and emerging leaders who make up this dynamic region and are creating community every day . . . and building a better future. Each week, learn from and be inspired by a new generation of civic entrepreneurs who are forging a path forward in making Los Angeles a stronger, more resilient, and connected group of citizens.