Fraser Hammersly | First 5 LA Digital Content Specialist

June 30, 2022

First 5 LA’s Meeting of the Board of Commissioners convened virtually on June 9. The agenda included a vote to approve First 5 LA’s FY 2022-23 proposed budget and adjustments to the long-term fiscal plan (LTFP), approvals of several amendments to strategic partnerships, and public hearings on First 5 LA’s Strategic Plan Refinement Process and the First 5 California Annual Report.

Los Angeles County Supervisor and First 5 LA Commission Chair Sheila Kuehl opened the June 9 Board of Commissioners meeting by reflecting on the cumulative work of the 58 county commissions that make up the statewide network of First 5s. 

“It is important for us to remind ourselves how much really good work First 5 California does in connection with First 5 LA. I think we sometimes forget about the cumulative, collective and positive impact that First 5 California and all of its chapters has across the state on our 0-5 age children,” Kuehl stated. 

Kuehl also utilized her time to bid a fond farewell to First 5 LA Commissioner Keesha Woods, who was appointed to First 5 LA’s Board of Commissioners by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in 2018. 

“Keesha, you’ve been a guiding light, a great advocate for children in their early years of education and learning, Commissioner Romalis Taylor added. “Totally appreciate your advocation and steadfastness to advocate for the people and children of our community.” 

Additionally, Kuehl offered a warm welcome to First 5 LA’s new Chief Operating Officer, JR Nino, who officially joined First 5 LA in May. To read First 5 LA’s statement announcing Nino’s position, click here. 

The consent agenda was unanimously approved. Notable items included the approval of an amendment to a strategic partnership with the Regents of the University of California to continue supporting First 5 LA’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA), as well as an amendment to a strategic partnership with LACOE to utilize the remaining Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive Initiative (IMPACT) 2020 funding from First 5 California’s Quality Start Los Angeles (QSLA) grant. 

For more information on the amendment to the strategic partnership with the Regents of the University of California, click here. For more information on the amendment to the strategic partnership with LACOE, click here. 

An amendment to the Executive Director Succession Plan was also approved. After further review of the succession plan that was previously approved by the Board in March, the Executive Director and Legal Counsel determined that additional updates were needed to ensure that the Board has the option of limiting an executive search to internal candidates or broadening the search to include a pool of internal and external candidates. 

To see the updated Executive Director Success Plan with amendments, click here.

Following the consent agenda, Financial Planning & Analysis Manager Daisy Lopez presented the Board with a finalized draft of First 5 LA’s FY 2022-23 budget and revised Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP). 

Noting that the budget had been presented in detail at past Commission and Committee meetings, Lopez provided a high-level overview of the finalized budget, breaking down the request that was being made of the Board, which included both the approval of the budget and adjustments to the LTFP. 

Both the budget and revised LTFP were unanimously approved. For details on the FY 2022-23 budget, click here. For details on the revised LTFP, click here. 

Next on the agenda was a presentation by First 5 LA Office of Data for Action Senior Data Strategist HaRi Kim Han that served as a public hearing to receive and file First 5 California’s FY 2021-22 Annual Report, which is a procedural requirement outlined by Proposition 10. 

Reflecting Kuehl’s remarks at the top of the meeting, Kim Han highlighted how the First 5 California annual report distills data that showcases the cumulative impact that First 5s across the state have had on California’s young children. 

Noting critical highlights in the report, Kim Han shared that, on top of an initial $5 million investment during FY 2020-21, First 5 California also invested $2 million in COVID-19 relief for children and families. Cumulatively, the 58 commissions spent $11.7 million on emergency and disaster relief, including the COVID-19 response. Lastly, Kim Han shared that the 58 First 5 commissions were able to reach 502,638 children, 778,341 adults and 74,539 providers statewide in their efforts to promote, support and optimize the development of children in California.

To view the First 5 California Annual Report, click here. 

In addition to holding a public hearing on First 5 California’s annual report, First 5 LA is also required by Proposition 10 to convene an annual hearing on First 5 LA’s Strategic Plan. To meet this requirement, First 5 LA Senior Strategist Kaya Tith presented an overview of First 5 LA’s 2020-28 Strategic Plan in the context of its second year of implementation. 

Tith began by noting how the annual review is an opportunity to pause and reflect on efforts and learnings from First 5 LA’s work over the past year. The Strategic Plan serves as the roadmap for guiding the organization toward its bold North Star: By 2028, all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed at school and life. 

Tith grounded the presentation by explaining how the Strategic Plan articulates what outcomes First 5 LA needs to relentlessly pursue — and what it would take to achieve those outcomes — to make its North Star goal a reality. She provided a brief overview of the four Strategic Priorities outlined in the Plan, explaining how each of the priorities — 1) strengthening public and community systems; 2) advancing and leveraging community experience; 3) expanding influence and impact with data and 4) optimizing First 5 LA’s effectiveness — are interconnected and foundational to First 5 LA’s success. 

Noting that Commissioners had already received in-depth updates on implementation progress throughout the year, Tith focused on providing high-level examples related to each of the four Strategic Priorities. For information on details shared with the Board during the June meeting, please see slides 5-7 here. For a deeper dive into examples shared with the Board over the last year of implementation, please click here. 

Tith closed the presentation with key learnings and reflections from the second year of First 5 LA’s 2020-28 Strategic Plan implementation. 

“We’re learning,” Tith said, “that prioritizing what we will — as well as what we won’t do — requires building that strategic muscle, grounded in a practice of inquiry where we’re asking ourselves: Where do we want to go and why? How do we get there? Where are we now?” 

Along with developing a practice of inquiry, another key learning Tith highlighted has been how aligning First 5 LA’s activities with its fiscal reality is critical to maximizing First 5 LA’s impact. She also shared that work needs to be done to create a consistent understanding of the Strategic Plan, and that time and intentionality are needed when it comes to clarifying outcomes, specifically as they relate to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

On the topic of DEI, she added that First 5 LA has learned that “it requires building — and, at times, restoring — trust, creating intention and brave spaces, and developing the accountability structures needed to hold ourselves accountable to our commitment to DEI.”

The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for July 14, 2022. For more details, please visit 72 hours in advance of the scheduled meeting.