May 27, 2021
First 5 LA Commission Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl opened the May 13 Board of Commissioners meeting by expressing her condolences on the recent passing of First 5 LA founding commissioner Jane Boeckmann.
“She was always quiet, and I sort of wondered, ‘Is Jane going to speak?’ … But when she did, we’d listen. She spoke with passion and compassion, and a lot of knowledge, particularly on issues related to child abuse and neglect,” Kuehl said.
Boeckmann served on First 5 LA’s Board of Commissioners from 1998 to 2018. To read her obituary, click here.
Continuing her remarks, Kuehl stated that she felt a new turning point had been reached in the pandemic with the successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and the reduction of positive cases.
“I think it makes sense at this meeting to take a minute and maybe even congratulate ourselves a little bit as a Board. Celebrate what we did right, how we stepped up, definitely how Kim [Belshé] and our magnificent staff stepped up,” she said.
Referring to recent funding and policy proposals at the state and federal levels, Kuehl stated that First 5 LA has an opportunity to shape how these proposals will impact child- and family-serving systems.
“I think the opportunity is there like never before for us to impact so many of these plans. So, 2021 is looking up. I might be a bit of an optimist but I’m happy about that, and I’m really proud of the way we are taking part in the county’s recovery,” she said.
“I really want to emphasize the window of opportunity that we have before us to move a bold and powerful vision that we embrace as an organization,” Executive Director Kim Belshé said in response.
“We articulate a North Star — it’s a broadly held vision around early childhood services and supports and a more just and equitable community in L.A., California and nationally. And that we, First 5 LA, have a role to play here,” she said.
The consent agenda was unanimously approved. To see the list of action items, click here.
Financial Planning and Analysis Manager Daisy Lopez and Finance Director Raoul Ortega presented Optimizing Our Effectiveness: Presenting Draft Proposed FY 2021-22 Budget and Long-Term Financial Plan.
Ortega highlighted key themes of First 5 LA’s proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget, stating that the budget reflects a clear commitment to the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan with an emphasis on internal integration, collaboration and the continued implementation of strategic plan imperatives.
He also pointed out that the proposed budget reflects First 5 LA’s value of sustainability, which Lopez later added can be seen within the budget as $5.1 million in funding unrelated to revenues generated by Proposition 10.
“In addition, the programs and investments are refined through the lens of DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] and First 5 LA’s pathway of doing our work through policy, advocacy and systems change,” Ortega said, continuing his explanation of how First 5 LA’s values are reflected within the budget.
Lopez walked the Board through the components of the budget, explaining that the framework for the proposed 2021-22 budget has shifted from previous budget frameworks to reflect the new organizational structure and the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan.
According to Lopez, the proposed budget is divided into the following components: 1) Strategic Plan priorities (as categorized under each of First 5 LA’s Centers and Offices), 2) legacy investments, 3) emerging opportunities, and 4) internal operations.
In the second part of the presentation, Lopez provided updates on First 5 LA’s Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) –– the 10-year fiscal plan that guides First 5 LA’s spending –– based on changes in First 5 LA’s expenditures and revenues.
“The updates to the revenues and estimated spending included in the LTFP and outlined in Appendix A result in an increase in revenue, a decrease in expenditures, and consequently, an increase in our projected available ending fund balance at fiscal year-end 2027-28, from $4.2 million reflected in last year’s LTFP to $55.9 million,” Lopez said when reporting how fiscal assumptions had led to adjustments to the LTFP.
The final version of the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget is scheduled for action at the June 2021 Board of Commissioners meeting. To learn more about First 5 LA’s 2021-22 proposed fiscal budget, click here.
The second presentation, Learnings from the Discussions on Best Start Regions, was given to the Board by Communities Interim Director Lee Werbel, Communities Senior Program Officer Alfredo Lee and Communities Senior Program Officer Joaquin Calderon.
Between February and April 2021, First 5 LA’s Communities team, partners, and community members from the Best Start Regional Network led a series of presentations related to progress within each of the five Best Start regions at First 5 LA’s Program and Planning Committee meetings.
Calderon spoke on the overlapping themes that emerged in each of the regions’ presentations, including prioritizing parent- and resident-centered change, cultivating inclusion and belonging with Best Start communities and promoting collective action.
“When looking at these overlapping themes, we see how our work is anchored in systems change and how the work is unfolding with parents and residents at the center,” Calderon said, highlighting how each of the themes is a necessary ingredient for systems change work.
Lee shared examples of how the work within the Best Start Regional Network contributes to First 5 LA meeting the Strategic Priorities laid out in the 2020-2028 Strategic Plan.
According to Lee, First 5 LA’s work with Best Start helped strengthen public and community systems through increased coordination and partnerships that occurred throughout the regions, which led to the leveraging of $7.9 million in public funds for COVID-19 relief.
In regard to the second priority, advancing and building on community experience, Lee shared how Best Start works to strengthen pathways for parents to become community leaders by practicing inclusion and community action, which in turn informs systems change efforts that are centered around parent voices.
The third priority, expanding influence and impact with data, Lee shared that First 5 LA is working to meet this priority by making data accessible to Best Start communities and calling attention to disparities highlighted by data to drive system changes.
Lastly, as an example related to the fourth priority, optimizing effectiveness, Lee spoke about how First 5 LA was able to contribute to this priority by learning and adapting quickly as a funding partner during the COVID-19 pandemic; this agility allowed for the development of nimbler funding parameters to respond to the changing conditions within Best Start communities.
An article highlighting the progress from each of the five Best Start regions will be shared in the June edition of First 5 LA’s Early Childhood Matters newsletter.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for June 10, 2021. For more information, please visit www.first5la.org/our-board/meeting-materials.