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Community Investments

Through Community Investments First 5 LA strives to increase the number of children in Los Angeles County, from prenatal through age 5, who are physically and emotionally healthy, safe and ready to learn. First 5 LA has adopted a strategy of leveraging fiscal and non-fiscal resources to extend the effectiveness of investments in L.A. County.

Community Investments is a new effort from First 5 LA, a child advocacy and grantmaking organization created by California voters to invest tobacco tax revenue in programs for improving the lives of L.A. County young children.

Community Investments funds projects and partnerships that result in at least one of the following outcomes:

  • Support and enhance the impacts of First 5 LA's investments 
  • Leverage social and financial capital through effective partnerships
  • Strengthen the capacity of organizations and communities
  • Policy change

Connecting the Dots: Building Alliances, Networks and Partnerships 

Community Investments recognizes that organizations must mobilize and leverage resources to sustain desired outcomes for young children and their families in Los Angeles County. In order to support and sustain First 5 LA's four priority outcomes, Community Investments utilizes three primary strategies: grantmaking, relationship building and information sharing.

Grantmaking 

Strengthening and connecting organizations is at the core of grantmaking practices. Grantmaking supports partnerships, networks and collaboratives - bringing allies together to advocate for, and secure, additional resources.

Through grantmaking, First 5 LA seeks to:

  • Support strategic partnerships by co-investing and co-designing projects 
  • Match funds to leverage public and private resources
  • Facilitate organizational capacity building

Relationship Building 

Stakeholders working together and in coordination is critical to the success of any shared objective. Through Relationship Building we lead efforts to build timely, critical connections between First 5 LA and other investors, such as private foundations, individual donors, businesses and government agencies.

Information Sharing 

Sharing research results, community data, and other findings is essential to successfully leveraging resources and implementing best practices. It also allows for the analysis of current and past community investment strategies and return on investment.

Through Information Sharing we are able to ensure that communities are working effectively and efficiently to maximize resources and invest wisely.

Funding and Partnership Opportunities 

Community Investments is designing competitive funding opportunities and developing partnerships. These opportunities may take place across Los Angeles County, or occur within one of First 5 LA's 14 Best Start communities. Best Start is a community-driven effort that brings together parents and community members to support young children and families. 

Competitive Funding

  • Matching Funds Program: Provides matching funds to organizations to improve their chances of a successful grant application for non-First 5 LA funding. 
  • Challenge Grants Program: Awards funds to grantees at a 1:1 match rate as they are able to raise new funds during the specified challenge period.
  • Social Enterprise Grant Program: Funds the development and implementation of earned income strategies to be used by nonprofits to diversify their revenue streams.
  • Healthy Food Access Initiative: Provides communities with the opportunity to build new community gardens to grow and consume fruits and vegetables in an effort to support obesity prevention, increase food security, provide physical activity and support community cohesion.
  • Capacity Building Grants: Funds strategies to strengthen the capacity of organizations and communities to maximize and leverage resources for sustainability. 

Partnerships

  • LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment: Creates and administers a funders' partnership that brings together organizations and individual investors to create a pooled grant fund. First 5 LA will be supplying a 1:1 match, and is a co-designer of the grant program supported by these pooled funds.
  • DonorsChoose.org: Provides 1:1 matching grants for preschool and transitional kindergarten classroom projects that serve the First 5 LA target population.
  • Advancement Project: Analyzes data to develop and disseminate an advocacy brief that identifies disparities in contracting for state child care funding in Los Angeles County, and mobilizes advocates and policy makers about the disparities that exist.
  • LA Place-Based Learning Group: Develops relationships and shares best practices among funders interested in implementing place-based strategies.
  • Los Angeles Neighborhoods Revitalization Workgroup: Maintains operations and support of the workgroup, which is tasked with integrating public and philanthropic investments and initiatives in select, distressed neighborhoods.

Who Can Get Involved 

To be considered for funding or partnership opportunities, projects must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Increase knowledge and awareness, or lead to change, in one or more of First 5 LA's priority outcomes and/or First 5 LA's target population. 
  • Identify fiscal or non-fiscal resources that will be leveraged.
  • Address the needs of First 5 LA's 0 to 5 target population.

The Community Investments Department is always looking for new funding and partnership opportunities with:

  • Foundations
  • Nonprofits
  • Businesses 
  • Government agencies
  • Health organizations 
  • Educational organizations
  • Private donors 

If you are interested in co-funding, partnering or receiving grants, please email the Community Investments Department at [email protected] or call us at 213-482-6611.

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