Statewide network of California’s leading foundations takes an important step to fund innovation in youth justice reform.
Los Angeles, CA – As part of a statewide effort to reduce barriers and improve opportunities for boys and men of color, a group of philanthropic leaders today announced an initial investment of $200,000 to support the coordination of efforts to reduce youth incarceration and reform the youth justice system in Los Angeles County.
“We are in the midst of an incredibly historic moment for youth justice reform in Los Angeles,” said Shane Goldsmith, President and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation. “Research has proven that second chances and community support are cheaper and more effective than time in jail or prison. We are investing in projects that have been proven to work in keeping our kids out of the criminal justice system and improving public safety for our communities.”
The California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMoC) is a statewide network of leading foundations that are aligning their efforts and resources to improve life outcomes for boys and men of color through systems change. The CFBMoC’s Southern California Regional Action Committee aims to transform Los Angeles County’s approach to youth development and ensure that all young people, including boys and men of color, have a fair chance to thrive. The grants were made by four members of the Southern California Regional Action Committee–Liberty Hill Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation and Weingart Foundation. All four of these philanthropic organizations have made a commitment to fund efforts that promote racial equity and justice in policies.
“Due to a growing movement around youth justice reform in Los Angeles, we have a momentous opportunity to create real and lasting community safety,” said Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “By creating a system of support and development for our children—and not just relying on punishment—LA can show the way to create a healthier and brighter future for California.”
The CFBMoC planning grants will support community engagement, policy advocacy and best-practices in youth development for eight Southern California-based groups: Children’s Defense Fund – California, Urban Peace Institute, Youth Justice Coalition, Community Coalition, Inner City Struggle, Khmer Girls in Action, Brotherhood Crusade and Social Justice Learning Institute. The organizations selected have a proven record of championing positive youth development, working to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in Los Angeles County and partnering with youth, families and communities of color directly impacted by the juvenile justice system. The goal of the effort is to reduce the need for youth prisons, close detention facilities and reinvest the taxpayer savings into prevention programs that keep youth out of trouble in the first place.
“This is an exciting time to support efforts to improve health and wellness of young men and boys of color in Los Angeles,” said Judy Belk, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation. “The selected organizations are anchors in their communities, committed to improving outcomes for these young men, and led by individuals who have long advocated for policies to prevent violence in their communities, reduce incarceration and expand employment opportunities. They will move the needle with their focus on results, advocacy and social change.”
Los Angeles County offers opportunities to create lasting change, influencing how other regions tackle youth justice. The philanthropic investment comes as the county launches a new department focused on youth justice issues and commits $26 million to support programs that give youth the chance to avoid jail by participating in community programs that have a proven record of success. Los Angeles County incarcerates and detains more youth than anywhere else in the nation. A county audit found that the average cost of incarcerating a young person in the county was estimated at $233,600 a year. CFBMoC’s Southern Regional Action Committee has committed to supporting the existing advocacy and organizing infrastructure in the county while bolstering community-led efforts to end youth incarceration.
The priorities for this initial funding include: (1) facilitating alliance building between new and more established advocates in youth justice; (2) providing resources for coalition infrastructure needs as identified by partners; and, (3) mobilizing resources from funders to support implementation of collaborative campaign plans.
CFBMoC is managed by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation. The statewide network will continue to look for additional opportunities to spur reform and systems change in Los Angeles County and two other regions across California, the Bay Area and Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley.
About The California Funders for Boys and Men of Color
The California Funders for Boys and Men of Color (CFBMoC) brings together executives from the state’s leading philanthropic institutions to help shape a better future for boys and men of color in the state. The CFBMoC aligns the resources, networks and voices of California foundations to build the momentum, public will and policy attention necessary to improve outcomes and expand opportunities for African American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander and Native American boys and young men. For more information, please visit cafundersforbmoc.org. On Twitter @CABMOCFunders
Layla Crater, Change Consulting, Layla@change-llc.com, 310-804-3107
Lys Mendez, Liberty Hill Foundation, LMendez@libertyhill.org, (323) 556-7211