LOS ANGELES, Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Liberty Hill Foundation (Liberty Hill), and the California Community Foundation (CCF) released an annual report today on their innovative youth development initiative, Ready to Rise: Expanding Opportunities for All L.A. County Youth (R2R). The report looks at R2R's success in increasing opportunities and resources for community-based youth development organizations that keep youth out of the legal system and help those in the system successfully transition back into the community.
R2R is a public-private partnership between the Los Angeles County Probation Department (Probation), CCF, and Liberty Hill, which began in 2019 as a $3.2 million pilot program. By 2020, it had expanded significantly to a multi-year initiative serving 49 youth development organizations across the region.
The goal of R2R is to grow a robust countywide youth development ecosystem where all youth of color are positioned to succeed, learn, and thrive before any criminal justice system contact occurs.
"Ready to Rise is a prime example of the power of public-private partnerships to create innovative solutions to long-entrenched problems," said Liberty Hill President & CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith. "They also allow us to move critical public funds quickly and more equitably into approaches that uplift the experience and knowledge of community organizations who are best positioned to meet the needs of young people."
As the initiative enters its third year it has now grown to a $38 million initiative providing critical funding for community-based services connecting Black, Brown and Native American youth with civic engagement, leadership development, arts, health and wellness, and academic enrichment.
To date, R2R has served nearly 12,000 youth from priority populations such as justice-involved, foster youth, LGBTQ+, unhoused youth, and other youth dealing with significant challenges. More than $18.7 million has been granted to youth-serving organizations—69% of which are led by people of color, including Black and Native American leaders.
R2R grantees have also participated in more than 2,000 hours of leadership development training, coaching, and planning to enhance their organizational capacity — enabling a collective 15% median growth in their budgets, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
The R2R initiative has proven that working with a third-party intermediary to invest in the community gives Los Angeles County a quick and effective way to impact racial injustice. This type of partnership is now a primary recommendation of the proposed $300 million Measure J implementation process, which seeks to offer alternatives to incarceration through direct community investment.
As stated in the report, R2R has proven its ability to be an equitable, fair, efficient, and responsive vehicle for distributing government dollars and growing the organizational capacity of youth service providers in L.A. County.
"Los Angeles County has one of the nation's largest punitive systems when it comes to addressing youth violence," said Antonia Hernández, President and CEO of the California Community Foundation. "We believe Ready to Rise can be a model for communities across the country in how to successfully replace traditional structures of punishment and incarceration with a whole child approach that meets the needs of our youth by offering academic, identity, socio-emotional, physical health, mental wellness and other youth development services."
The impact on youth has been improved educational and personal wellness outcomes, reduction in system involvement, and expanded access to positive developmental environments. Additionally, R2R has enhanced the collaboration of youth-serving organizations, and strengthened their ability to secure government funds.
"The Ready to Rise partnership marks an innovative approach for how Los Angeles County can use public resources to support and empower young people and uplift powerful community resources," said Adolfo Gonzales, Chief of Probation. "I am very excited to see and hear about the wonderful accomplishments of the Ready to Rise grantees. I am proud to continue to support our collective goal of providing support to our youth using community driven solutions. Onward!"
About Liberty Hill Foundation Liberty Hill Foundation is a laboratory for social change philanthropy. We leverage the power of community organizers, donor activists, and allies to advance social justice through strategic investment in grants, leadership training, and campaigns. We envision a society in which all people have a powerful voice, including those currently shut out of our democracy, people cut off from opportunities because of their skin color, gender or sexual orientation, where they live, or where they were born. We will not rest until society provides justice and equality for all.
About the California Community Foundation The California Community Foundation (CCF) has served as a public, charitable organization for Los Angeles County since 1915. Its mission is to lead positive systemic change that strengthens Los Angeles communities. CCF stewards $2.4 billion in assets and manages 1,700 charitable foundations, funds and legacies. For more information, please visit calfund.org.