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Community Organizations Create Holistic Approach to Poverty Reduction in Los Angeles
Latin Post, June 25, 2014
By Nicole Akoukou Thompson

The transformation of Los Angeles neighborhoods through holistic approaches to poverty reduction (e.g., high quality schools and technology services) is underway. Youth Policy Institute, Little Tokyo Service Center and LINC Housing, three of the nation’s leading nonprofits, are spearheading new efforts to revitalize the economic landscape of Los Angeles by enabling successful cradle-to-college-to-career transitioning for students and the development of better coordinated programs and services for the community, all with the support of Partners in Progress (PIP).

Los Angeles is 48.2 percent Hispanic, so the Latino community is likely to gain greatly from PIP’s involvement with community service organizations. PIP is funded by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and Citi Foundation, and they are looking to boost programs that are at the forefront of urban planning and development.

“It’s a paradigm shift in how we've approached our work in previous decades,” said Nancy Andrews, president and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund in San Francisco. “In many ways, this is the vision that actually returns to the original vision of the War on Poverty.”

LIIF and Citi Foundation have thrown their support behind a total of 13 national programs, which include Asian Americans for Equality, BRIDGE Housing, CASA de Maryland, Chicago Community Loan Fund & West Humboldt Park Family and Community Development Council, Community Solutions/Brownsville Partnership, East Bay Asian and Local Development Corporation, Fairfield County Community Foundation, Frazier Revitalization Inc., Jubilee Housing Inc., Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, and the three aforementioned Los Angeles-based programs.

PIP looks to advance economic progress in low-income neighborhoods, transforming the community development field and the lives of the people in those communities. PIP is built on the “community quarterback” conceptual model, whereby trusted local organizations align objectives, resources and efforts among stakeholders to create resilient and strong neighborhoods and paths to economic success.

Throughout 2014, PIP will provide $3.25 million to the 13 quarterbacks, helping the foundations to develop, expand and network and to improve connectivity to housing, transportation, jobs, community safety, health care, childhood development, educational opportunities and many other services. In addition, the 13 grantees will participate in a “learning community,” where they share learned skills and glean best practice, including coaching, skill building and knowledge sharing. The communal learning process ensures that each organization becomes stronger and will likely inspire other community organizations to collaborate and magnify their reach and effectiveness.

“All of these different initiatives are overlapping, and Partners in Progress is a vehicle that allows us to build partnerships,” the director of community development at the Youth Policy Institute, Angelica Solis said to Al-Jazeera. “It really opens up opportunities.”

Check out Partners in Progress on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright ©2014 Latin Post
Reprinted with permission.