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Invest in Parents & Connect Families Across Socioeconomic Barriers to Break the Cycle of Poverty

LIFT-Los Angeles

Non-profit organization

LIFT-LA will transform the lives of 4,000 community members and influence 100,000 Angelenos to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty for parents and children.



What does your organization do?

LIFT-LA is the only anti-poverty organization providing financial and career coaching to low-income parents of young children, supported by a loving coach with access to financial and social capital.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

LIFT-LA will launch the #upLIFTingLA campaign to change the perception of people living in poverty in order to build social and financial capital. The campaign features an event called LIFTopolis, which brings together 250 philanthropists, elected officials, and thought leaders to influence social service systems change. We will share stories from the 4,000 parents and children living in poverty to break down the barriers that divide us and lift all Angelenos across social and economic divides.

Which of the live metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Healthcare access
  • Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard
  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • South LA
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
  • Increase donations to organizations and causes

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to live?

The cycle of poverty is perpetuated by stereotypes and stigma. Everyone has experienced the need to reach out for help. Imagine if, when you do so, you are constantly turned away because you don’t have the right documents, you don’t speak the right language, you don’t qualify for services. Your situation is desperate and you know your children are being adversely affected every day. This is the grim reality for millions of hard-working Angelenos.

Los Angeles County ranks seventh in income inequality out of the nation’s 150 largest metro regions. While Los Angeles County has the highest number of millionaire residents in the country, 21.5% of our city’s residents are living in poverty. LIFT-LA actively builds bridges and provides opportunities for people within these communities — the top 5% and the bottom 21.5% - to connect. This is an intentional and radical approach as part of our four-year strategic plan to build bridged social capital between communities, and to allow our members and supporters to be in relationships with one another. We know from experience that the power of social networks can make or break our ability to achieve goals. LIFT-LA not only shines the light on the achievements of our members, we shine the light on the value of networks, compassion and the ability that the philanthropic community has to directly affect the well-being of others.

Through this activation, LIFT-LA will break down the barriers that divide us, and show Angelenos the real faces of people living in poverty: the faces of fierce and determined parents who are working hard to create opportunities for themselves and their children. LIFT-LA offers so many ways for people from different communities to connect. Through our Member2Member (M2M) network we facilitate direct transfers of cash and resources between supporters and members in times of crisis. Through our Holiday Fiesta, LIFT-LA connects supporter and member families during the holidays to be in relationships with one another that span the course of the year. This facilitation of bridged social capital not only has direct impacts for the member and supporter families involved, it helps to change the narrative of division and separation between communities.

This innovative model of social capital is like no other work taking place in Los Angeles, and it is making our city a better place to live for everyone. We are directly impacting families by reducing adverse childhood experiences and lifting up families to reach a place of self-sufficiency.

Due to the wealth disparity, what we have accomplished at LIFT-LA is a microcosm of what is possible for the rest of the nation. If bridged social capital is possible in LA, it is possible anywhere and LIFT is leading the way in creating resilient communities.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to live

LIFT is actively building bridges and providing opportunities for people within these communities — the top 5% and the bottom 21.5% - to connect. We will run an event called LIFTopolis, an empathy-inducing simulation illuminating how difficult it is for those who are poor to navigate the social services system. The venue is transformed into a bustling city “LIFTopolis” where participants take on the identity of a LIFT member and the space is filled with social service and government agencies. After the simulation, an expert panel leads a conversation on what participants can do to create change. We share LIFT’s insights on solutions, and invite participants to join #upLIFTingLA. We will build bridged social capital throughout the year through: 1) Quarterly skill-building workshops for LIFT parents around career pathways with supporters invited to serve as volunteers and mentors; 2) Outings and experiences (i.e. hiking, back-to-school drives) that put families in relationship with each other across socioeconomic barriers; 3) Digital and in-person invitations to join our network called Member2Member, that delivers responsive financial resources to families in need from those who are well-resourced; 4) Holiday Fiesta which offers the opportunity for sponsor families to invest in families participating in LIFT with traditional gift exchange acting as a nontraditional spark to bring families together past the holiday season.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

LIFT believes that in order to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, it is critical for people who are wealthy and people who are poor to be in mutually beneficial relationships with one another. It is by bridging this social capital that LIFT parents will be able to experience accelerated access to financial stability. It is the transformative power of bridged social capital that gets families to better solutions faster, and in the process build stronger communities. In fact, at LIFT we’ve actually proven it works by tracking growth in our members’ social capital and comparing it to their progress against economic outcomes and found an undeniable correlation between the two. In short, the more social capital you have, the more likely it is you achieve your goals. We will use the following metrics to measure the success of #upLIFTingLA: 80% of LIFT families reporting progress on one or more of the below three measures: 35% of families increase income; 50% of families decrease debt or increase savings; 70% of families persist in or improve education or employment; 250+ attendees at LIFTopolis; 500+ high-net worth individuals and community member families at Holiday Fiesta; 20% increase on average over the course of the year in social media impressions using #upLIFTingLA hashtag; we will activate Angelenos to vote with their wallets raising $7M for LIFT-Los Angeles to serve 4000 LIFT members directly and impact over 100,000 Angelenos by 2021.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

Long-term, LIFT seeks to position itself as a leading action tank for the anti-poverty field. Our movement towards this goal is evident in our invitation to participate in a Health and Human Services Department evaluation that will help the HHS Administration for Children and Families assess if and how coaching can better support parents—particularly those receiving TANF—in reaching their economic security goals. This is an exciting opportunity for LIFT to have broad sector influence by elevating coaching as a meaningful investment, alongside the biggest social service provider in the US, the federal government.

However, we know that data and research alone do not bring about systems change. It is the voices, faces and stories of individuals and families that bring clarity and authenticity to the issues that shape our city. Through our Member2Member network, LIFT is a trust broker executing on not just successful moments of bridged social capital, but putting people in relationship with one another who would otherwise never meet. People who come from wholly different backgrounds and life experiences. Acts of generosity and connection do more than just mitigate homelessness. It allowed that member to persist in the pursuit of their long-term goals to self-sufficiency. LIFT is in the unique position of offering an effective researched-based model to combat poverty, while also offering compelling, real stories of our hard-working members and our empathetic and committed donor network. As an organization, we can demonstrate how an agency can facilitate relationships between people who are different from one another and we know that in order to move the needle on poverty, bridged social capital is integral. These stories are not just a feel-good blog post, but rather a key component to our systems change strategy in the sector. By lifting up the voices of these people, LIFT has the ability to shape culture and perception, creating compassionate, resilient communities, and making Los Angeles the best place to live.


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