A LETTER FROM MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI

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The LA Promise Zone is a collective impact project to fight urban poverty. It provides resources and leadership to the organizations -- public, non-profit, and community based - that are making Central Los Angeles a better place to live, work and play. The City of Los Angeles is the lead agency for the initiative, and I am proud to host the LA Promise Zone Operations Team within my office of economic development. Since the establishment of the LA Promise Zone designation in January 2014, we have forged a powerful cross - sector partnership that is demonstrating how to target and align federal and local funding to create better life outcomes for students and families.

The City of Angels has always been a hub of innovation in America.It is deeply gratifying to advance innovation that addresses urban poverty and offers promising practices to other Los Angeles communities and to the nation. Working with citizens and our social sector partners, we are building a greater city where the future is bright for everyone.

OUR BEGINNINGS

In January 2014, the LA Promise Zone was chosen as one of the first five Promise Zone locations in our nation. Our successful bid for the designation would not have been possible without the groundbreaking work of the Youth Policy Institute (YPI). YPI's experience with federal programs that support community change efforts in the areas of education, public safety and affordable housing provide the foundation for the work of the LA Promise Zone. This Strategic Plan is a concise statement of the LA Promise Zone Initiative’s goals, objectives and activities that has been drawn from our original designation application documents, including the Partner Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Our designation application expressed all of our ambitions and potential approaches and strategies. Once we received the designation, it was necessary to fully review, reduce and prioritize the strategies to focus our collective energies on those activities that we believe will yield the highest positive impact. Our federal partners at HUD provided the first strategy matrix, transforming our narrative into table format. From there, the Promise Zone team assembled five policy-focused “placemats”, with proposed program, activities and strategies that were fielded in the following areas: Economic Activity, Education, Neighborhoods, Public Safety, and Civic Participation.

At this point the Partnership got to work. All MOU partners participated in at least one working group, where, over the course of 6 to 8 months, partners met to review, reduce and prioritize our strategies and activities. Almost concurrently, with pro bono assistance from Brand IQ, our Leadership Council developed a “positioning” for the Initiative, which included focus groups with LA Promise Zone residents. These focus groups helped to refine and verify the Initiative’s priorities. This Plan was then drafted by the Promise Zone team with input from our HUD liaison and staff at YPI. It was subsequently reviewed in draft form by the full Partnership at a series of Open Houses and then ultimately adopted by the Leadership Council in January 2016, a significant accomplishment to mark the completion of the 2nd year of the LA Promise Zone designation.