September 2014  
In This Issue
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer
Project in the Spotlight
LA2050 Grants Challenge.
Projects in the News
Events and Learning Opportunities
From the Field
About Us

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Ravi Shah
Senior Program Associate

Lauren Kay
Communications Manager
From the Desk of Paul Vandeventer

The Disruptive Possibilities of Ordinary Talk


Call me cautious, but when it comes to choosing between today's popular bent toward disruptive innovation and more traditional approaches to change, I favor the latter nine times out of ten. It's true, sometimes we must charge ahead in the face of complete historical and cultural intransigence. An example that comes to mind is the timidity and reluctance about long-overdue civil rights shifts for which The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King excoriated his fellow clergymen in his profound and moving "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." At critical points, all robust societies need just the sort of revolution the civil rights movement represented.

Otherwise, I believe, we'd best err on the side of respect and compromise when we go about disruptively innovating, especially when what we want to do is in somebody else's neighborhood. It's important to recall, after all, that disruptive innovation is a term that Harvard's Clayton Christensen coined after looking at commercial businesses, not communities. Transferring commercially apt ideas and terminology into civil society contexts carries with it a lot of red flags and baggage. The more judiciously we do it, the better, as Derek W.M. Barker of Kettering Foundation advises.  

To read the entire article, please click here.

Project in the Spotlight

      Dignity and Power Now

Patrisse Cullors

For the past two years Patrisse Cullors has literally been fighting City Hall.  And although her coalition's unyielding push for a civilian review board to oversee the Sheriff's department was rejected by the Board of Supervisors
last month, she is clearly undaunted.


Within weeks of that defeat, two members of Dignity and Power Now, the group she started to run the Coalition to End Sheriff's Violence, were in Geneva, presenting a report on the disproportionate incarceration of blacks with mental health conditions to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).


"That was a really important really powerful experience," she said.  


Growing up in what she describes as a "heavily policed neighborhood" in Van Nuys, Cullors says she witnessed a lot of police brutality and experienced the trauma of incarceration first-hand. Her father, brother and both uncles have been in jail; her brother and uncle 'brutally beaten' in separate incidents with Sheriff's deputies, as detailed in this LA Times profile of Cullors earlier this year. "The impact the violence had on them has been devastating," she said. It has clearly been a motivating force in her life as well.


A few years ago, Cullors read an ACLU report on Sheriff's violence inside Los Angeles jails, which re-ignited outrage over those formative experiences. She responded first with a performance piece, but eventually channeled her energies into the creation of Dignity & Power Now. The group, under fiscal sponsorship with Community Partners since January, is working to address the issue of high incarceration rates among people of color as well as Sheriff violence inside jails through an arts collective, an in-school leadership program, as well as the Coalition.


Cullors remains hopeful about prospects for the civilian review board: she's got her sights now set on pushing the two Board of Supervisor candidates on the issue and educating voters prior to the November 4 election. "We've already got to two on our side," she quipped.


LA2050 Grants Challenge

Vote Now for the Best Visions for LA's Future

Voting is now on for LA 2050's 2014 Grants Challenge and a dozen Community Partners projects are vying for $1 million. From tackling policy change to make streets safer for pedestrians, to helping small "mom n' pop" store owners create oases of good food businesses in 'food desert' communities, Community Partners projects have submitted (both solo and as partners) a wealth of compelling proposals. Check them out here

Projects in the News

A recent report from United Nations on the mounting death toll in Syria was the result of the painstaking efforts of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, a project of Community Partners since 2013. This was the third report from HRDAG commissioned by the UN on reported killings in the Syrian conflicts, and the complexities faced by the group in its continuing quest for the most accurate and reliable information is detailed in this post from fivethirtyeight. The report can be found here


HRDAG, led by Patrick Ball, is a non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world. He has testified as an expert in the ICTY trial against Slobodan Milosević, the former President of Serbia, and in Guatemala's Supreme Court in the trial of General José Efraín Ríos Montt, the de-facto president of Guatemala in 1982-1983. He'll be speaking in San Francisco Sept. 16.


Events and Learning Opportunities

September 10 and 11

Social Media for Nonprofits is coming back to Los Angeles with a very talented roster of speakers with nonprofit marketing and communications expertise. Sessions will address social media strategy, social fundraising, how to create creative videos, how to marry your social media efforts with mobile and more. Click here to view the agenda and register. Scholarships for small nonprofits are available. 


Applications Open for Annenberg Alchemy

Applications are now being accepted for Alchemy Leadership Seminar, the Annenberg Foundation's signature three-day capacity building training.

The free training is now open to nonprofits from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The sole cost of admission is the attendance of both the executive director and the board chair during the three days of training. Click here to see the eligibility requirements and here to view the schedule. 


Affordable Music Lessons in Los Angeles

The Saturday Conservatory of Music, a project of Community Partners, provides affordable music lessons to those in the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles area. Registration for the Fall Quarter begins on Saturday, September 27 at the First Baptist Church of Pasadena. Please click here for more information.

Training: Competing for Federal Grants
October 6-10

Each year, the federal government makes thousands of grants to state, local, and tribal governments, public institutions, private nonprofit organizations, and other groups. But to win these grants, you must understand the federal grants process and know how to position your organization to compete. This training is a good fit for organizations with prior experience in grant development. Learn more about this training here.

From the Field

Ice Bucket Challenge Round-Up

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this summer's viral phenomenon, has been a boon to the ALS Foundation, which has raised more than $100 million in donations from 2.8 million donors. In addition, millions are now more aware of the debilitating disease. Many if not all nonprofits dream of an awareness and fundraising campaign of this magnitude. Can other nonprofits replicate it? What takeaways can we apply to future fundraising and awareness campaigns? Here's a round-up of commentary: 

It's That Time Again: Year-End Fundraising

As summer and the ice bucket challenge phenomenon begin to fade, it's now time to prepare for year-end fundraising. Here are some articles and resources to help you get the most out of your campaign this fall: 

About Us

Community Partners works with social entrepreneurs, grantmakers and civic leaders to imagine possibilities, design solutions and see them through to results. Our work includes fiscal sponsorship, grantmaker partnerships, thought leadership and knowledge sharing.

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Los Angeles, CA 90012  
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