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African-American / Black


Philanthropy’s Role in Addressing Inequity in South LA and Advancing Policy and Systems Change

Thursday, February 25, 2021
10:00am - 11:30am

In South LA and elsewhere, Black and Brown communities remain vulnerable to disparities in all facets of life and multiple forms of displacement and erasure. This virtual presentation will be an opportunity to learn about how complex and deep structural and systemic racial injustice continues to serve as a destructive force in driving inequities in health, housing, employment, incarceration, and deportation, and the environment. A centerpiece of the webinar will be “South Central Rooted,” the timely report recently released by South Los Angeles Building Healthy Communities Collaborative to uplift an intersectional health equity lens that centers the narrative of those with lived experience. With the report as a backdrop, movement leaders will address emerging issues, including impacts from COVID19; and shine a light on the organizing frameworks and the strategies they have been using for years to break the cycles of injustice. Gain an understanding of how they are cultivating Brown and Black power to advance policy and systems change and how philanthropy can contribute to long-term solutions that move beyond simply responding to the current crises.



Since the inception of the South LA Building Healthy Communities Collaborative, South LA partners have strived to champion policy initiatives and grassroots efforts to close the racial equity gap. Through deep community partnerships, research and advocacy, they are working to shift the dominant narrative that criminalizes, dehumanizes, and erases low-income Black and Brown communities.

South Los Angeles Building Healthy Communities Collaborative recently released a report: South Central Rooted. Developed with input from over 30 South LA community organizations and 125 resident leaders, South Central Rooted sheds light upon the systemic inequity that still impacts our community over 25 years after the LA Uprising. Given its particular history of oppression and resistance, the South Central community is poised to explore the question: what will it actually take to ensure low-income communities of color can thrive in Los Angeles over the next 50 years? Drawing from existing academic and community-based research, focus group conversations with South Central residents, policy reports, and media coverage, this report hopes to demonstrate that the answer lies with intersectional systems change approaches led by grassroots leaders.

As we begin to see more narratives around COVID19, we will also see policies, practices, and narratives that disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities. The call to prioritize equity and the power of narrative are more important than ever.



Manuel Pastor

Director, USC Program in Environmental and Regional Equity

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He currently directs the USC Equity Research Institute (formerly known as Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). Pastor is the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC, and holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. Pastor’s most recent books covering those topics include State of Resistance: What California's Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America's Future (New Press 2018), and Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America's Metro Areas, co-authored with Chris Benner (UC Press 2015).

Pastor currently serves on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors and on the California Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force. He previously served on the California Strategic Growth Council, the Commission on Regions appointed by California’s Speaker of the State Assembly, and the Regional Targets Advisory Committee for the California Air Resources Board.  In 2012, he received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award for social justice research partnership, and in 2017, he was awarded the Champion for Equity award from Advancement Project, California.



Barbara Lott Holland

Associate Director, Labor Community Strategy Center

Recruited on the bus in 1998, Barbara has been a cornerstone of the organization since then. A resident of South LA and a transit-dependent bus rider for nearly four decades, Barbara has been elected by our members to the BRU’s leadership body, the Planning Committee, for twelve years running. She has acted as Co-Chair of the Planning Committee and of the Monthly Membership Meeting for ten years. During that time, she has served as spokesperson and representative of the BRU in the media, with public officials in LA and Washington, and in national and international social movement forums. Barbara also sits on the Steering Committee of the Community Rights Campaign and represents the CRC in its coalition work. She is the only recipient of the Strategy Center’s W.E.B. Dubois Fellowship (2009-2009).

Karen Mack

Founder, LA Commons

Twenty years ago, Karen Mack founded LA Commons, an organization that empowers Los Angeles' diverse communities by facilitating local engagement in arts and culture as well as in other important issues - health, transportation, and education, to name a few, giving residents and particularly young people, a voice and an onramp to making positive change.  Ms. Mack served as a Public Service Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, studying the role of culture in community building. She holds an MPA from this school as well as an MBA from UCLA. She is a mayoral appointee to LA City Planning Commission (equity chair) and a supervisorial appointee to the Advisory Board for LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative.

Laura Muraida

Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)

Laura Muraida is Director of Research and Communications at Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South Los Angeles community-based organization that builds grassroots power to achieve economic, environmental, and racial justice. Since 2014, Laura has led the organization’s research and communications strategy and has advanced campaigns for equitable public investment, environmental justice, and civic engagement. Prior to SCOPE, Laura helped launch a community-based redistricting program to ensure fair political representation in historically marginalized communities across Texas. For over a decade, Laura has worked to provide grassroots communities the data, tools, and information to build power. Laura was born and raised in San Antonio and has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from New York University.

Benjamin Torres

President/CEO, The Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech)

Benjamin Torres is the President/CEO of the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech), a nonprofit organization focused on addressing racial equity and economic justice in low-income areas of Los Angeles. CDTech empowers marginalized residents to lead the process of community development efforts. Through education, training, workforce, and community organizing strategies, CDTech supports people to fight for systems change and resource development opportunities while preparing those same communities to take advantage of the change and opportunities they generate. Benjamin’s entire career has been focused on placing the tools of democracy directly in the hands of our most marginalized residents through education, training, engagement, and multi-ethnic/racial community building.

For the last 23 years, his leadership has supported the South LA region’s Black/Brown residents to increase their political capital and economic opportunity. He has developed efforts to create inclusive, democratic, and power building strategies utilizing highly effective public, private, nonprofit, and community partnerships.

He is committed to progressive movement-building efforts and serves on the Board of Directors of several key local and national organizations. He also serves as President of the City of LA Commission on Community and Family Services, and he also serves on the LA County Public Health Equity Task Force Commission.


Presented by:



No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG, NCG, and Catalyst members and eligible non-members

SCG members: Register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register).
NCG & Catalyst members: Please contact [email protected] to register.
Non-members: Register online. If you do not have an SCG account, contact us.
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected].

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.


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10:00am - 12:00pm
California Community Foundation Joan Palevsky Center for the Future of Los Angeles


The LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment and Southern California Grantmakers invite you to attend an important meeting exploring The Crisis of Black Infant Mortality in Los Angeles.


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9:30am - 12:00pm
The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities

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6:00pm - 8:00pm
Tom Bradley Tower Room, Los Angeles City Hall

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Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy

Thursday, March 29, 2018
9:00am - 10:30am
LA84 Foundation

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
11:45am - 1:15pm
The California Endowment Center for Healthy Communities

SCG is proud to partner once again with Echo Parenting & Education for a funders-only lunch discussion on how trauma impacts young people of color and how we can support efforts to create resilience


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10:00am - 12:00pm
The California Endowment, Center for Healthy Communities, Redwood Room

California is often seen as a national leader on issues of racial equity. The values of racial justice and social inclusion resonate with the many millions of residents who call California home.


California’s Race to Lead: The Racial Leadership Gap in the Golden State

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
9:00am - 11:00am
California Community Foundation, Joan Palevsky Center

Southern California Grantmakers is pleased to partner with the Building Movement Project to discuss the findings from their recently released