Civic Engagement

  • Overview

    We envision a future in which all of Los Angeles County’s diverse communities have the capacity and opportunity to participate fully in our democracy, where even the most vulnerable and underserved communities have a voice, a seat at the table and an opportunity to directly impact and decide the changes that will affect their lives and communities. We strive to ensure “A Democracy for All.”

    We seek to foster greater civic engagement, participation and leadership development and more responsive and participatory local governance. To do so, we focus not on policy outcomes, but on the process of civic engagement itself, on expanding the capacity of organizations to do the work and supporting innovation in the field.

    Furthermore, to achieve “democracy for all,” we have a strategic focus on communities that have historically been marginalized due to lower civic participation, socioeconomic status, and unresponsive governance.

    Civic Engagement grants are by invitation only.

    Efrain Escobedo
    Vice President, Education & Immigration
    213-413-4130 Ext. 235
    eescobedo [@] calfund [.] org

  • Strategies & Outcomes

    Organizations can apply in one or more of the following areas:

    Civic leadership development and civics education

    Developing civic leaders and providing effective civics education are key to a vibrant culture of civic participation. Individuals can act as civic leaders along a broad spectrum, from volunteer neighborhood leaders to serving in appointed or elected office. The development of community leaders is essential to ensure that community voices are heard and taken into account in public decision-making. Community civic leaders play an important role in sharing information, building bridges and networks, and encouraging others to become civically engaged. This area also encompasses efforts to partner with public education systems to include civics education in their curricula.

    Community engagement

    In building an open and fair democratic polity, everyone needs to have a voice and be an active participant. Vulnerable communities face barriers to civic participation that have resulted in neglected, anemic leadership, unresponsive government and a diminished civic sense of community. An engaged community with strong civic participation is one where the community is educated and informed about issues; where there are strong community leaders to organize the community; and where members of the community have various opportunities to participate, such as community meetings, public hearings and voting.

    We seek to support community engagement that is part of a strategy for systemic change. Tactics may vary, including community organizing, voter education, strategic communications, or other innovative methods. We seek to support both experienced organizations that wish to expand or innovate in their community engagement efforts, and also organizations that want to add this as a new strategy to further their mission.

    Open and responsive government

    An important pillar for a revitalized and fair democracy is a government that is open and responsive. This is a government that values transparency and provides its constituents accessible, frequent and substantive opportunities for participation and more importantly, voice. We seek to support new models and initiatives of open, transparent government, with robust and meaningful mechanisms for community input and decision-making.


    Data and analysis are vital to a fair and inclusive democracy. They provide communities with the necessary information to be able to identify problems and promote solutions. Without the power of data and research, communities are not decision makers and collaborators. Our grantmaking seeks to support greater access to data and practical research that can help communities be active participants in shaping their quality of life, health, and governance.

  • Eligibility

    General eligibility requirements can be accessed here. In addition, grant decisions will take into account the following factors:

    • Organizations can apply for project grants of up to $200,000 over two years. Grant amounts that are greater than 20% of an organization’s budget are unlikely to be approved.
    • We focus our grantmaking on the most vulnerable communities in the county, including immigrant, low-income, and communities that face discrimination or threats to their civil rights.
    • We have a particular interest in areas of the county that lack non-profit civic engagement infrastructure, such as the Southeast cities, the San Gabriel Valley, the San Fernando Valley, and the Antelope Valley.
    • Proposals from organizations that are not currently receiving funding from CCF are more likely to be successful.
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