Increase access to health care, prevention resources and integrated substance use and mental health services, so our communities can thrive and prosper.
If you want to take the pulse of a community, visit its emergency room. You’ll see a cross section – infants and seniors, individuals and families, low-income and wealthy. Most of all, you’ll get a sense of the issues that most affect the lives of its residents.
Emergency Physician Dr. Vincent Bennett has taken the pulse of Antelope Valley for the last decade. He’s seen those issues change over time. “There’s been a significant rise in the number of patients suffering complications from opioid use,” Bennett said. “And the emergency department is often the front door.”
Kate Anderson, Director of the Center for Strategic Partnerships
The opioid epidemic kills more than 130 Americans every day and costs us $78.5 billion every year. Here in Los Angeles, Antelope Valley has felt some of the epidemic’s worst effects, with some areas seeing overdose deaths at more than double the county’s average rate.
“The impact of this epidemic on our youth and families has been devastating,” said Mary Cummings, CEO of Bartz Altadonna, which provides high-quality care to Antelope Valley residents, regardless of ability to pay.
Situated in the far north of Los Angeles County, Antelope Valley is often defined by its remoteness, with its needs often overlooked in comparison to more populous regions to the south. But that isolation also brings unity.
“We have such amazing collaboration here because we’re remote,” said Michelle Fluke, executive director of Antelope Valley Partners for Health (AVPH), which has worked to improve the health of the region’s residents for more than 20 years. “We depend on each other and solve our issues together.”
Strong institutions like AVPH were just what the community needed to address the opioid crisis. But without the resources to pay for programming, they were left struggling to keep up with rising demand. That’s when LA n Sync got involved.
Launched in 2013, LA n Sync ties together the public, private, nonprofit, academic and philanthropic sectors to attract outside funding to the needs of L.A. by identifying grant opportunities and supporting nonprofits applying for funding across a wide range of issue areas. Now based at CCF, the initiative has brought more than $630 million in funding to L.A. County.
When LA n Sync spotted the federal “Enhancing Community Responses to the Opioid Crisis” grant opportunity, they brought it to Kate Anderson, director of the Center for Strategic Partnerships. Located within the L.A. County CEO’s office, the Center seeks to create better futures for L.A. families through cross-sector partnerships.
Kate immediately put in a call to the Fifth Supervisorial District, which represents the Antelope Valley and they recommended AVPH, because it has the expertise, networks and community connections needed to meet the grant’s goals. But navigating the complex federal grantmaking process on a very short timeline wasn’t something they could do on their own.
LA n Sync connected AVPH with experienced grantwriters and worked with the Center for Strategic Partnerships to build support among a patchwork of government agencies, elected representatives and philanthropic partners.
Dr. Vincent Bennett
“The whole process was wonderful,” said Michelle. “LA n Sync’s knowledge and experience gave us a much bigger competitive edge.”
The final application was completed in just three weeks. The result? A $750,000 grant to wrap support around children and families affected by opioid abuse through education and direct services.
“This funding is creating a snowball effect in our community,” Michelle said. “We’re reaching so many more young people, supporting mentoring programs and supporting students who’ve been affected by opioid issues.”
The work LA n Sync helped enable through this grant is still in its early stages. But its greatest impact is the connections it’s weaving between public and private sector partners. The initiative’s innovative approach is drawing notice in Los Angeles and across the country.
“LA n Sync’s most important achievements are the bonds that have been forged between the sectors in Los Angeles,” said U.S. Representative Karen Bass. “I really do believe change is possible when we work together.”