Looking Back on 2011

December 28, 2011

We are about to usher in 2012, so let’s try to take stock of the last 12 months. Let’s recall both our blessings and our misfortunes to remind us of what we learned and what we still need to do.

2011 was a roller coaster. I will dispense with all of the hackneyed weather analogies and meteorological metaphors 🙂 Nevertheless, this last year had its ups and downs. Giving reflected the stock market — dramatic highs and frightening lows. For the non-profit community in L.A., this uncertainty translated into fewer and smaller gifts from donors.

To reflect on the last year, I asked my colleagues: What was the most significant milestone/memory in L.A. philanthropy for 2011?

  • “The mega kaboom of individual philanthropy to USC and UCLA and the under-the-radar growth of arts education county-wide.”  Robin Kramer, Sunnylands.
  • “Our very own Children’s Hospital—CHLA—closed on the largest campaign ever conducted for a free-standing children’s hospital—topping $1 billion.”  Dyan Sublett, Metro YMCA.
  • “San Fernando Valley civic leaders have been trying to build a performing arts complex for 30 years.  Now the Valley has the Valley Performing Arts Center that ranks with the best in the nation.” Nick Goldsborough, Miami City Ballet.
  • “The announcement of USC’s ambitious $6 billion campaign.” Karen Wagener, LA Fire Department Foundation.
  • “A giant HOORAY goes out to the small, yet determined group of grant-making leaders who agreed to pool assets and encourage partnerships of mission-driven, community-focused nonprofit capacity-building organizations…”  Paul Vandeventer, Community Partners.

In the spirit of the ups and downs, I would also add:

•    Declaration of Non-Profit Day in LA on October 25, 2011.  And the incredible event “LASVP Fast Pitch” sponsored by The Annenberg Foundation that attracted a sold-out audience to Club Nokia.
•    The dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California. Redevelopment agencies were formed by cities and counties to invest in and revitalize depressed areas or neighborhoods.
•    KIPP L.A. Prep in Boyle Heights  became the highest scoring middle school in LAUSD taking lead over schools with better resources.
•    The various claims on First 5’s resources…
•    John Deasy’s announcement of the creation of the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education.
•    Weingart Foundation’s much discussed report on fortifying L.A.’s Non-profits.
•    $50 million gift to Claremont School of Theology to create an interfaith school for clergy.

What do you think was the most significant moment of L.A. philanthropy in 2011?

Thanks for reading,
John

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