The city of Los Angeles christened Oct. 25 as the first annual Non-Profit Day at a city council meeting yesterday that included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and nonprofit leaders from around the city.
Villaraigosa commended the contributions of the nonprofit sector to improving the quality of life in Los Angeles and noted that it is a $35.5 billion industry that employs six percent of the region's work force.
Leaders of a variety of nonprofit organizations promoting arts, education, and poverty-fighting came to the event.
Kathy Yeung represented Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an initiative created by the mayor to improve LA's lowest performing schools through increased classroom technology, improved teaching strategies, and peer review. The initiative reaches 22 schools, 17,000 students, and 1,500 teachers in underprivileged areas such as Boyle Heights and Watts.
Yeung described the organization's unique outreach to the parents of LAUSD students through Parent College: "We talk to them about how to apply school knowledge to life, even if they haven't had the benefit of education." Over 900 parents have taken the course, which includes lessons on study discipline and the importance of the SAT and ACT, Yeung said.
Margret Martin, founder of The Harmony Project, also attended the event. President Obama awarded Martin with the Presidential Citizen Metal earlier this year for her work connecting at-risk youth with professional musicians to create orchestras. The program has a 100 percent graduation rate with many of the graduates going on to become teachers for the orchestras. "I'm lucky to accept the award on behalf of everyone with me," Martin said.
Danielle Brazell, the executive director of Art for LA, shared about how art is prevalent in other nonprofits. Her art advocacy group works with individual members, foundations, and government legislature to preserve art in communities. "Art is everything, especially in LA," Brazell explained. "One in six jobs is dedicated to the creative communityâ€¦we want to see that integrated in every aspect of city life."
Brazell expressed appreciation for the event: "It's great that we now have something like [Non-Profit Day] where the organizations can mingle and support each other because in reality we are all working for the same goal - to make LA a better place."