The Advancement Project is a public policy change organization rooted in the civil rights movement. It engineers large-scale systems change to remedy inequality, expand opportunity and open paths to upward mobility. Its goal is that members of all communities have the safety, opportunity and health they need to thrive.
The Advancement Project calls itself a next generation civil rights organization because it realizes that the world is vastly different than it was when the great human rights campaigns for equality were fought. Discrimination is more subtle now but no less damaging. The organization is not marching for a seat on the bus, but it is advocating that there are enough buses for low income people and communities of color. It is not fighting to desegregate our schools, but it is working to ensure that schools have the facilities and trained teachers that students need to excel.
The organization sets big targets. These include: changing the way the public education system is financed; transforming the way the City of Los Angeles deals with gang violence; and collecting the most data and sharing it for free. Some examples of how its work has paid off in California include:
- The Los Angeles Police Department transformed the way it dealt with gangs, from a counter-productive suppression strategy to community-based policing.
- The City of Los Angeles adopted new strategies that decreased gang violence by 13%; gang homicides dropped 50% in 24 parks and in surrounding neighborhoods with the Summer Night Lights program.
- Low-income Los Angeles public school students have 67,000 new classroom seats, and California has renovated more than a million education spaces in high-need communities.
- California passed one of the nation’s largest early education programs – expanding services to 120,000 four year olds.
- A mapping website connects families with critical resources and equips advocates and policymakers with compelling images of neighborhood needs throughout California.
The Advancement Project's roots are in Los Angeles. Its four Co-Directors have spent their professional lives devoted to making the city a better place to live, for all of its residents. The organization's work has expanded in recent years to include all of California, but its primary sphere of influence is still in Los Angeles. Connie Rice is a highly visible and fierce advocate for improved community-police relations. Molly Munger and Steve English have been critical to ensuring that Los Angeles schools have enough classrooms, desks and books. John Kim started Healthy City.org in Los Angeles to ensure that everyone had access to the data needed to make life-changing policy decisions.
As a public policy change organization, the Advancement Project does not have a large-scale need for volunteers on a regular basis. Its need is for people to understand the systemic change issues on which it works, and to share that understanding with their networks. You can join the Advancement Project on Facebook to stay up to date with what it is doing. However, if you have legal expertise, or you would be interested in helping the Advancement Project to raise funds to support its work, please contact the organization to discuss your interest and availability.
Unsung Heroes Award
California Community Foundation & The Eisner Foundation, 2011
Angel of Peace Award presented to Connie Rice
Violence Prevention Coalition, 2011
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(Donations + Earned Income)