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Winners of $1 million in grants to improve L.A. announced

A Los Angeles charitable group that conducted an online poll to determine which of 279 nominated nonprofit and private companies should share in a $1-million prize announced its winners Wednesday.

More than 70,000 people voted in the Internet survey conducted last month by the Goldhirsh Foundation, which will award the 10 grants of $100,000 each to groups hoping to improve Los Angeles by 2050.

The submissions were grouped in eight categories: Arts, education, environment, health, housing, income, public safety and social connectedness. Two other winners were named in wild-card categories.

The winners include the Hammer Museum, which will curate an “artisanal pop-up village” in Westwood; a group called 826LA, which will seek 1,000 volunteers to help school students; L.A. Open Acres Project, which will turn underutilized lands into green space; Market Makeovers, which will increase access to healthy foods in corner groceries; TRUST South L.A., which is building a model for sustainable living and affordable housing; East Los Angeles Community Corp. and Leadership for Urban Renewal Now, which teamed up to expand employment and assist street vendors; Homeboy Industries, which will launch a program for former gang members and those recently incarcerated; and CicLAvia, which wants to stage monthly bicycling events.

The wild card category winners were the Mission Asset Fund, which proposes to bring lending circles for citizenship and the security deposit loan program to Southern California for the first time; and the Salamander Project, which will foster “critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving at Locke High School.

“These 279 innovative submissions prove that there is an active social landscape in Los Angeles,” Ben Goldhirsh, who heads the foundation, said in a statement. “Seventy thousand members of the community voting for these innovators point to the widespread culture of progress."


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