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December 2020

dead8We all know what an extraordinarily challenging year this has been.

That’s why Wallis Annenberg, the Annenberg Foundation Board of Trustees – Lauren Bon, Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, and Charles Annenberg Weingarten – and all of us at the Annenberg Foundation, wanted to take this moment to highlight some of the real difference-makers of 2020.

We have seen remarkable resilience and strength from incredible organizations, tireless community partners, and front-line workers who are the beating heart of Annenberg Foundation’s work in these critical months.

These organizations have met so many of our community’s vital needs. They have lifted up those who could have been left out. And they have hung on with hope and resolve to endure every single obstacle thrown at them.

Annenberg is proud to highlight 20 of these inspiring organizations and we invite you to learn more about the Annenberg 20 for 2020 below.

We start this holiday season with a heart full of gratitude – for all these organizations have given us, and will continue to give, in the days ahead.

The Annenberg 20 for 2020 remind us we must all keep going to lift each other up.

On behalf of Wallis, the Board, and our great staff across the organization, we wish you all our best for a happy and healthy holiday season and new year.

Cinny smoler
Cinny Kennard
Executive Director
Annenberg Foundation

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Browse the organizations below to learn more and get involved!


The Downtown Women’s Center focuses exclusively on serving and empowering women both currently and formerly experiencing homelessness. During the coronavirus pandemic, they have more than doubled their daily meal service, distributed thousands of hygiene kits and face coverings, and continue to move women into permanent housing.


Brilliant Corners partners with government, health care, service providers, landlords, and developers to create supportive housing solutions that empower people to achieve housing stability. They also provide intensive case management services to vulnerable individuals and families in combination with subsidized housing.


The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank provides meals for families and children struggling with hunger in Los Angeles and conducts hunger education and awareness campaigns. Their operations have continued successfully during the pandemic, meeting the increased demand for food assistance with drive-through distributions and working with suppliers to keep a steady supply of fresh fruits and vegetables available.


Union Rescue Mission is one of the largest missions of its kind in America, bringing help and hope to those experiencing homelessness in Downtown Los Angeles. They offer structured, long-term recovery programs that have helped thousands of individuals and families address and overcome their obstacles, and they invest in employment training and job-ski1ll development services to help forge critical connections and new career opportunities.


Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero provides quality, affordable, and culturally-sensitive health care and other services to the underserved communities of Greater Los Angeles. In response to the health crisis, they are offering free COVID-19 testing across the city regardless of income level or insurance coverage, and have expanded their services to include telehealth consultation for patients over the phone.


East Los Angeles Women’s Center works to ensure that all women, girls, and their families live in a place of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support, with an emphasis on Latino communities. ELAWC has continued administering their services during the pandemic, including their bilingual crisis hotline.


Each week, Food Forward volunteers rescue over 500,000 pounds of surplus produce from fruit trees, farmers markets, and the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. These fresh fruits and vegetables are donated to over 1,800 agencies across Southern California. Although COVID-19 has created new challenges, they have continued to operate with increased safety measures, and recently reached their 100 millionth pound of produce.


The East Side Riders Bike Club is an all-volunteer, grassroots bicycle club that introduces youth to bike safety, healthy eating, active living, and the importance of giving back to the community, hosting bike-riding events for kids and families. Their extensive Free Lunch and Free Breakfast Programs have distributed tens of thousands meals to community members since the pandemic began.


To support artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have created an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States. Artist Relief will distribute grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the pandemic, and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers to better identify and address the needs of artists.


West Side Food Bank works to end hunger by providing access to free nutritious meals through food acquisition and distribution, and by advocating for a strong food assistance network. Tens of thousands of households have fallen into food insecurity during 2020, putting the need for food assistance at a record high, and Westside Food Bank has responded by distributing more food than ever to meet this great need during the coronavirus pandemic.


The Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley provides affordable after-school and extended day care programs and services. They have remained open since mid-March, providing child care support for essential workers and emergency responders throughout the pandemic, and ensuring that no child is ever turned away for an inability to pay.


Project Angel Food prepares and delivers healthy meals to feed people impacted by serious illness – including seniors who are food insecure – with the goal of continuing their operations uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. They have developed nutritionally dense substitutions when items are unavailable due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions, and have hired workers whose income has been affected by the health crisis to serve as temporary drivers and dispatch employees.


The Los Angeles Black Worker Center develops organized power and authentic grassroots leadership among Black workers and the extended community, helping to reverse disproportionate levels of unemployment and underemployment in LA. They have helped provide free COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities with St. John’s Mobile Clinic, provided meals to over 1,000 families, and worked hard to pass historic policy measures.


Step Up provides positive vocational training, permanent supportive housing opportunities, and recovery services to empower individuals experiencing mental health conditions and homelessness. Step Up’s first facility, Step Up on Second in Santa Monica, has continued to serve their community during COVID-19, running donation drives, providing materials to help members transition into new housing, and offering essential hygiene kits that are vital during the pandemic.


Social Justice Learning Institute advances communities to achieve health and educational equity, specializing in culturally relevant learning, teaching, and curriculum development and addressing health disparities. In response to the health crisis, they have established a COVID-19 Basic Needs Response Fund, adapted their Urban Scholars Program to a virtual learning environment, and streamlined their food distribution services, reaching hundreds of families each week.


Inner-City Arts creates a bridge between the studio and the classroom, with a unique approach to arts education that measurably improves academic and personal outcomes for children and youth. They have been able to transition many of their programs online, including K-12 classes, educator workshops, and community gatherings. Recently, they launched their first fully virtual Creative Career Fair, connecting nearly 200 young people with professionals in the creative arts.


Operation Blankets of Love is committed to improving the health and well-being of animals in shelters, rescue groups, and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as the pets of underserved seniors, people with disabilities, and Veterans. Every week during the pandemic, they have helped homeless animals and the people who care for them by donating critical animal welfare supplies, including food, medical supplies, blankets, beds, leashes, collars, and more.


UMMA Community Clinic is a full-service medical home for over 25,000 adults and children in South Los Angeles, providing access to high-quality healthcare, regardless of ability to pay. They are on the frontlines fighting COVID-19, helping to mitigate the spread of the pandemic and treating those most vulnerable, offering free screenings to the public and conducting telehealth appointments for patients.


LeadersUp is a talent development accelerator and social enterprise that tackles high youth unemployment. They focus primarily on diverse young adults due to the adverse impact in the labor market during COVID-19. Through advocacy and professional development tools, they help employers transform their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies into highly inclusive business practices.


The Shower of Hope program became the most massive mobile hygiene operation for people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles last year, operating in 18 locations weekly. They have provided the means for over 25,000 free showers and have engaged the LA community through thousands of volunteer hours. Every guest that comes to their sites has access to meals, clothing, hygiene items, and critical case management services.