LOS ANGELES – The Annenberg Foundation today announced the launch of AnnenbergTech, a new initiative to harness the power of Los Angeles’ vibrant and growing tech sectors and positively impact diverse communities throughout the region. AnnenbergTech aims to convene, partner with and help activate the Los Angeles tech community, which has given rise to globally recognized companies that want to invest in their community through philanthropic and civic leadership.
“By nearly every measure, Los Angeles’ new tech ecosystem will continue to have a profound effect on our city,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “The leaders of these companies today are our philanthropists of tomorrow, and we hope AnnenbergTech can serve as a hub for this next generation to convene and create new models of civic leadership that will lift up and inspire all Angelenos.”
With assets over $1.5B, the Annenberg Foundation has evolved from a traditional grantmaking institution to one that is directly involved in community—funding unique charitable activities aimed at uncovering large-scale solutions to systemic problems. Born on the premise that visionary communications can improve the public well-being, the Foundation is partnering with L.A.’s tech leaders to explore how the intersection of technology and philanthropy can benefit our city.
“The Annenberg Foundation’s longstanding commitment to our Los Angeles community is commendable and inspiring,” said Mary Ritti, Snap Inc. VP of Communications. “We are looking forward to our continued collaboration with them as we pursue our philanthropic passions focused on youth, education and the arts.”
The Annenberg Foundation has invested in the Los Angeles region and beyond for more than 25 years, identifying collaborative models that bring together a wide cross-section of stakeholders to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. From the creation of the local effort LA n Sync, uniting the city’s public, private and nonprofit sectors around major funding opportunities; to the development of the nearly 15-year-old nonprofit capacity building program, Alchemy; to the establishment of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands as the “Camp David of the West,” where leaders at the highest levels meet to find solutions that promote peace and international agreement; the Foundation has a long history of providing platforms for dialogue, solutions and widespread giving back.
Said Beatriz Acevedo, founding partner/president of mitú network, “At mitú, our goal is to create opportunities for the next generation of Latino storytellers and help diversify media with authentic and positive stories about who we are. The Annenberg Foundation has been an important partner in helping bring our vision to life through our Accelerator program. We will continue to look to Annenberg and its community of thought leaders, nonprofits and educators for guidance, information and connection as we move forward with this important initiative.”
The Annenberg Foundation last year conducted a survey of L.A. nonprofits, using a database developed from its Alchemy program, to determine how local organizations were using tech to solve the region’s most vexing problems. 95% of respondents said they knew that technology is important to their organization, but they struggle with staff resources and training. 60% of respondents reported that they didn’t have the staff to support their tech needs and 54% reported that they didn’t have enough training for staff to use technology effectively in day-to-day work.
At the same time, the Foundation has been bringing together L.A.’s burgeoning tech titans—including Snap Inc., Riot Games, mitú, Omaze, Headspace, Upfront Ventures and many others—for roundtables and dinners with one another and local VC firms. These convenings have brought to light a strong and longstanding desire on the part of the companies to engage with the nonprofit community. A lot of work has already begun internally at these companies, but little has been done to coordinate efforts within the nonprofit sector and to educate the new Angelenos on issues facing the city.
As a result, AnnenbergTech was formed and has evolved into a three-pronged initiative including thought leadership, capacity building and pilot partnerships.
- Thought LeadershipThe AnnenbergTech Leadership Series brings together L.A. tech with thought leaders who have broken new ground at the intersection of philanthropy and industry, and this has already led to implementation of new approaches for charitable giving.
- Capacity Building Annenberg Alchemy Tech is a six-month pilot program specifically designed to give L.A. nonprofits guidance on best practices for building specific technology projects.
The inaugural class begins its curriculum in March at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in D.C. and includes 10 Southern California nonprofits: OPARC, The Nonprofit Partnership, Learning Rights Law Center, Mar Vista Family Center, Craft & Folk Art Museum, Ascencia, IDEPSCA, Western Justice Center, Plaza de la Raza and CASA of Los Angeles.
- Pilot PartnershipsGames for Change Los Angeles: In collaboration with Annenberg Learner, AnnenbergTech will introduce Games for Change to Los Angeles for the 2017-2018 school year, providing professional development for teachers, game-design skills for middle and high school students, and the opportunity to create games addressing social challenges in the local community.
Annenberg Challenge for Innovation in Technology: Partnering with the Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050 initiative, AnnenbergTech is providing up to $250,000 and support to organizations who propose the most innovative use of technology to address social needs in the region.
“There are so many opportunities—and imperatives—for tech to give back to Los Angeles,” said Ryan Cummins, co-founder of Omaze. “I’m confident AnnenbergTech will create an endless new series of possibilities that foster our collective ability to achieve great works.”
Wallis Annenberg added, “Over the past few years, Los Angeles has truly transformed into one of most forward-thinking urban centers in the world and the booming tech industry is a big part of that. Tech has brought jobs, wealth, talent and perspective—and a new vibrancy and approach to giving back. We are thrilled to engage with this new approach for the benefit of the Los Angeles we all call home.”
More AnnenbergTech initiatives and new partnerships will be announced in the coming months. For additional information on AnnenbergTech visit www.annenberg.org/tech.
Maria Gonima / Annenberg Foundation
About the Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation and its Board of Directors are directly involved in the community with innovative projects that further its mission of advancing a better tomorrow through visionary leadership today. Among them are Annenberg Alchemy, Annenberg Learner, Annenberg Space for Photography, explore, GRoW @ Annenberg and the Metabolic Studio. The Foundation encourages the development of effective ways to communicate by sharing ideas and knowledge.