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Helping Angelenos Access Services and Thrive

Golden State Opportunity

Nonprofit

GSO will help hard-working Angelenos access the resources they need to take care of their families and improve their financial resiliency. Working with our broad coalition of community partners, GSO will leverage our proven outreach and education model to provide the information and support Angelenos need to claim the millions of dollars available via tax credits, stimulus checks, and public benefit programs. This will provide families with the ability to buy food, pay rent, spend time with their children, and lead healthier and happier lives.



Please describe the mission of your organization.

Golden State Opportunity (GSO) is a nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty by providing all Californians with the tools to build financial security and thrive. GSO develops and leads comprehensive outreach campaigns to increase awareness of and participation in programs benefiting low-income workers.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

We are not submitting a collaborative proposal; we will, however, be providing subgrants to a number of partner organizations to help conduct outreach and provide free tax preparation and other services. In order to reach low-income Angelenos from throughout the county and from diverse communities, we work with community-based organizations who are trusted messengers for our target audiences, as well as school districts who can help us reach their families. Our projected budget includes $304,000 for these community grants.

What is the need you’re responding to?

California has the highest poverty rate of any state and Los Angeles County the highest rate in CA, with over 2.3 million residents living in poverty. Yet billions of dollars from federal and state programs go unclaimed because people don’t realize they are eligible or face barriers in claiming assistance.

Research shows that these programs are effective mechanisms to reduce poverty for recipients, boost local economies, lower infant mortality rates, improve student test scores and college graduation rates, increase employment, and more. By raising awareness and providing critical support, GSO can help Angelenos access ALL available resources. This is more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19’s disastrous effects on our economy, since federal stimulus checks are linked to individual’s tax returns and an additional $1 billion can be claimed right now through state tax credits. In these uncertain times, GSO wants to help every Angeleno access the money and resources they need.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Since 2015, GSO has helped over 4.7 million California households claim the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and $1.3+ billion dollars in state funds. We coordinate CalEITC outreach across the state, working with diverse partners. Our CalEITC4Me campaign serves as a national model for anti-poverty advocacy and outreach, with our cost-effective, targeted, scalable, and multi-layered digital strategy based on innovative use of technology to reach low-income workers.

GSO has already identified millions of the lowest income Californians and Angelenos, tested and refined effective engagement strategies, and has a proven track record of increasing the number of people who claim the CalEITC and the money they are owed. GSO is also already seen as a trusted resource for low-income workers. There has been a marked increase in visits to our website since the COVID-19 economic downturn began, as people turn to us for information on how to get the dollars they need more than ever.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

750,000
Direct impact
1,500,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

This project will improve the lives of millions of LA County residents, a region long one of GSO’s highest priorities even before COVID devastated the economy. In addition to the numerous children and adults in the 750,000 households we will contact, EITCs also have a multiplier effect—every dollar generates $1.50-$2 in local economic activity. Stimulus funds have similar effects, so helping low-income Angelenos file their taxes eventually helps ALL people in LA County.

Reducing financial anxiety also lessens long-term toxic impacts of stress, particularly on children’s developing brains. This is especially important for people of color—the primary community GSO serves—who have historically endured the most inequitable economic conditions.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

GSO’s long-term vision is a Los Angeles County where millions of workers and their families no longer live in poverty. Hard-working Angelenos will not require or qualify for the CalEITC and other programs because they have built the financial security to meet their basic needs and thrive. We will assess progress by working with public agencies and academic researchers to track poverty rates in Los Angeles County and the numbers of people eligible for the CalEITC, CalFresh, and other public benefits.

The first step towards achieving this vision is ensuring every eligible Angeleno claims the CalEITC dollars they are owed. We will achieve this by communicating with 750,000 low-income LA County households by the end of the grant period (July 2021) to share information about the resources available and help them claim cash through the CalEITC and public benefit programs like CalFresh. We will track the number of LA County residents contacted by us and our coalition partners, resources shared with them, the number of LA County CalEITC claims, how much of the full $1 billion available is claimed statewide, and the amount claimed in LA County specifically.

GSO will carefully evaluate the project and track progress towards goals. We will do this through the methods outlined above as well as gathering qualitative feedback from our partners and the people we reach. We will use all of the gathered data to assess project impact and refine our approach.

Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Food insecurity
  • Healthcare access
  • Poverty rate

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Capacity, including staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation

Vote for this proposal

Vote by Monday, July 20, 2020. You can cast five votes, one per goal category. Learn more about public voting.


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