“Envisioning a Greener L.A.?”








Turning Los Angeles’ toxic hotspot neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities has moved one step closer to reality with the recent release of the UCLA Luskin 2014 Community Scholars’ report, “Envisioning a Greener LA:  Environmental and Economic Sustainability for Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington”.


UCLA Community Scholars 2014 Cohort







Los Angeles is on the brink of a huge, new opportunity to invest funds resulting from California’s unprecedented AB32 Global Warming Act to address climate change, improve public health and provide multiple co-benefits including community revitalization, resource conservation and job growth.



Michele Prichard, Director of Liberty Hill’s Common Agenda program

This is one of the key findings of the UCLA Luskin 2014 Community Scholars, a class coordinated by Michele Prichard, Director of Liberty Hill’s Common Agenda program.  A joint program of the UCLA Labor Center and the UCLA School of Urban Planning, the Community Scholars met every Wednesday night from January through June 2014.  Participants organized into three neighborhood teams to propose solutions for the environmental justice challenges—namely pollution, poverty and a lack of community development—faced by the areas which are the focus of the Clean Up Green Up campaign.

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Resources for Ethical Employers and Empowered Workers

By Susan LaTempa

Aquilina Soriano-Versoza (l) of Pilipino Workers Center and Danielle Feris of Hand in Hand celebrate Domestic WOrkers Bill of Rights

Aquilina Soriano-Versoza (l) of Pilipino Workers Center and Danielle Feris of Hand in Hand celebrate Domestic Workers Bill of Rights









Do you support social justice and workers rights? Want to take action? Here’s a chance for many families to help implement a law fought for by many Liberty Hill community partners that now applies to around 200,000 workers in California: the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

Until January of this year, maybe because of a  lingering “Upstairs, Downstairs” view of society, we as Californians excluded the people who care for our nearest and dearest family members from labor-law protections enjoyed by all other hourly California workers.   Although there hasn’t been much publicity, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights means that  nannies, childcare workers, and personal attendants who work in the home have won overtime protection. It’s a modest win in some ways–time and a half when you work more than nine hours a day or more than 45 hours per workweek– but along with the minimum wage protection won in 2001, it brings these essential workers basic rights.

Want to do the right thing in your own home? Want to empower yourself to work out a fair arrangement with the employer whose home you work in? Want to share information with your extended family and friends? Join activist workers and employers who worked hard together for passage of the bill and educate yourself about best practices, difficult conversations and health and safety issues.

To start, whether you’re an employer or a caregiver, download and take a look at this sample work agreement created by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Oakland-based group Hand in Hand. It covers a wide range of topics to review in a simple fill-in-the-blanks format. Details about the law itself are on this fact sheet from bill sponsor Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

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Liberty Hill Supporter and Artist Connie Rohman Shares ‘Must See’ Art Work

By Jonathan Skurnik 







The history of human communication is littered with lost languages, but today, in the early 21st century not only are spoken languages disappearing, but also specialized invented forms of communication. The systems behind Morse code, shorthand and navigational flags are being forgotten, rendered obsolete by the rapid pace of technological innovation. They are also some of the disappearing modes of communication that Liberty Hill supporter and artist Connie Rohman explores in “Lost Languages,” her series of art quilts.



One of her “Lost Language” pieces is a colorful three-by-six foot quilt made specifically for Liberty Hill.  In shapes representing the dots and dashes of Morse Code, it spells out “Change, 9064243Not Charity.” It was recently installed in the main room of Liberty Hill’s Wilshire Boulevard office. Across the aisle from the quilt, three magnificent cotton rope and thread urns sit on top of large file cabinets, their shapes alluding to archeology and their colors and textures bringing ancient and modern treasures to mind.

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Soccer fields situated adjacent to Baldwin Hills oil facility.

It’s a fast-moving issue, so Liberty Hill is moving fast. Los Angeles residents are learning of expanded plans for oil extraction in the city, and they’re asking– is oil drilling in the city safe? Are there hazards we’re being exposed to? Toxic emissions? Extreme techniques? Because they want answers to these questions, residents are organizing to protect health and safety in their communities, and they need resources.

In response, Liberty Hill is pleased to announce the creation of a new grantmaking program, the FUND FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND JUSTICE. 

We are accepting applications for this new fund now through August 1, 2014. Organizations interested in learning more about this fund are strongly encouraged to participate in our educational webinar, 12 – 1 pm on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. 

For more information, and links to application guidelines and webinar RSVP info, please go to the FEHS INFO PAGE.



Putting a Name on Change

You’ve added Liberty Hill’s Change LA  party to your calendars, you have an idea about your outfit (hint– September is the hottest month!).   Date and time:  Saturday, September 6, 3-5 pm — check. Location: Next Door Lounge in Hollywood– check.  So you think you’re ready for 2014  Change LA?

Wait! Breaking news! Liberty Hill is pleased to announce the naming of its NextGen Award for one of our founders, Sarah Pillsbury, who was, herself, a young philanthropist when Liberty Hill was created.  The 2014 Sarah Pillsbury NextGen Award, which honors the spirit of giving and commitment demonstrated by a young philanthropic leader, will be presented to Zoë Lloyd Foxley, whose work in family foundations is a testament to the persistence of Sarah’s vision of donor-activism.

Sarah Pillsbury

A native of Minnesota, Sarah Pillsbury moved to Los Angeles in 1974 after graduating from Yale. Inspired by the politics of the times and the stewardship of her family, she used her modest inheritance to support grassroots organizations that were often ignored by traditional philanthropy. In 1975, Sarah joined with three other young philanthropists, Larry Janss, Anne Mendel and Win McCormack, to dream up Liberty Hill, founded in 1976.

Sarah has been a deeply engaged activist and an imaginative filmmaker ever since. While she initially focused on socially conscious documentaries, she soon gravitated towards dramatic films. After winning an Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short in 1980, she partnered with Midge Sanford with whom she has produced a dozen films including “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “River’s Edge,” “Eight Men Out,” “How to Make an American Quilt,” and  and the Emmy Award-winning HBO film “And the Band Played On.”

In 2005, Sarah helped launch Nonprofit VOTE to promote voter engagement in traditionally underserved communities. She developed a local initiative, the California Participation Project, that merged with CalNonprofits, which continues that work through their campaign Vote With Your Mission.

While Liberty Hill has remained at the heart of Sarah’s philanthropy, she has served on the boards of Artists for a New South Africa, the Sundance Institute, and Occidental College. She continues to serve on the board of CalNonprofits and as an emeritus member on the board of Liberty Hill.

zoe-foxley-195Zoë Lloyd Foxley is the Vice Chair of the board of the General Service Foundation, a nonprofit founded by her great-grandparents 68 years ago, that focuses on human rights and economic justice, reproductive justice, and state-level civic engagement in Colorado. For 12 years she has also served on and now chairs the board of the John M. Lloyd Foundation, named in honor of her uncle who died from HIV/AIDS complications in 1991.


Liberty Hill President & CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith Honored with CHC Alumni Leadership Award

By Crystal Shaw

WASHINGTON D.C. –June 25, 2014 – Liberty Hill Foundation President/CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith accepted the Congressional Hunger Center’s 2014 Alumni Leadership Award last night during the Congressional Awards Ceremony at the U.S. Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill.


Shane was honored to receive her award among the other distinguished 2014 awardees and recipients: U. S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Deborah A. Frank, MD, Founder, Children’s HealthWatch, Boston Medical Center;  Jo Ann Emerson, Member of Congress, Retired and Damiana Astudillo, alumna of CHC’s International Hunger Fellows Program and an Associate Director at The Millenium Challenge Corporation

 Shane received her award as alumna of CHC’s National Hunger Fellows Program, 5th Class, 1998-1999.

In her remarks, Shane spoke of how her work today as President and CEO of Liberty Hill remains grounded in the CHC’s insight that lasting systemic change requires policy change at all levels of government rooted in the experience, “and all leadership of those directly affected by hunger and poverty,” she said.

Shane noted that her fellowship with the CHC was, for her, “the start of everything.”  She thanked not only the Congressional Hunger Center, but also everyone in the room that supports the Fellowship program.  “Every day of the last 15 years you have made it possible for me to fulfill The Center’s mission: Fighting Hunger by Developing Leaders,” she said.

The Congressional Awards Ceremony presents outstanding leaders from the U.S. government and the nonprofit sector with the Bill Emerson & Mickey LelandHungerLeadership Awards for significant contributions in fighting hunger in the U.S. and around the world.  The CHC also recognizes outstanding alumni leaders from the Bill Emerson National and Mickey Leland International Fellowships with CHC Alumni Leadership Awards for their continued dedication to promoting food security in the U.S. and around the world.

During the ceremony, the CHC launched a Twitter campaign encouraging supporters to tweet and share the tweets of others using the hashtag #WeFightHunger.  Selected messages were then displayed on large monitors within the venue that created an interactive experience, taking the celebration beyond the walls of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Shane joined in the festivities after a flight from  L.A. to D.C., jumping off the plane and going straight to the awards ceremony, she tweeted, “Got off the plane just in time to print out my speech, put on my dress & head to the awards ceremony! #WeFightHunger

shanes tweet








For a full list of past honorees of the Bill Emerson & Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Awards and past recipients of the Bill Emerson National and Mickey Leland International Fellowships with CHC, and to learn more about the Annual Awards Ceremony, click here.



Spotlight on Restaurant Opportunities Center Los Angeles

ROC LAIf you’re like the average American these days, you eat out about five times a week, so you come in contact with people working in the restaurant industry nearly every day.

And yet, the conditions they work in are largely hidden away “behind the kitchen door.” That’s the title of a 2011 report “Behind the Kitchen Door: Inequality & Opportunity in Los Angeles, the Nation’s Largest Restaurant Industry” issued by the workers’ rights group Restaurant Opportunities Center Los Angeles (ROC-LA) that surveyed conditions faced by L.A.’s 276,000 restaurant workers. ROC-LA is one of several worker centers supported by Liberty Hill through its Fund for Change.

Do you know what goes on behind the kitchen door of your favorite restaurants?

Unlike the celebrity chefs we see on TV, most restaurant industry workers live decidedly unglamorous lives. They make such low wages that many work more than one job. They are vulnerable to abuses including wage theft and discrimination, and they face physically demanding, sometimes unsafe conditions. The yuck factor is high: Almost 90% of restaurant employees do NOT get paid sick days. About 43% were cut or burned while on the job; about 28% reported taking a workplace shortcut that might have endangered a customer’s health or safety.

ROC-LA is trying to change these dismal statistics. Kathy Hoang, Director of ROC-LA says our city’s local chapter of this national organization is fighting hard for the most basic of workplace rights. Workers are demanding to be paid for the hours they’ve work, to be able to go home when sick, to work in safe conditions.

“On the State level,” she says, “We are cosponsoring AB 1522, a bill requiring three paid sick days per year statewide. It was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, has passed the State Assembly and is now awaiting response in the State Senate.

“On the City level, we’re one of the anchor groups along with CLEAN Carwash Campaign and Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) driving the coalition against wage theft. You can get updates on our Facebook Page: Los Angeles Coalition Against Wage Theft.”

ROC-LA works to raise diners’ awareness of hidden conditions in L.A. restaurants not only by documenting abuses but also by highlighting how responsible restaurateurs contribute to the betterment of our city. ROC-LA designates “High Road” restaurants and highlights them in guide that you can download as a document or an app. Check out who’s paying their workers fairly, offering paid sick days and chances and promotion, and otherwise taking the high road as employers.

And here’s a link to the blog post about our 2012 “Ethical Eating” van tour that visited some “High Road” restaurants for a closer view of best practices.


A Donor-Activist Finds Her Voice

Barbara Zacky

By Susan LaTempa

Earlier this year, at the White House, Rabbi Barbara Zacky—a Liberty Hill supporter, volunteer, OUT Fund Giving Circle member and Donor Advised account holder—was waiting with a delegation of lesbian leaders for an informal session with First Lady Michelle Obama. Rabbi Zacky felt she needed a bit of protocol guidance.

“I asked a White House staffer how the First Lady should be greeted,” remembers Barbara, “and the staffer said, ‘Well, she likes hugs,’ and I thought, ‘I like hugs!’” And so she greeted Mrs. Obama with a hug.

Those of us who’ve met Barbara at a Liberty Hill event aren’t surprised to learn that she met the famously warm Michelle Obama with openness. And equally characteristic was the point that the rabbi chose to make during their discussion, which was for the most part focused on specifically lesbian issues. Rabbi Zacky reminded the group that economic justice is a lesbian issue, because “Without economic security, we can’t be our authentic selves.”

“Clearly I was there as a lesbian rabbi,”  she says, “It’s really important for me to show there’s an ethical/spiritual component to my being. I told the group that to me, economic security is the most important.

“My dad, as a business owner, would come home from work and say how grateful he was to be able to provide for his employees, so they could be able to take care of their families, have a roof over their heads, food on their tables and  have medical coverage. I took from that if a person doesn’t have economic security you can’t be your own self. You can’t speak the truth.

“How can people have a voice where they might not have food on their table? Some people might choose to speak out— you think about the people in the fast food industry today, they might get fired. They’re taking those risks!”

Barbara’s authority and confidence as a speaker at a White House roundtable didn’t come to her early in life. In fact, she was ordained as a rabbi just five years ago, in 2009, by the Academy for Jewish Religion/California. In high school in the 60s, she remembers, “I had learning challenges so I didn’t have the confidence intellectually to speak out.”

Rabbinical school was not her first foray into post-graduate studies.  After earning her BA in Physical Education and Health she began working in management at a racketball manufacturing firm at which time she continued her education and earned her MBA in 1980 from National University in San Diego.  She had the opportunity to continue working in management at other manufacturing firms in northern California for many years.

As a rabbi, Barbara says her main focus is pastoral care, “working with people and their families and their loved ones when someone is going through challenges. It may be physical challenges, it may be end of life, it may be spiritual challenges.” And, as she mentioned at the White House gathering, she recently “had the honor” of officiating at her first same-sex wedding.

Her involvement with Liberty Hill dates to her time in rabbinical school.

“I have to say that Darrell Tucci was so influential in helping me find my voice and connecting me to events and organizations to give to. [Darrell is Liberty Hill’s former Director of Development, now Chief Development Officer at Desert Aids Project in Palm Springs.] I have always been philanthropic, predominately with LGBT organizations. But he helped me narrow it down so I would make more of an impact.”

As a donor-inspired organization, Liberty Hill frequently engages its supporters as thought partners, and Barbara has been a participant at a number of forums. “I went to the retreat in Santa Barbara,” she says, in reference to a 2012 retreat where speakers included Deepak Bhargava and Dr. Frank Gilliam. “It was awesome.” She has also attended Advisory Council briefings and house parties.

“I love hearing people speak. I was at an event at [Liberty Hill Board member] Wendy Chang’s house where people who were with organizations getting gifts from Liberty Hill talked about the difference it makes. A young man was talking about the changes made in the law about truancy tickets. I was so blown away to hear about that specific change.”

As a volunteer, Barbara has worked on the review committee evaluating the Bertha Wolf Rosenthal Foundation Fund for Community Service Stipend applications. The experience is rewarding and thought provoking, she says. And she has been a member of the OUT Fund Giving Circle, a giving circle whose members focus on LGBT organizations, for two years. Through the giving circle process, which invites members to participate in reviewing applicants and circulates updates from recipients of grants, she has learned about grantmaking firsthand.

“The bottom line about Liberty Hill for me is that it makes me think about my values. I look at my values, some of my priorities. I think out of the box and I want to make a difference and I’m introduced to opportunities to do that outside my own sphere. Everything that Liberty Hill touches is so profound globally. My involvement has just opened my consciousness greater that I could ever imagine and my confidence has grown because I’m learning so much, through others and through my own experience.”

Barbara has recently become  a member of the Founders Council of the Williams Institute, the UCLA Law think tank that researches sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy,

“Coming out of rabbinical school and learning though Liberty Hill means I can now present the maturity of that thought to the Williams Institute. I’ve been supporting them for years, but now I’m actually stepping in to having a voice.

“That’s where I’m going with my philanthropy. It’s not just monetary. The monetary work is critical. But I’ve discovered my voice is critical too.

“My pastoral work and my social justice work are connected in that myself as a human being really cares to hear other people’s stories. Pastoral work is about hearing the stories and not having an agenda. It’s important to hear what people need. And we do that Liberty Hill: We listen to what the communities need. And it’s teamwork.  I grew up playing sports and began competing in various sports while in college. You have to work together and have a strategy and I think that it’s all the same. It’s about seeing the individual and working together.”







Liberty Hill Foundation Receives 2014 Impact Award!



WASHINGTON D.C. –June 9, 2014 –  Liberty Hill Foundation President/CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith  accepted the 2014 Impact Award in the community foundation category tonight from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP).

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Liberty Hill Foundation President and CEO Shane Goldsmith and presenter California Community Foundation President Antonia Hernández

Liberty Hill is proud to be recognized and to keep company with the other 2014 awardees: Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, The California Endowment and Hill-Snowdon Foundation.

In her remarks, Shane spoke of how community foundations including Liberty Hill are all dealing with huge problems and limited dollars. In the fact of limited resources, “All of us have to invest in high-leverage strategies for change,” she said, “That’s why Liberty Hill chooses to invest in community organizing.”

The Impact Awards were created by NCRP, a the nation’s only independent philanthropy watchdog group, “to honor foundations of all sizes that practice smart, high-impact philanthropic strategies” and to promote philanthropy “that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness.”

“This year’s 2014 NCRP Impact Awardees are a class above other foundations in the country,” said NCRP Executive Director Aaron Dorfman. “Their boldness, commitment to addressing the needs of the underserved and dedication to strategies that change lives for the better is an inspiration to all who seek to be changemakers in their communities.”

Liberty Hill  Board of Directors member Latonya Slack joined Shane in Washington D.C. for the awards ceremony, which was held during the Council on Foundations Annual Conference

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The NCRP learned a lot about Liberty Hill in the course of its national study of the effectiveness of foundation funding of grassroots community organizing. Researchers studied the impact of community organizing by 110 organizations in 13 states over a five-year period. One of the locations studied was Los Angeles, where NCRP compiled data on 15 organizations, 11 of whom were Liberty Hill community-based partners! In its 2010 report “Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities” report, NCRP showed that for every $1 invested in community organizing, Los Angeles communities saw $91 in benefits, including increased wages to workers, increased access to affordable housing, funding for schools, more nutritious food in schools, reduction in air pollution and more. The report explains why foundation-funded policy advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement strategies are successful and how they create stronger communities.

For a list of Los Angeles grassroots organizations currently supported by Liberty Hill through its Fund for Change, please go to:

To read Aaron Dorfman’s blog about the awards, go to:


New Director of Social Change Strategies Tamika Butler has Huge Plans for Liberty Hill

By Crystal Shaw My-Brother's-Keeper-5-12-2014-9143Tamika Butler, Esq. has joined the Liberty Hill Foundation in her newly created role as Director of Social Change Strategies.  In her first month at the foundation, she had a whirlwind of events – from the Upton Sinclair Dinner to the My Brother’s Keeper White House Listening Session – to introduce her to Liberty Hill grantees, donors and supporters.

During last month’s My Brother’s Keeper event, Tamika was on hand for the day that included a local prison tour, an inspiring trip to a local high school and a number of listening sessions with community members and leaders.  At the end of the day the White House staff told Tamika that California had “set the bar” and commented repeatedly on the fact that we are doing amazing work for young men of color in the state.

A White House report was submitted to the president after the visit and in it, President Obama called on the American people to get engaged through mentorship opportunities nationwide, something Tamika is quick to point out that Liberty Hill is already doing through the Brothers, Sons, Selves coalition.  The president’s call-to-action is to get involved in My Brother’s Keeper by signing up as a long-term mentor to young people at  Get more information on the White House report here. Continue reading