BizFed Announces Initiative To Lift One Million L.A. County Residents From Poverty
The Los Angeles County Business Federation, also known as BizFed, gathered leaders from across L.A. County to announce a significant goal for its next decade. Ten years after the launch of BizFed on the steps of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, BizFed leaders returned to those steps to unveil the #BusinessMakesLAWork initiative that will seek to lift one million L.A. county residents from poverty.
“We’ve dedicated the last 10 years to fighting for a vibrant economy in L.A. County that allows our residents to thrive in the workplace and our local communities,” BizFed Founding CEO Tracy Hernandez said. “Our success has proven that we can do more for those who need it most, so we are committed to lifting one million residents out of poverty over the next 10 years.”
BizFed was joined by more than 50 current and former elected leaders to highlight how #BusinessmakesLAwork. Speakers including L.A. County Supervisors Kathryn Barger, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis, L.A. Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Long Beach Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and L.A. Community College Board Member Mike Fong, as well as Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who all reviewed key accomplishments of the BizFed coalition over the past decade.
Among the past efforts cited by elected officials:
"200,000 small businesses contribute significantly to our regional economy, and I am working at the Board with great organizations like BizFed to ensure that these foundational businesses have the resources they need to expand and thrive. BizFed helped develop the Small Business Initiative, which provides services and benefits to local small business owners through programs like the Small Business Concierge. Congratulations to BizFed for 10 years of incredible service!” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.
“BizFed knows we have to support our public educations system in Los Angeles. That’s why BizFed stepped up and supported the $3.3 billion Los Angeles Community College District bond and the $300 million Pomona Unified School District bond,” said Los Angeles Community College Board Member Mike Fong.
“BizFed consistently steps up in big ways to advance important regional challenges -- whether that means helping shape investment in regional transportation infrastructure or lifting up the working class. We look forward to the muscle that BizFed will bring to bear in advancing opportunities for millions more Angelenos in the decade to come,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
BizFed leaders connected these and other past leadership efforts on housing, transportation, infrastructure and workforce development to the coalition's new path forward on combating tragic levels of poverty in the community.
By varied metrics, somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million L.A. County residents – men women and children -- live in poverty today. The California Poverty Measure (CPM), a joint research effort by PPIC and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, recently pegged the County’s effective poverty rate at 24.9 percent. It is the worst effective poverty rate in California by this standard.
When such a significant part of the population is struggling to make ends meet, it impacts all other aspects of our community. BizFed is the united voice of more than 170 business organizations representing 390,000 employers employing 3.5 million people in every city in L.A. County. The coalition has been recognized as so effective that business leaders in the Central Valley have launched their own BizFed.
The coalition recognizes that to position Los Angeles County as an economic beacon we need to hold the collective system accountable to reduce poverty. By partnering with elected and community leaders and forging new and deeper partnerships, BizFed will be vigilant, disciplined and transparent to author and engage in pro-job policies, invest in our neighborhoods, and build housing to lift one million Angelenos out of poverty within 10 years.
BizFed’s work will continue to focus on strengthening the regional economy and fostering a prosperous business climate; however, the next 10 years will incorporate a proactive, focused approach to fighting for policies that create economic opportunity for L.A.’s poorest residents, significantly lowering what is currently the worst effective poverty rate in California.
“Business is the only vehicle with the capacity to build housing, to create jobs and create true pathways to the middle class and drive needed changes to alleviate this crisis. BizFed members are the most civically engaged business people in the state -- they will get it done,” Hernandez continued.
“Business is what makes L.A. work and ensures that our communities can thrive and everyone has a chance to succeed. It’s why we will continue this fight for the next 10 years and beyond,” said David Fleming, Founding Chair of BizFed.
Since 2008, the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) has amassed a powerful grassroots alliance of more than 170 associations representing 390,000 businesses employing more than 3.5 million people across Los Angeles County. BizFed members have mobilized and advocated on key policy issues at the local, regional, state and federal levels of government to ensure sustainable economic growth, and are committed to creating high wage jobs for L.A. County residents. To learn more visit bizfedlacounty.org or follow us (@BizFed) on Facebook and Twitter.