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The Civic Space Foundation Announces Inaugural Los Angeles Initiative

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The Civic Space Foundation Announces Inaugural Los Angeles Initiative

Six Organizations Receive Grants To Support Civil Discourse and Build Community

19 April 2024 – Los Angeles, CA: In a major move to promote and enhance civic engagement within Los Angeles County, The Civic Space Foundation (

a nonprofit organization committed to fostering joyful civic participation, has today announced the winners of a significant grant initiative. Founded by Manny Yekutiel, a Los Angeles native now in San Francisco, the organization has selected six critical civic organizations to receive up to $50,000 each, aimed at funding dynamic in-person civic programs.

The six local Los Angeles awardees are:

  • La Más
  • Hot and Cool Cafe
  • Little Secret
  • Boyle Heights Beat
  • The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
  • LA Voice

“It’s been so incredible seeing Manny’s, the civic space we built in San Francisco, thrive,” said Yekutiel, the founder of The Civic Space Foundation. “Now, it’s a honor to support civic leaders in my hometown who are committed to the crucial work of rallying their communities around causes that matter.”

The selection committee included a broad array of Los Angeles based civic leaders and advocates including former Mayor Michael Tubbs, Policy Director of the Latino Community Foundation Eduardo Garcia, Senior Program Officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Ceyron Foo, and Karla Mercado from SoCal Grantmakers to name a few. 

Since opening its doors on Election Night 2018, Manny’s San Francisco has become an epicenter of community involvement, dialogue and civic engagement having served over 60,000 people, staged over 2000 events, donated space to more than 150 area nonprofits and charities. The goal of Manny’s is to create a physical place to go to become a more involved and better informed citizen. 

The new Los Angeles programs, slated to commence in May and run through the end of the calendar year, are the first phase in the Foundation’s broader ambition to catalyze the establishment of a permanent civic space in Los Angeles. This initiative stems from a critical need for physical locations that encourage citizens to gather, discuss, and become more actively involved in their communities.

The selected organizations span a range of civic missions, all unified by their dedication to community involvement and engagement. Over the next year, these groups will launch a series of programs designed to create and nurture spaces where civic joy and active participation can flourish.

The Civic Spaces Fund, the initiative’s official title, underscores the Foundation’s mission to embolden individuals to cultivate joyful civic engagement through community spaces, innovative programming, and collaborative projects.

A total of $250,000 has been allocated for this endeavor, with the intention of empowering these organizations to make a substantial impact in their local neighborhoods.

“Every city should have gathering spaces for people to come together, engage with pressing issues, and actively participate,” Yekutiel said. “My hope is that our efforts here in LA and SF might lead to similar initiatives nationwide.”

Following are details on the individual organizations and their missions:

La Más: Creating and sustaining cooperative systems of living and working together in Northeast LA.

Hot and Cool Cafe: Provides a community hub and creative space to view art, listen to live music, enjoy healthy food, and, of course, drink coffee in Leimert Park.

Little Secret: A one-stop shop for entertainment, education, and connection. Through fun yet meaningful programming, we seek to spark collective imagination and expand our capacity to build power in our community located in Frogtown.

Boyle Heights Beats: A bilingual community news project produced by youth, offering “noticias por y para la comunidad,” or “news by and for the community.”

TheCoalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA): Empowering immigrants to push policies that promote freedom of movement, full human rights, and the vigorous civic action that strengthens this democracy based in Lafayette Park/Westlake.

LA Voice: Based in Santa Monica, Voice is a multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that awakens people to their own power, training them to speak, act, and work together to transform our County into one that reflects the dignity of all people.