Government and philanthropy often share common goals and a capacity to enable wide-scale systems change. When they work together, they make ideal partners—philanthropy contributing nimbleness and a spirit of experimentation, while government commands the resources to sustain what works. In Los Angeles County, such collaboration was catalyzed by the murder of an 8-year-old boy in 2013. This tragic death prompted the Board of Supervisors to empanel a commission of notable child welfare experts to examine systemic failures.
Since then, an increasingly durable and agile spirit of collaboration in L.A. has fueled an ability to test new ideas, assess their effectiveness, and bring them to scale in ways that significantly impact child welfare reform. As a result of these efforts, the previously siloed and reactive child protection system is moving toward becoming a more integrated countywide child well-being system. Cultivating Hope Through Action: How Public-Private Partnerships Are Strengthening Child and Family Well-Being in L.A. County, is a report chronicling the work that drove increased collaboration and funding in L.A. County. It also addresses ways to grow similar collaborative ecosystems for child and family well-being in the future. Read the executive summary and full report below.
Thomas joined the Foundation in 2013, bringing with him a broad range of philanthropic experiences from working at the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, Archstone, and Alliance Healthcare foundations. Prior to his philanthropic career, Thomas worked as a service provider in the areas of child welfare, community and public health, geriatric mental health, and juvenile delinquency. After twenty years on the programmatic side of grantmaking, Thomas transitioned into a different role in 2016 assuming management responsibility for the Foundation’s financial and administrative operations. Thomas is an inaugural graduate of the Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways Program (Class 2010-2011). He holds Masters’ degrees in Business Administration, Public Health, and Social Work, and maintains his SHRM-SCP credential. Thomas has a broad community service background including serving as chair of a public charter school, commissioner for the cities of Chula Vista and Long Beach, specifically the Public Art Commission, Cultural Arts Commission, and Cable & Public Television Access Commission. He also has served as a committee member and advisor to philanthropic trade association groups, such as Council on Foundations, Grantmakers in Aging, and Southern California Grantmakers, and enjoys guest lecturing on philanthropy, public health, and social work at local universities.