Bulletin June

Dear Friend-

Future of Cities: Leading in LA envisions a Los Angeles that cultivates and sustains innovative and effective civic leadership working together across sectors, cultures, and geographies to create a prosperous and livable future for all in our region. Our convenings - including our sold-out inaugural summit - have brought together a cross-section of stakeholders for candid and counter-intuitive conversations on how to transform LA’s challenges into solutions. The FoC team is hard at work planning our next phase of activity for 2016. Stay tuned for more details about our upcoming programming. Below you’ll find a description of the October 19 summit, highlights, participants, press coverage and reaction from attendees. Here’s to building an even greater LA!

Press Round up from Future of Cities: Leading in LA summit on 10/19/15

L.A. Can Be the Future of Cities, Joel Epstein, Huffington Post

Casey Wasserman Says Olympics Could Boost L.A. ‘Almost Unlike Anything Else’, Ted Johnson, Variety

Future of Cities Los Angeles Launch, Tom Teicholz, Forbes

“Everybody at Some Point Figures Out L.A. Is Where They Should Live” Julia Herbst - Los Angeles magazine

Cultural Leaders Brainstorm Los Angeles' Future at LACMA Roundtable Tina Daunt - The Hollywood Reporter

Examining Los Angeles from within is all the rage Kevin Roderick - LA Observed 

Future of Cities Has Launched. What’s Next? Andrea Thabet, Ph.D. - Remaking Los Angeles blog 

Why Treat Workers Well: A Conversation on the Future of Service Labor with Restaurateur Bill Chait and Tech Investor Kara Nortman. Carribean Fragoza, KCET

Fast, Faster L.A.: Looking at History to Steer Our Future Bill Deverell, KCET


Hundreds of Angelenos Gather for first-of-its-kind summit:

Future of Cities: Leading in LA

"Everybody at one point figures out this is where they should live." – Moby, Musician and Activist

On October 19th, 2015, over 500 of LA’s most civic-minded leaders gathered to celebrate the launch of Future of Cities: Leading in LA. Gathering at LACMA's Bing Theater, the summit brought together extraordinary personalities from around Los Angeles, all of them movers and shakers in nonprofits, business, public agencies and media, for a candid dialogue on how to transform the Los Angeles region’s challenges into innovative, cutting-edge solutions. The event generated local and national media attention. As Forbes put it, “Future of Cities:  #‎LeadinginLA reaffirmed & demonstrated in its speakers & attendees the wealth of talent present in LA, believing in LA, wanting to, as E. M. Forster once said, ‘only connect.’”

Backstage with Future of Cities: Leading in LA art panel - KCRW’s Press Play Host, Madeleine Brand; Musician and Activist, Moby; Los Angeles Times culture reporter, Carolina Miranda; LACMA CEO & Wallis Annenberg Director, Michael Govan

The launch event included an array of the most accomplished civic, business and philanthropic leaders from Los Angeles in exclusive keynote conversations that addressed many pressing issues facing Los Angeles and promoted new forms of civic stewardship across Southern California. The eclectic group of panelists included Monica Lozano, U.S. Hispanic Media Inc. Board Chair; Tom Ascheim, President of ABC Family; Hon. David Ryu, District 4 Councilperson, Los Angeles; Michelle Papillion, Gallerist, Leimert Park advocate; Bill Chait, cutting edge LA rest auteur; Casey Wasserman, LA24 Olympic Bid Committee Chairman;. Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, author and founder of Alliance for Children’s Rights; Juan Devis, Senior Vice President of KCET; Marc Brown, Co-Anchor of ABC7 Eyewitness News; and Kara Nortman, Partner of Upfront Ventures.

While discussing LA’s youth, Leslie Gilbert Lurie declared “We have to fight where all of the injustices exist. But we have to have the highest hopes because Los Angeles has been and will continue to be a land of opportunity.”

President & CEO of Community Arts Resources Aaron Paley sees youth participation as a key part of change in Los Angeles, “And we're hoping to raise an entire generation of Angelenos who think that using the streets and using our common places, our shared areas to build a civic structure, is entirely normal, an entire generation of kids who in twenty years is going to be demanding these kinds of change.”

Monica Lozano shared her thoughts on leadership and community, “So, it's about creating a new sense of civic leadership. It's about participating. It's about having a voice…And we belong to Los Angeles as much as anybody else. And that sense of a city that allows people from the outside to be a part of what it is today. It’s what makes LA so dynamic.”

What they [the children of LA] care about, what they so desperately desire, is that we put all of that nonsense aside and figure out how to lift up all of their lives so they can lead this city and country as a vibrant tapestry of communities and voices. All together.” John Kim’s appeal inspired us. 

The program presented some exciting and unique features including: several special videos created by ABC7 cleverly interviewing a variety of Angelenos, a visual display of L.A. neighborhoods by Walton Isaacson, specially designed interactive Los Angeles maps from the MIT Media Lab, and a post-summit reception offering the opportunity for conversation and collaboration.

In a social climate where impact is at the forefront of every conversation, Angelenos have the opportunity to translate their skillsets, passions and resources into a future Los Angeles. Future of Cities is an exciting blend of what Los Angeles does as a city, turning hope into vision and dreams in reality. By integrating leadership across sectors and geographies, the October 19th launch demonstrates the demand for a clear pathway to a more livable, prosperous city. As a result of the summit, Future of Cities: Leading in LA and KCET are creating an online forum to continue the Los Angeles civic leadership conversation. Two articles are available with more to follow.

“Future of Cities: Leading in LA was like a thrilling motion picture with a wonderful ensemble cast. One where you know that all of your favorite actors are in it, you just don’t know when they are showing up and what they are going to say,” said Eduardo Santana, Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew, Inc. “The pace was phenomenal – we barely had a chance to catch our breath – but who needs to catch your breath when you’re being nourished by such thoughtful and articulate leaders inspiring all of us to contribute to Los Angeles’ future.”

Michael Lehrer, founder of Lehrer Architects, responded to the evening, “Once again, WOW! Leadership is felt. Teaching doesn’t exist without learning; leaders don’t happen without followers. The communal feelings engendered by yesterday’s gathering have value; they move the ball forward. This stuff is very important to me as a human being, an architect, a teacher…the works. LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNITY are primal pleasures.”

As a platform that creates sustainable change, FoC seeks to reinvigorate a sense of leadership, vision and relationships, and to ensure it will translate to future generations. Los Angeles is now in the position to become a world-class city, and for the sake of civic progress and optimization, let’s invest, connect, and problem solve through the power of a civically-minded approach.

To learn more and join the movement, please:


Founder Donna Bojarsky is a native Angeleno, a longtime community leader and political advisor, founder of the New Leaders Project of the LA Jewish Federation and the Foreign Policy Roundtable, co-founder and board member of LA Works, and an appointee to California Volunteers and the LA County Human Relations Commission.