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Young L.A. Is the Real Winner of LA2050

Youth initiatives dominate the winners of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, even as L.A.'s child population wanes.

LA2050

Today, the foundation behind LA2050—an initiative to draft a comprehensive road map for the city's future—announced the winners of this year's My LA2050 Grants Challenge, a funding competition with a difference: The public got to choose five of the 10 winners, who will share a $1 million bounty.

The winning ideas include greening the alleys of South L.A. (proposed by the Trust for Public Land) and UCLA's vision of making the city 100 percent sustainable in water and energy by 2050. But the clear winners here are the youth of Los Angeles. Five of the awards will go to youth-focused initiatives, such as Streetcraft L.A., a nonprofit studio that helps young artists design and sell clothing and other goods, and The Incubator School, which trains kids to be entrepreneurs. Even one of the public-space winners—the revitalization of Pershing Square—is a win for youth, too, because it will bring new playgrounds to the city.

(Pershing Square Park Advisory Board)

Interestingly, this resounding support for the city's youth comes at a time when the child population in L.A. is on the wane. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of children under age 10 in Los Angeles County declined sharply, by 16.9 percent. It might seem paradoxical to devote more resources to a shrinking share of the populace, especially with the "gray tide" that California demographers see on the horizon as Baby Boomers age. But the smaller number of children born today means they'll bear a bigger economic burden tomorrow—so investing in them now is a good idea.

Read about all the winners of the My LA2050 Grants Challenge, selected from 279 entrants, here.

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