The Los Angeles Community Impact hosted its Spring Showcase, the culmination of the organization’s semester-long consulting projects on Wednesday.
Shauna Nep, director of community and innovation at the Goldhirsh Foundation, discussed what she called the five points along the “circuitous path of innovation”: necessity, hustle, storytelling, unusual suspects and the reflective incubation period. She used examples from both the Goldhirsh Foundation and from her own life for the discussion.
The Los Angeles Community Impact is completely student-run and based out of the Marshall School of Business. The group provides pro bono consulting to nonprofits and small businesses in Los Angeles.
Anna Silk, a junior majoring in public policy, planning and development, is the current president of LACI and oversees all of the projects throughout the semester. She explained that the mission of the organization is to have a long-term positive influence on the Los Angeles community.
“We try to help our clients identify what their biggest challenges are and how we can help during the semester to create recommendations that are going to be really long-lasting and impactful,” Silk said.
The Spring Showcase consisted of student speeches, a keynote address and three project presentations. The projects presented were Soldiers’ Project, Beat the Streets Los Angeles and Med SRG.
Ling Zeng, a sophomore majoring in business administration, was the team leader of Beat the Streets Los Angeles, one of the projects presented. She and her teammates focused their project on developing a metrics system to better track the organization’s progress and communicate that progress to community stakeholders.
“We sat down together with the client and talked about the goals that they wanted to reach and some key challenges they were facing, which led us to developing our project scope. We conducted research throughout the semester — both primary and secondary research, such as talking with similar, sports-based organizations and their participants. After conducting that research we synthesized all of the information and came up with recommendations that we thought best met their goals,” Zeng said.
Marc Pakravan, a freshman majoring in business administration and member of LACI, worked with Community Family Health Council this semester. He described Showcase as being a night when LACI can share exactly what they do with the rest of the USC and Los Angeles community.
“Showcase is our signature end of the year event where a few LACI teams showcase exactly what they’ve been working on all semester. It’s an all-encompassing night about social innovation, problem-solving and teamwork,” he said.
LACI has worked with four of the same organizations as Goldhirsh, including the Downtown Women’s Center and Green Dot Public Schools.
“It’s exciting that [these organizations] are clients that LACI has worked with in the past and helped support and also someone that the Goldhirsh Foundation and Tara have doled out money to because they think that they’re going places,” Silk said.
As the culmination of LACI projects, Showcase is a time when teams can meet with their clients to deliver their final recommendations, called “deliverables.” These final deliverables are composed of all of the research done throughout the semester, recommendations and action steps for implementation, giving the clients something to reference in the future.
The event was open to USC students, faculty, LACI clients and community members. Silk emphasized that Showcase is an opportunity for students to learn more about the organization.
“Sometimes, people are interested in joining LACI but are not sure really what a project would look like or what their experience would look like, and they don’t always understand the breadth of types of students who find that LACI is a good place for their personal and academic growth. Showcase is a good place to find that out, as well as do some networking with some really cool people in the Los Angeles community,” she said.