Our Funders

Watts Rising is proud to have obtained critical funding to support our efforts to foster a healthier Watts. Our funding portfolio includes both public and private funds that are focused on issues related to the economic, environmental, and physical health of the Watts community.

California Strategic Growth Council’s Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Grant

The Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program funds community-led development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities. TCC empowers the communities most impacted by pollution to choose their own goals, strategies and projects to enact transformational change – all with data-driven milestones and measurable outcomes. This program is administered by the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) which coordinates the activities of State agencies and partners with stakeholders to promote sustainability, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians.

The TCC Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.

Watts Rising is honored to have been selected as a grantee in the first round of applications in 2019. The $33.25 million dollar grant focuses on five different topical areas including: 1) expanding urban agriculture and access to healthy food; 2) providing more affordable and sustainable housing; 3) increasing low and no-carbon transportation; 4) increasing green space and expanding the tree canopy; and 5) making our streets safer for walking and biking. Learn more about our TCC-funded projects on the Our Projects page.

United States Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) Choice Neighborhood Implementation (CNI) Grant

The Choice Neighborhoods program leverages significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services and schools.

In 2020, Watts Rising received a $35M grant with $21M devoted to the redevelopment plan for the Jordan Downs housing development, $5.25M devoted to People Development, and $5.25M (plus CDBG leverage below) dedicated to the Neighborhood Development. The Neighborhood Projects build upon the suite of TCC projects while also providing additional funding for economic opportunity, community beautification, placekeeping, and climate resilience. The People initiative is led by Children’s Institute Incorporated (CII) and includes case management for Jordan Downs residents in addition to direct service provision through our leverage partners. Learn more about our CNI-funded projects by visiting the Our Projects page.

United States Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is funding managed by the United States Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD) to provide assistance to units of general local government (Grantees) for projects that increase economic opportunity, housing, and eliminate blight, particularly for persons of low and moderate income.

As a part of Watts Rising’s successful HUD CNI award, the City of Los Angeles was required to commit 10% of its annual CDBG allocation to CNI projects to ensure the City is invested in the success of the projects. Watts Rising’s CDBG award is $5,433,479 (10% of Program Year 46’s [2019] allocation), to be allocated over the course of the 5-year CNI grant period. The City of Los Angeles’ Community Investment for Families Department (CIFD) manages the City’s CDBG allocation.

Liberty Hill

The Liberty Hill foundation provided roughly $10,000 to HACLA to implement a community-identified and community-led project. Watts residents were invited to develop brief project proposals and present their ideas at the Watts Public Forum. Residents were then invited to vote on their favorite idea. The winning idea came from Miss Lottie Cleveland, a long-time Watts resident and community advocate. Her idea was to take an alley that local residents described as dangerous and an eyesore for many years, and transform it into a safer, greener, and more pleasant space for the neighborhood. In the first phase of the Green Alley project, artist and community organizer, Pollinator Art, installed a sustainability-themed mural on one of the walls in the alleyway. The artist was able to recruit neighborhood volunteers, including youth that lived near the alley, and had a successful community painting day. Funding was also used to purchase benches that would later be installed during the second phase of the project. Additionally, the Office of Councilmember Joe Buscaino of Council District 15 organized regular clean ups of the alley to clear trash and other large hazardous items that were routinely dumped there.


Upon completion of the Green Alley Project Phase 1, Councilman Buscaino’s Office connected Watts Rising with a South LA-based nonprofit, Sharefest, that funded the continuation of the Green Alley project. Phase 2 funding was used to purchase drought tolerant plants, vines, and greenery to be planted in the alley, lighting installations, and the creation of a second mural. Watts Rising partnered with Sharefest and Councilman Buscaino’s Office to hold a Community Work Day for the Green Alley project. Using the help of community volunteers, residents and children in the neighborhood, and the leadership of Watts residents, a beautiful mural was painted, trees and plants were planted in garden boxes, and benches were constructed. Media from this vibrant community day may be found in our Media Features section.

U.S. Congress Member Nanette Barragan Community Project Funding

The United States Congress made available “grants for the Economic Development Initiative for the purposes of Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending” in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, (P.L. 117-103) (the Act). These Community Project Funding (CPF) awards are administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Through the Office Of Congressmember Nanette Diaz Barragán, California’s 44th Congressional District, HACLA applied for funding under this new opportunity and received $860,000. This funding will provide additional support to complete the development of  new parks at the Jordan Downs public housing community and a new field at Nickerson Gardens public housing community. The funding will also help foster STEM/STEAM learning at community garden projects throughout the area, increase access to healthy food and green jobs, and expand the tree canopy.

Clean California

The Clean California Local Grant Program was developed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to fund the beautification and improvement of local community streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways, and transit centers. Learn more about the Clean California grant by visiting their website.

Paraprofessional and Student Staff Subsidized and In-Kind Support

Watts Rising’s efforts have been  greatly aided by periodically hosting vibrant, emerging young professionals and students. These individuals have provided essential administrative, service delivery, outreach, marketing, capacity-building, and event coordination services. Additionally, graduate students in the areas of public health and public policy have completed helpful research projects including literature reviews, subject matter expert interviews, and data collection and analysis, that have contributed to the development of Watts Rising policy adoption initiatives. We are grateful for the past and/or ongoing support of the following entities and their dedicated staff who coordinate placement and participant support:

Pardee RAND Corporation Community-Partnered Policy and Action Stream