Two efforts in Los Angeles and Oakland are carrying forward the public education advocacy work of Prepare the Future California, a nonprofit agency that is reorganizing its work in keeping with funding constraints.
In Los Angeles, Prepare the Future has convened an ongoing religious leaders roundtable with L.A. Unified School District Supt. John Deasy, while in Oakland, youth councils are organizing students for positive change in their public schools.
“In the current economic climate when foundations are not supporting many new efforts and are cutting back on their current efforts, Prepare the Future was not successful at finding funding for its future work,” said Dr. Frank Alton, executive director.
Starting Jan. 1, Alton will continue to co-moderate the Los Angeles superintendent’s interfaith roundtable with Bishop J. Jon Bruno on a volunteer basis while serving Episcopal congregations as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood.
Upcoming roundtable actions include asking religious leaders to complete a survey of existing programs that help students successfully complete high school, Alton said.
In Oakland, Prepare the Future community organizer Ken Chambers will continue coordinate youth councils under the auspices of PICO (Pacific Institute for Community Organizing) with funding from the San Francisco Foundation.
The change in scope was determined after recent a Prepare the Future California advisory board meeting in consultation with founder David Hornbeck, former Maryland state superintendent of schools.
In 2004 Hornbeck launched Prepare the Future as a national network of statewide organizations; however, the 2008 economic crisis curbed future development.
In California, original partner agencies included the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Southwest, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, and the United Church of Christ Southern California-Nevada district, among others.
“We are grateful to the congregations and individuals who responded to this initiative,” Alton said, “and we encourage all to continue advocacy for public education through Prepare the Future’s ongoing efforts as well as those of other organizations.”