Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, has announced the launch of an effort aimed at promoting civic engagement, diversity, and inclusion in the city's technology sector.
Between 2013 and 2017, the Los Angeles region saw a 120 percent increase in venture capital funding, while between 2016 and 2017 the hundred largest tech companies in the city and Orange County reported a 24 percent increase in employment, making L.A. one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country. Nonetheless, diverse talent remains vastly underrepresented in the local tech workforce. Through the PledgeLA partnership, more than eighty Los Angeles venture capitalists and tech leaders have agreed to track civic participation and diversity data each year and make that data publicly available, while expanding their engagement with local nonprofits working to support diverse talent in tech-related fields.
"Our city's diversity is our competitive advantage, so we are always looking around the corner for ways to ensure every Angeleno has a chance to succeed in the industries of tomorrow," said Garcetti. "L.A.'s tech growth is no accident — it is a tribute to our region's tradition of creativity, leadership in innovation, and wealth of talent. With PledgeLA, we will promote transparency in a growing sector and open the doors of opportunity to our diverse base of workers, no matter their race, gender, or background."
Building on its successful AnnenbergTech program, the Annenberg Foundation is serving as the seed funder for the initiative and will work to connect venture capitalists and tech leaders with civic engagement opportunities and a new pipeline of job applicants that better reflect the population of the region. Additional philanthropic partners, including the Weingart Foundation, will contribute to the initiative and support efforts to close the opportunity gap.
"As we expanded the foundation's involvement in the city's growing tech community with our AnnenbergTech initiative, we saw an opportunity to become a catalyst to help launch PledgeLA," said Annenberg Foundation chair, president, and CEO Wallis Annenberg. "This commitment from L.A.'s venture capitalists and Mayor Garcetti means that change is happening, and this change is good, as long as we can work to make Los Angeles a more diverse, inclusive, and community-focused city that benefits everyone."
For a list of PledgeLA signatories, see Los Angeles County website.