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LABJ Insider: April 17

This article has been revised and corrected from the original version.

Higher Arts Standing

Bank of America annually makes grants to restore art and artifacts around the world. Last week when it unveiled this year’s grantees, it made that announcement from Los Angeles instead of New York.

Why the change? “Los Angeles represents a major hub for diverse arts,” said Brian Siegel, the bank’s global arts, culture and heritage executive. He added that L.A.’s connection to Latin America and the Pacific Rim is important.

The bank is giving money to 23 cultural institutions around the world. Local recipient: Los Angeles County Museum of Art for conservation of Urban Light, its grouping of 202 historic streetlamps along Wilshire Boulevard. Past local recipients include the Huntington Library in San Marino for the high-profile face lift of Thomas Gainsborough’s iconic Blue Boy painting and the landmark Watts Towers, which got some engineering upgrades.

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Speaking of organizations doing things a bit differently: The Goldhirsh Foundation for the first time is conducting in-person voting in various parts of Los Angeles for its annual LA2050 Grants Challenge. Under the program, people vote for issues they deem most important locally – such as education or homelessness – and Goldhirsh awards more than $2 million to at least 15 organizations addressing those issues.

The voting is taking place at 10 pop-up locations, including the L.A. Zoo, Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood (where Mayor James Butts joins in on occasion), Mariachi Plaza and the Santa Monica Pier. Angelenos can still vote online at la2050.org/grants-challenge/vote. Voting started April 6 and ends May 8.


After the voting determines issues of utmost importance, a committee decides which organizations that address those issues should get funding. And many of the past awardees got significant money for the first time. 

“At LA2050, we are committed to sensing opportunity early on by seeding promising organizations that are just getting started,” said Tara Roth, Goldhirsh’s president.

The LA2050 program started in 2013 and is designed to drive progress toward a shared vision of what Los Angeles should be by 2050.

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According to the old joke, youths emerge from school knowing all about quantum physics but not a tittle about personal finance. So Hanmi Bank’s chief executive, Bonnie Lee, and Koreatown Youth and Community Center’s chief executive, Johng Ho Song, have teamed up to support kindergarten to 12th grade students with financial literacy classes. 

The community center’s students can take classes on finances, savings and investment. The program will be conducted by professional teachers and bank employees. Hanmi, a prominent Korean bank, said it plans to continue supporting financial education programs with the community center beyond this collaboration.

The Insider column is compiled by Editor-in-Chief Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at [email protected].

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