A project that is securing commitments from venture capital firms in the tech industry to commit themselves to civic engagement and diversity was launched Monday by the Annenberg Foundation and the city of Los Angeles.
More than 80 firms have joined the PledgeLA partnership with promises to publicly track their civic participation and diversity.
“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,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “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.”
Garcetti’s office said the Los Angeles region is among the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country, and experienced a 120 percent increase last year in venture capital funding over four years earlier, along with the 100 largest tech companies in L.A. and Orange County reporting a 24-percent increase in employment from the previous year.
“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,” Annenberg Foundation Chairman, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg said. “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.”
One of the first steps for PledgeLA signatories will be to complete a survey detailing their civic contribution and diversity, and the aggregated data will be shared publicly. After that, the Annenberg Foundation and mayor’s office will work with the firms to set goals, create metrics for improvement, and serve as an intermediary to connect funders and companies to diversified talent, Garcetti’s office said.
“Investing in a diverse array of founders, looking for talent in all corners of the city, and bringing different voices to the table when making decisions on investments is just smart business,” Upfront Ventures partner Kobie Fuller said. “We know companies with a diverse workforce are more successful, which, in turn, increases community engagement and provides opportunities for the community-at-large. PledgeLA will put Los Angeles on the right trajectory.”