SCOPE evolved from Action for Grassroots Empowerment and Neighborhood Development Alternatives (AGENDA), a South Los Angeles based membership organization established in 1993 following the major social uprising that captured international attention and spotlighted the severe conditions of poverty, crime and unemployment facing LA's inner city communities.
The organization was founded based on four principles:
- Building powerful vehicles for those locked out of decision-making processes to act on their own behalf.
- Democratically developing proactive public policy aimed at responding to reactionary social agendas and re-framing the terms of the debate.
- Constructing strategic alliances at the intersection of race, class and single-issue efforts.
- Organizing innovative policy campaigns that ignite broad social movement, win structural change and begin to realign power relationships in this society toward real democracy and justice.
Through our work, we found that a regional focus is critical to achieving structural change. As a result, AGENDA established the Los Angeles Metropolitan Alliance to build strategic partnerships between multiple sectors of the social justice movement and to organize low income communities beyond South LA and throughout the region.
The growth of AGENDA, to the Metropolitan Alliance and ultimately to SCOPE, reflects our evolution from local, to regional, state and national strategies, each with a focus on building power from the bottom up and on "democratizing" public policy to achieve lasting, systemic change.
SCOPE has emphasized workforce and economic development as primary strategies for eradicating poverty through campaigns that target regional growth industries in Los Angeles. SCOPE's program and policy victories have been the result of consistent engagement and leadership of resident activists. Since 1993, the organization has:
- Developed a powerful, nationally recognized institution with expanding spheres of influence at the local, state, and national levels.
- Created effective models of community organizing through contacting over 97,000 residents in low-income communities of Los Angeles, identifying over 60,000 supporters, and mobilizing several thousand community activists around public policy campaigns.
- Initiated and implemented several workforce development campaigns targeting the regional economy to link low income communities with living wage jobs and career paths. Policy victories include:
- Workplace Hollywood, a $10 million workforce development program created in partnership with the Dreamworks entertainment corporation to train and place income inner city residents in the entertainment industry.
- Los Angeles City Jobs Program, now a national model that trains and places welfare recipients in living wage public sector jobs with long-term career paths.
- Healthcare Careers Ladder Training Program, a job training program that places low income residents in health care related fields. The City of Los Angeles has embraced the Health Care Careers Ladder Training Program as a blueprint for sectoral workforce development strategies.
- Published over 6 reports and papers that offer groundbreaking research around community needs and provide direction for our work.
- Developed over 15 training modules and curricula and provided over 230 trainings to other social justice organizations.