Innovative funding to ‘spark’ change in government by supporting pilot programs and high risk expansion that help government work better for residents.

MFLA launched the SPARK grants program in 2017 to support innovation through ‘venture capital’ funding. City departments applied to MFLA for the one-time funding and programs were awarded based on their ability to show great promise, including new approaches to ongoing challenges and risky expansion of current pilot efforts.

Programs awarded funding included:

  • This door-to-door campaign pilot focused on encouraging Angelenos to say “yes” to housing for the homeless in or near their communities.

  • An innovative and prosperous city needs protection from the latest threats. With support from MFLA’s SPARK grants, this partnership builds the foundation for the nation’s first-ever city-based cybersecurity lab.

  • Sparking the arts in a great but underutilized space, a planning process set the groundwork for L.A.’s next cultural hub.

  • Involvement in the criminal justice system shouldn’t mean an end to all future opportunities. We helped support a free legal clinic for former offenders to get back on their feet and build better lives.

  • Members of the Mayor’s Youth Council get a chance to interact with law enforcement and explore careers in public service.

  • This innovative, tech-driven pilot provides young people with new ways to access employers and build long-term career paths, breaking the cycle of poverty.

Key Impact

$400,000 of MFLA Investment SPARKED $2.9M of Public Investment

Issue Area

Government Innovation


City of Los Angeles Departments

Programs Similar to SPARK Funds

  • Harnessing the collective power of cities to achieve gender equality.

  • Embedded with LADOT, the one-year fellowship developed an action plan for Los Angeles to take advantage of technology as it looks to develop transportation solutions.

  • L.A.’s Bloomberg Innovation Team (i-team) is a nexus for next-generation civic initiatives at City Hall. Using data-driven techniques, the i-Team generates new solutions to challenges facing L.A.

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