The City of Los Angeles, CA, is working to restore and rejuvenate land along the Los Angeles River while helping surrounding, low-income communities thrive in place during and after public redevelopment projects. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help design and execute an Equity Strategy effort to ensure the Taylor Yard River restoration site’s environmental restoration and open space development occurs in an equitable, inclusive, thoughtful, and proactive manner.

Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025 

Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

River restoration projects are a vital way to provide residents with quality environments and much-needed access to green space, offering people a place away from the stresses and strains often associated with cities. In 2007, the City of Los Angeles, CA, began implementing a bold LA River Revitalization Master Plan to guide river revitalization efforts, including more parks, public spaces, bike and walking paths, and habitat improvements. The plan is also firmly committed to helping low-income communities along the river thrive in place instead of seeing them displaced or negatively impacted as the river region is rejuvenated.

Under this plan, the City has entered a collaboration with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) to cohesively plan and implement public restored open space at the former Taylor Yard rail site along the Los Angeles River in Northeast LA. Dubbed The 100 Acre Partnership, the collaborative effort is currently planning the redevelopment of the most significant, continuous open space along the River to date. Driven by feedback from residents about concerns over “green gentrification” and inspired by a growing set of peer cases in the nation, the City is working to establish a Community Taylor Yard Equity Strategy (Community TYES) project, which aims to identify potential community effects that may result from the open space investment at Taylor Yard and recommend actions to address them.

Los Angeles will partner with FUSE to design and execute an Equity Strategy effort to ensure the Taylor Yard River restoration site’s environmental restoration and open space development occurs in an equitable, inclusive, thoughtful, and proactive manner. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a listening tour and landscape analysis to understand community needs and concerns, facilitate community engagement, develop strategic recommendations for a TYES Action Plan, and begin program implementation. This work will help support the city’s goal of protecting the stability and cultural richness of Taylor Yard’s surrounding communities and reflecting the aspirations and concerns of residents to minimize the negative impacts of this public investment on their neighborhoods.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will analyze and understand the potential impacts of the Taylor Yard project on surrounding communities (both positive and negative) and work to address these issues by designing and implementing a suite of policy, social, and programmatic actions. Ultimately, this will help Los Angeles improve access to public green space while mitigating negative impacts on surrounding communities and accelerating positive outcomes on their overall health, well-being, and happiness.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a landscape analysis to gather information and develop ideas on threats and opportunities the Taylor Yard project may pose for the surrounding community. This will include examining economic and social impacts, community needs and perceptions, and development plans or policies that may influence decisions and direction. The FUSE Executive Fellow will also research successful strategies nationwide to determine best practices for similar equitable restoration efforts.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will facilitate engagement and discussion between relevant stakeholders to conduct a listening tour with community residents, business owners, local nonprofits, 100 Acre Partnership members, advisory partners, and restoration experts. Importantly, this work will center low-wealth communities and communities of color bordering Taylor Yard that have historically been excluded from or harmed by policy decisions and resultantly see disproportionate impacts on their health and wellbeing, including Glassell Park, Cypress Park, and Elysian Valley in Northeast Los Angeles.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will use the collected information and community insights to define strategic recommendations to ensure the equitable development of the Taylor Park restoration project. This will include approaches to prevent resident concerns voiced during the community engagement process, such as housing security, affordability, resident displacement, minor business impacts, and negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods’ prevailing social and cultural character.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a ‘TYES Action Plan’ with realistic, actionable, and well-supported recommendations for actions that the City and partners can implement on programmatic and policy levels to meet needs identified during the listening tour and landscape analysis. The FUSE Executive Fellow will then begin implementation of the Action Plan.

By April 2025, the FUSE Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a landscape analysis and listening tour – Engage with all relevant stakeholders to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns about the Taylor Yard development project; research other successful river restoration equity strategies.
  • Define strategic recommendations – Outline strategic recommendations for developing the Taylor Yard site, ensuring community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically disinvested communities are centered in all work.
  • Design and Implement an Action Plan – Develop a centralized TYES Action Plan for City, community, and nonprofit partners to address community needs and concerns through policy, social, and programmatic activities and strategies.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Deborah Weintraub, Chief Deputy City Engineer, Bureau of Engineering, Department of Public Works, City of Los Angeles, CA
  • Project Supervisor – Michael Affeldt, LA River Revitalization Coordinator, Bureau of Engineering, City of Los Angeles, CA

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in stakeholder engagement and facilitation, public policy, and project management is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.