The founders of Envision L.A., a new 501(c)(4) nonprofit based in Mar Vista, have a simple goal: Bring sanity, humanity, and accountability back to L.A. politics.
“We’re part of something bigger,” says Founder and Chairman Demetrios Mavromichalis. “Los Angeles has been in a downward spiral for two decades. What’s different now is folks are starting to take back their city from corrupt politicians and special interests. They’re engaged like never before.”
Envision L.A. was inspired in part by Angelenos’ response to the COVID-19 crisis. From Wilmington to Santa Clarita, Santa Monica to Big Bear Mountain, the people of the City and County of Los Angeles got to work. They started food banks and clothing drives, organized neighborhood watches and community-based groups doing good work in their own backyards. In the process they confirmed what makes Los Angeles such a special place for all of us.
Envision L.A.’s mission is to provide those individuals and groups with resources – including funding and professional support – to bring their efforts to the next level. Indeed, Mr. Mavromichalis was part of that renaissance: When the crisis forced him to temporarily shutter his restaurants, he repurposed the supply chain and helped co-found NourishLA. Every week they provide fresh, restaurant and garden quality food to more than 2,000 Angeleno families.
“The people of Los Angeles have prevailed over enormous hardships the last few years,” says Envision L.A. Director and grassroots veteran John Russo. “From the homeless crisis and crime wave to policies that often seem intended to drive people into desperation.” He helped get Envision L.A. off the ground when he realized the lessons he’d learned winning fights at the local level – including reversing Councilman Mike Bonin’s disastrous road diets in Playa del Rey – had even wider applicability.
Envision L.A. built a grassroots network even before formally launching, connecting neighbors and groups across council districts and across the city. In the coming weeks and months the group will expand that network by sponsoring local beautification and public service projects and helping neighborhood groups remedy bad public policies. Mavromichalis sums it up: “Our message is simple: You are not alone. The saying is that Los Angeles is 88 suburbs in search of a city. Envision L.A. is building that city, maybe for the first time.”