Lift To Rise is an evolution of the long-held belief that we can do better by the people who call the Coachella Valley home—the very people who grow our food and who make this desert such an amazing place to visit for the 1,000,000+ people who do so each year.
Our most recent iteration toward achieving that goal dates back to 2014–15, when a group of community-based organizations serving eastern Riverside County’s Coachella Valley — including FIND Food Bank, United Way of the Desert, the Regional Access Project Foundation, and the Desert Healthcare District — came together to discuss using a collective impact approach to turn the tide of mounting disadvantages faced by too many local residents.
As we began envisioning the work that would become Lift To Rise, we held listening sessions across the region with residents from all walks of life. In one discussion in the eastern Coachella Valley, an elder shared with us, “I came here. I work so hard in the fields every day because I believed that the Coachella Valley is a place that when the sun rises, it rises for everyone.”
Our name, Lift To Rise, honors this vision of hope and aspiration. We work to lift, so that everyone can rise.
In its simplest terms, our collective impact framework recognizes that we can accomplish more working together than any entity can achieve on its own. It also provides a way of using data, trial-and-error, evidence, and group decision-making to progress towards the kind of large-scale change required to turn any such tide.
The community concerns that brought this group together are part of a complex web of disadvantage that means a life lived in or near poverty for more than half of Coachella Valley residents. Linked problems such as under- and unemployment, low incomes, food insecurity, poor health outcomes, and lack of adequate transportation, health, and affordable housing infrastructure are interconnected and mutually reinforcing, creating a vicious cycle in residents’ lives.
Preparing for takeoff
In spring 2015 our early local work received an injection of support through FIND Food Bank’s participation in Collaborating for Clients (C4C), an initiative to improve outcomes related to family stability largely funded by The Laura and John Arnold Foundation. C4C emerged as part of Feeding America’s national network awareness that improving long-term food security begins by recognizing that food insecurity does not exist in isolation and cannot be solved without addressing the underlying causes of hunger — namely, poverty and growing inequality across America.
FIND Food Bank in collaboration with several community partners was selected as one of only five pilot sites nationally to participate in Feeding America’s C4C initiative. C4C provided much-needed, early infrastructure funding to FIND Food Bank. This ultimately allowed Lift to Rise to emerge and embrace the core tenets of collective impact, including undertaking a local, comprehensive needs assessment to set an empirical baseline to better understand the challenges our residents face and identify key indicators around which we could organize our work.
In July 2018, Lift To Rise launched as a independent nonprofit organization, to mobilize and move forward the collective efforts of our partners. Today, Lift To Rise convenes private, public and nonprofit partners for collaborative action networks (CANs) focused on three indicator areas: housing stability, community health and social connection in the Coachella Valley.
For press about Lift To Rise and current updates, please visit our "Press" page, linked at the bottom. To better understand how we approach the work, please see our "Approach" section. For more information about our research and how it has been applied, please refer to our "Data" page.