THAI TOWN – On July 16th, 2014, over 20 funders from around the nation convened at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue to learn about the many programs and projects that the Thai Community Development Center is undertaking to help make Thai Town a thriving and vibrant community.
“The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities is a membership organization that helps grantmakers across North America advance strategies to create fair, prosperous, and sustainable regions and communities that offer everyone the chance for a good life.” – Funder’s Network
Each funder’s practices and constituents are slightly different from each other but their overall goal is to help perpetuate healthy communities, the same goal that Thai CDC has been pursuing for over twenty years in Thai Town. This team of funders has traveled across the United States in search of non-profits such as Thai CDC that have a proven track record of building strong communities while overcoming the obstacles that are found in most metropolitan areas.
The Funders’ Network was particularly interested in Thai CDC’s work surveying and mapping the surrounding area before, during and after the creation of the Metro. The challenges found in Los Angeles have many similarities with other cities. The problems faced by Thai Town provided valuable insight to this group as they learned about the “best practices” developed by Thai CDC over the course of these past twenty years to resolve them. Thai CDC’s approach to problem solving is something they will take back with them to their constituents so that they too can benefit from Thai CDC’s experience as they develop their own individual programs.
During these past twenty years, Thai CDC has sought to reverse the urban blight that used to be part of East Hollywood and also make it a cultural mecca for Thais in the Los Angeles area. Through cultural tourism, Thai CDC aims to perpetuate prosperity in the region by celebrating and utilizing the Thai culture to promote a strong community that can readily identify with its origins. These programs’ success comes not only from consistent effort over twenty years, but also through research and surveys which made it possible for Thai CDC to map the population of Thais so that they could be counted and recognized. Through research, surveys and business promotion in the context of cultural tourism, Thai CDC has brought to light the impact Thais have had on Los Angeles. That impact has made it possible for the Thai community to become prosperous while preserving their Thai cultural heritage in a visible way.
Thai CDC is proud to help its community while helping others . This rare visit not only offered the funders a view of Thai Town but offered them insight in how to create healthy communities across the nation by building upon their local cultural heritage to promote stability and growth.