Meet Tara Roth of the Goldhirsh Foundation – a foundation that helps emerging innovators find funding, social support, and employees. Tara is a badass and an absolute joy to be around. Check out our full chat with her to learn about her career, tips for non-profits, and some of her TV show recs.
What is your name, what is your business and how long have you been at Second Home?
Share a little bio on your business
The Goldhirsh Foundation is a private family foundation that works to connect the dots between the best emerging innovations and the financial, social, and human capital to make them thrive. We are a bit like a venture capital fund for social good. LA2050 is our initiative driving and tracking progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles. Every year, we organize the prominent philanthropic venture, the LA2050 Grants Challenge. We survey tens of thousands of people, asking them what issues matter most. Then, we use that feedback to set our funding priorities, ultimately making grants to a range of impactful organizations working to make Los Angeles the best place to learn, play, create, connect, and live.
Why did you choose Second Home?
Because mothers know best! Bettina Korek, the head of the Serpentine Galleries [in London], introduced me to Second Home’s founders Sam and Rohan, since they were interested in partnering with LA2050. We happened to need office space at the time, so in 2018 I took a (pink) hard hat tour. The combination of being in a Paul Williams building, along with the plethora of plants and pods that were coming soon? I knew we had to be here. Or at least, I thought we did. My mom was with me on that tour, and like only a mother can, she told me this was the place for our work. She was right!
What is your favorite part of Second Home?
Our work requires collaboration, amplification, engagement, and human capital. Sounds like Second Home, right? From day one, our trustees and I have worked to help curate social impact organizations moving to Second Home – from our siblings at Good/Upworthy, to allies such as Snap Foundation, to our grantees such as 826LA.
How has Second Home helped your business? How has your business changed/grown since being here?
Second Home is a great spot for meetings. When we are interviewing for our Social Media and Communication Fellows and Design Fellows, this urban oasis is a popular perquisite. Second Home is a green, cooperative, and creative space, so it was natural for us to hold our recent LA2050 Grantee Showcase event here. During that event, we – along with our funding partners – awarded more than $2.6 million in grants to 37 organizations. We were joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, both of whom gave great speeches, as well as Natasha Case, the co-founder of Coolhaus ice cream. We also invited back some of our previous grantees to speak on a panel led by a local TV reporter. It was a lovely event. Even lovelier: Second Home generously offered to contribute complimentary memberships to fifteen of our grantees. So the family and the community grows!
The Goldhirsh Foundation is well-known for its mission based investing. What inspired that strategy and the investments you make?
At the Goldhirsh Foundation, we want to use all of the resources at our disposal to create positive social impact. Since we are a foundation, most people know us for our grantmaking, but we are very active in the impact investing space. One of the ways that we do this is by investing in women- and BIPOC-run funds that are focused on investing in diverse founders. Another way is through our mission-based investments, where we have put resources into the likes of climate-friendly candy alternatives, Everytable (focused on food equity), education resources, and many more.
What advice would you give non-profits looking for ways to find funding?
If you are an organization working in Los Angeles County, then please apply to the LA2050 Grants Challenge. Each year the Goldhirsh Foundation provides $1 million in funding to the organizations that make Los Angeles the best place to learn, play, create, live, and connect. This past year, we were able to grant more than $2.6 million to 37 nonprofit and social impact organizations thanks to the additional support of our generous funding partners. And, we are already underway planning for our 10th anniversary Grants Challenge, in 2023, so stay tuned.
When we spoke, you mentioned that you find it crucial to have nonprofits, investors, and businesses work together to affect real change. Can you talk a little bit about how Goldhirsh does this in service of the mission of the company?
I believe that no problem can be solved without collaboration. Oftentimes, governments, businesses, and nonprofits are all working towards solving the same problem, but they are not talking to each other or working together. At the Goldhirsh Foundation, we like to bring together people and organizations across all sectors. For instance, we are currently doing this with our work with Unite America and Summit on democracy reform.
A business / brand / enterprise that you admire/aspire/inspire from?
In addition to our grant-making, we invest in for-profit firms and funds. I particularly like supporting female founders like those at the helm of FAVES, Willow Growth Capital, and BOOM Capital.
What are the key qualities you look for in an employee or colleague?
Like most employers, I look for hard workers who are self-starters with a positive attitude, flexibility, enthusiasm, and loyalty. But most importantly, I look for an interest in social innovation, philanthropy, and how the two relate to Los Angeles. Our work is very important, and I need passionate people on my team who are inspired to make our region a better place.
What are the qualities that you look for in other institutions, budding businesses, or entrepreneurs to work with to achieve your business’ mission?
I am always looking for other organizations that are looking to collaborate. I often say that collaboration, especially cross-sector collaboration, is the key to creating social impact. I look for people who are going to survey a problem with a creative, unique lens to find a solution.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles?
Any advice for visiting LA (bars, restaurants, places to go out, museums)
Yes! At LA2050, we have been collecting the best places and spaces to learn, play, create, live, and connect in Los Angeles through our “Fave Five” guides. We ask social impact leaders about their favorite places in Los Angeles and highlight them on our social accounts. My Fave Five includes Dodger Stadium, Chevalier’s Books, Plug-In South LA, LACI, Grid110, and much more. You can explore all of the locations through our interactive map – enjoy!
Best music to get you pumped for a big day at work?
Lose Yourself by Eminem: it helps queue up a speech, event, or otherwise big day at work as a privilege and possibility.
What are your hobbies?
Any odd hobbies/habits you picked up during quarantine?
Bouquet making via online classes at the Huntington
Reading murder mysteries
Becoming a sourdough baking maven (like 80 percent of the population)
What is the funniest thing you’ve ever done (or an embarrassing moment!)?
I am the sort of person who accumulates embarrassing moments constantly, and I enjoy chuckling about them, even when I am just by myself. Fortunately, my best friend is a comedian, so I provide lots of fodder for her to integrate into her scripts. An ability to laugh at oneself is critical to life. As Marjorie Pay Hinckely says, “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry.”
A Joseph Campbell Companion.
Show that you’re watching right now or your favorite show?
How about two favorites? I love LOOT and Ted Lasso. LOOT was fun to watch because it was about philanthropy, and I’ve never seen a show about philanthropy before, let alone a funny one. In fact, I recently wrote a LinkedIn article about what LOOT gets right about philanthropy. And then I also love Ted Lasso. It makes me laugh and cry, and leaves me feeling inspired.
Three items you’d take to a desert island.
Well…. We fund work, and amplify environmental messages, to keep Los Angeles from turning into a desert, so…. But as for an island: my children, sunblock, and glasses (sun and reading).