Thank you to all who joined us at the 2018 Congress of Neighborhoods last Saturday! Many of the 30 workshops held this year were designed to help Neighborhood Councils and their members increase their capacity to make a difference in LA and in their communities. EmpowerLA General Manager Grayce Liu expanded on this idea in her closing address, which focused on the ways Councils could utilize the existing structure of the Neighborhood Council system and of the City government to maximize the impact of their advocacy.

Much of the power of Neighborhood Councils, Grayce stated, derives from the relationships they build with both their own stakeholders and with other local Councils. If the number of stakeholders actively engaged by a Council reaches a certain threshhold, it becomes possible for a Council to wield enough influence to trigger initiatives, referendums, City charter changes, or other legislation. This is especially true if Neighborhood Councils pool their influence by banding together as a region, or coming together from across the City over a particular issue.

Grayce shared statistics and infographics with the Congress crowd, showing that 2,000-3,000 followers is the magic number where an individual Neighborhood Council and its stakeholders begins to become a local political force that can create significant change. (See a sample slide from her presentation below, showing some key numbers to keep in mind.)

How do you build this following if you don’t have it yet – and how do you keep the following you have activated? Through your outreach efforts: tabling at local events to meet your public; signing people up for your newsletters and sharing compelling local news; and joining social media conversations that are already going on about the community you serve or the issues you care about.

If your board has never contacted the other Neighborhood Councils in your area to identify your common issues and develop a strategy to work them out together, now is a great time to do so! Please don’t hesitate to talk with your Neighborhood Empowerment Advocate, if you would like to learn more about how you can increase the impact of your Neighborhood Council.

If you’re not a current Neighborhood Council member but would like to join, please write to us at and let us know you want to get involved. We’ll help you get started!

Outreach slide from Grayce Liu's closing session presentation at NC Congress 2018