Long Beach Forward is an independent nonprofit organization, rooted in more than a decade of community organizing in Long Beach.

Join us in tackling institutional issues of racial and income inequities in collaboration with Long Beach residents and coalition partners. With your support, we can better serve community health and safety needs, building upon our strong foundation of people power.


Race and income do not determine one’s future in Long Beach–it’s a community where everyone is safe, connected, and healthy.


To create a healthy Long Beach with low-income communities of color by building community knowledge, leadership, and power.



We work with groups often not invited to the table to ensure their voices are heard, they can lead change, and our democracy is strengthened. Opportunity and participation in political processes should not be constrained by income and race.


We are stronger together and building relationships among diverse residents, organizations, and decision makers is key to achieving our vision of a healthier Long Beach.


We create a space for people to come together and be part of a community of like-minded people facing similar challenges and working toward a common goal.


We transform how business is done and decisions are made by addressing root causes and supporting those most affected to lead the charge. We seek long-lasting change today.


We support low-income communities of color to bring about change and we are committed and accountable to help push this change forward. We walk the walk and are constantly evolving to better meet the needs of our communities.

Organizational Cultural Principles

We are guided by our vision, mission, and values of fairness, collaboration, connection, change, and integrity so that we can be and do the best for the community. We are actively aware of and reject white supremacist culture within our organization. As anti-racist organizers committed to building long-term power, we are passionate about seeking justice, patient with the process of change, and supportive of each other and our community. We cultivate brave spaces to speak up and honor our individual commitments to learning, growing, and struggling towards a bigger vision for a better world.

We embody and foster empathy, trust, compassion, humility, respect, and transparency for one’s self and for each other regardless of our identities or backgrounds. We do this by sharing feelings, openness, vulnerability, and deep listening with one another. We are intentional with every action and relationship we build to meet people where they are at. This means extending patience and kindness to ourselves and others as we learn, grow, and reflect on who we are.

We are a learning organization that is intentional about creating space and implementing practices where people can grow, challenge themselves, and reflect. We are receptive and open to hearing and incorporating feedback as part of our learning journey. We do this by committing to ongoing learning as a whole organization, as teams, and as individuals. We are dedicated to lifelong learning as we are never done growing as individuals.

We do not let ourselves get caught up in perfectionism, urgency, and the guilt and shame of making mistakes: we hear it, we face it, and we work through it. We assume good intent from one another. We are willing to struggle together and be direct with one another in addressing conflict, acknowledging our mistakes, and sharing our lessons learned. We acknowledge the normal emotional reactions to mistakes and conflict and strive to work towards shared understanding and resolution.

We recognize that through our work, we will hurt, misunderstand, and harm each other as we are human and live in an incredibly violent and harmful world. Proactively taking accountability for our actions is how we build trust among each other. It is a way to care for those in the community and ourselves, and shows that we have done our own internal work of deep, genuine reflection to take responsibility for our actions. We recognize accountability in four stages of self-reflection, apologizing, repair, and behavior change. We strive to reduce harm whenever we can and regularly practice accountability to meet that goal.

Everyone has a role in building a people-centered organization that prioritizes the humanity and holistic needs of the people involved. Acknowledging that a workplace cannot address all health and wellness care for people doing this emotionally heavy work, we are committed to making internal decisions with the impact to people in mind. We implement ways to make our movement building sustainable for the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our team members. Recognizing that we all carry wounds and continually work towards self-transformation, we encourage and support each other to take care of the mental and physical needs of ourselves and the community.

Balancing and incorporating our expertise and lived experiences into our work is how we can best serve our diverse community. We do this by honoring our elders and valuing an individual’s life experiences as wisdom and insight, including seeing formal education as part of one’s lived experience rather than superseding it. We are cognizant of the spectrum of privileges and oppressions when it comes to lifting up the work and voices of our collaborators.

We spend intentional time building the process for collaborative work. Working collaboratively is a crucial part of our work. These journeys are iterative, as the outcomes and lessons of one campaign set the ground for the next process. We build our organizational strategies, campaigns, and projects through authentic engagement with community members through ongoing relationships and deliberate creation of space and process for listening and co-creation.

We are intentional about building relationships with one another as team members and with our community members and partners. Relationships are the bedrock that help us work through mistakes, conflicts, and the difficult moments of our struggle towards a better world. With our web of
relationships, we actively practice communication, collaboration, creativity, and accountability.

Supporting each other as part of a team means celebrating each other, sharing gratitude, and reflecting with one another. Questioning and giving feedback is a genuine process where we assume the best intent and commitment to building together. We are intentional about organizing space to honor, celebrate, and appreciate one another’s contributions.

Our Culture of Philanthropy

Operating Principles

Co-created by the Long Beach Forward team in February 2021

We are a values-driven organization and are willing to stand alone to represent our values and commitment to the community. This means we are intentional with every action and relationship in fundraising and our culture of philanthropy. We work in solidarity with the Community-Centric Fundraising movement and seek to learn, grow, and share alongside allies and partners. Within our local ecosystem, we are cognizant of the role and scale at which we organize. We actively work to minimize inequitable fundraising practices like mission creep, scarcity mindsets, and Trickle-Down community engagement. Our fundraising is guided and shaped by our ethics and connection to the communities we come from, informing all our decision-making and priorities.

The Long Beach community is best served if we see ourselves as part of a larger ecosystem working collectively to build a more just society. Our end goal is not to meet our organization’s financial needs, but to build our communities up as they deserve to be. Our fundraising work is driven by a long-term vision of community power instead of short-term financial goals. Collectively, we are building a narrative and culture that moves people into action and inspires others to give back to their own communities.

Fundraising is not just about getting a check, but building a relationship. Our movement-building work and our fundraising are relationship-centered, meaning we see everyone as partners in our vision and we keep clear and open lines of communication. We commit to deep listening in relationship building and we don’t shy away from difficult conversations with one another, even if this includes challenging traditional fundraising strategies, roles, and expectations.

We build collective understanding with each other and our community through honesty as we share our wins, our struggles, and our full selves. There are times when fears and doubts will play a role and we welcome these feelings in practicing our openness with one another. Sharing our joy and discomfort with each other is part of the process of placing the community at the center of fundraising.

Our fundraising efforts rely on teamwork both inside and outside of the organization. We regularly collaborate with other groups and nonprofits, while rejecting scarcity mindsets and embracing abundance mindsets. When we come into grant opportunities, we first ask ourselves if there are other partner organizations better suited for the work than us. We use every funding and fundraising opportunity as a way to build the skills and talents of our ecosystem both in and out of our organization, whether through shared learning or shared resources. We reject the idea that fundraising means we have to naturally compete against other partners, and believe that we can continue to be part of a vibrant community with abundance for all.

Everyone who engages in strengthening our community is equally valued, whether they are a volunteer, staff member, donor, or board member. We ensure that all our team members feel part of fundraising efforts by fostering inclusiveness and reminding each other of our value to this movement.

For many marginalized community members who may not have the financial means to contribute to our organization, the gift of time is just as significant and we treat it as such. Whether it is a person or organization’s time, talent, or treasure, we honor all contributions made in alignment with our shared vision.

Everyone is valued for their role and contributions to our culture of philanthropy. We are thoughtful of the impact on our community members and partners when we invite them to join us or ask them to share their stories for fundraising purposes. We carry out our organizational operating principles into our culture of philanthropy and model the world and relationships we want to build. We do this to nurture belonging and foster healing for ourselves and our community.

Our Case Statement
Download our Fact Sheet overview of our work at Long Beach Forward.
Download Fact Sheet

Movement Strategy and Strategic Communications

As the glue that brings people, community organizations, and decision-makers together, we support movements to win equitable policies and build power with low-income communities of color.
1) We provide strategic insight and take strategic action in order to strengthen movements for racial and economic justice in Long Beach.

We ensure that community and governmental planning and decision-making processes meaningfully include low-income communities of color. We focus our support and outreach to groups whose work centers low-income communities of color. We develop relationships with systems leaders in order to identify potential partnerships. We follow the community and governmental landscape and alert stakeholders to potential opportunities for advocacy and engagement.

2) We provide support for people to be more effective communicators for social change.

We work with community stakeholders to develop and carry out communication strategies that elevate their issues, change the narrative, and move people into action.

3) We lead our communications support in tandem with advocates and organizers so they can be effective communicators.

We work with them to identify the support they need and provide the appropriate training, such as how to create messages, pitch stories to media, and utilize social media.

4) We combine storytelling and local data to create compelling narratives that shift people’s hearts and minds.

We cultivate relationships with local media and utilize local expertise to increase news coverage of issues often left out of the Long Beach narrative. We strengthen advocacy efforts by facilitating technical trainings and knowledge sharing. We train individuals on how to make a more strategic and impactful case when engaging decision makers and influencers on issues they care most about.

5) We bring together data and policy experts with community-based organizers so they have the technical knowledge to win social change.

Examples include how to use online databases for land-use campaigns or how to turn an Environmental Impact Report into a reader-friendly infographic. We connect community organizers with other leaders looking to strengthen their organizing skills and share their insights on topics like communications and power analysis.

People Power Case Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of our FAQ’s here or get in touch with us to learn more.

Our team is eager to connect people with volunteer opportunities with campaigns, collaboratives, and partner organizations we work with. We always look for multiple entry points for people to contribute to movements for racial and economic justice in Long Beach and strive to meet people where they’re at. Email us at with your interests and availability. 

Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (BHCLB) was a 10-year, place-based initiative funded by The California Endowment that seeks to improve the health of Central and West Long Beach through community organizing and collaboration. BHCLB was made up of multiple community-based organizations and workgroups that were supported by Long Beach Forward. Long Beach Forward rebranded with the LBF name, a new logo, a new strategic plan, and is now an independent nonprofit.

Long Beach Forward began in 2010 as the Hub Organization for the Building Healthy Communities initiative in Long Beach. In 2018, we rebranded as Long Beach Forward to continue our movement-building work beyond the BHCLB initiative. 

As part of our culture of philanthropy, we recognize and value that people give in different ways. Contribute a one-time or monthly donation online to help us continue building community knowledge, leadership, and power. Contribute your time and experience by emailing us at

Long Beach Forward supports and is a part of a number of community-based coalitions, collaboratives, and campaigns. 

We’re always looking for ways to get people involved in local community change efforts, whether they are in-person or remote. Email us at with your interests and availability.
Yes, we do! Long Beach Forward is intentional about having a team of individuals and organizers that reflect the diversity of our community, including language. For any requests in Spanish, feel free to email or call 562-436-4800. 

If you see Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arresting individuals or targeting a home or workplace, call the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) at 562-204-6333

You can find any open positions we have on our team on our online jobs board. We also post local job opportunities with our partner organizations and groups aligned with our mission and vision on our website when we receive them.

Yes, Long Beach Forward provides support for people to be more effective leaders and organizers. We understand that creating change isn’t easy or something that’s meant to be done alone. We regularly train individuals on how to make a more strategic and impactful case when engaging decision-makers and influencers on issues they care most about. To learn more about our current opportunities for leadership development, email and let us know what you’re looking for. 

James is our Executive Director, whose responsibilities include strategic fund development, organizational administration, people and culture, board development, strategic planning, and community leadership. Learn more about James and access his biography at To set up a 1-1 with James or arrange a speaking engagement, email him at If you want to learn more about getting involved with Long Beach Forward’s organizing and collaborative work, email Marlene Montañez, Associate Director at

Long Beach Forward is a  501(c3) non-profit organization. A majority of our funding comes from private foundations and individual contributions from community members who support our mission and vision. Although we do not have any permanent sources of government funding, Long Beach Forward has partnered with city, county, and state agencies in the past to achieve collective goals, whether it was getting people to be counted in the 2020 census or ensuring community input into digital inclusion strategies. 

Long Beach Forward developed its new Board of Directors in 2022, after incorporating as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. To learn more, contact James Suazo at

Long Beach Forward provides local organizations and community members with the tools, training, and resources they need to be heard, be influential and drive real change in Long Beach. All our funding and revenue get allocated towards this goal through programs and community efforts, people and culture, and administration and operation costs.
Long Beach Forward regularly works with interns year-round. Currently, interns but be undergraduate students enrolled in an internship course at Long Beach City College or California State University, Long Beach (College of Health and Human Services or College of Liberal Arts only). For more information about interning with Long Beach Forward, visit our intern page or email

Internships with Long Beach Forward typically last as long as a course requires, which can range from 4 months to 8 months. 

The internship experience at Long Beach Forward is a hands-on and structured learning experience that is embedded directly into the organization's teams and collaborative spaces. Interns will work on specific projects throughout the length of their internship and develop new skills and knowledge in tandem with their organization preceptor through 1-1 meetings and direct involvement in ongoing community work. 

We currently do not offer any internship opportunities for high school students, but we are always willing to work with student volunteers and look for opportunities to provide service hours. Email us at with your interests and availability. 

We always encourage students, parents, and community members to become involved in their local schools. Contact our Parent Organizer, Cindy at to learn more about how to get involved in your school community.

Making an individual donation to Long Beach Forward is one of the best ways to support our mission and vision, whether it’s $5 or $50 and one-time or monthly. Individual giving allows our team to continue supporting community-driven priorities with valuable, unrestricted support. Learn more about our organizational culture of philanthropy by clicking here. 

Yes, our role in the community is connecting parents with other parents who want to improve their children’s school and help achieve education equity. Contact Parent Organizer, Cindy at

Yes, developing and supporting parents to be leaders in their school community is our primary goal. Contact our Parent Organizer, Cindy at

Yes, our role in the community is connecting parents with other parents who want to improve their children’s school and help achieve education equity. Contact Parent Organizer, Cindy at

Long Beach Forward does not provide legal or direct services, but we do participate in the Long Beach Housing Justice Coalition. To get involved in organizing efforts, contact our Land Use Program Manager, Elsa Tung, at or (562) 270-6011.

If you are experiencing problems with your landlord, we encourage you to connect with Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE) by emailing Abraham Zavala at For free legal assistance with renter/tenant issues, contact the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles at 1-800-399-4529 or visit