We got 99 problems, but LIFTin’ ain’t one!

By LIFT on September 5, 2014

Categories: Events, Our Work


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LIFT-LA Advocates and Fellows at Made in America LA

LIFT-LA was invited by one of our partners, United Way, to join Jay-Z’s Made in America concert as part of its “cause village.” Not only was it significant that LIFT was invited to join this festival, but this was the first year Made in America was in Los Angeles, in the heart of downtown.

A huge part of our booth revolved around a piece of artwork called “The LIFT Giving Tree” painted by one of our Advocates, Oscar. The idea of this was to have concert-goers fill out a circle with a word or phrase that inspired them during one of their own shaky ground moments. One compelling young man that I met told me of his own struggles with heroin addiction. He said that “places like LIFT are what empower him and others to overcome shaky ground moments.” He also felt very strongly about telling the story of his struggles and triumph to help others overcome their own struggles with addiction. He left our booth beaming – and left me doing the same.

Each person interpreted the idea differently, which ultimately led to the remarkable creation of a beautiful and inspiring piece of artwork. We will be displaying it in our LA office to uplift all of those who enter our doors for many years to come. In my eyes, the cultivation of the tree was a reflection of the profound work we do every day in our offices. Each of these circles reminds us that that we are all human and we are all interconnected and equal. We all need the same things to overcome shaky ground moments.

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Tip Don’t Kill My Vibe!

For the event, we partnered with The Giving Keys, a LA-based company that creates beautifully hand-engraved key jewelry with inspirational messages. The founder, Caitlin Crosby, stumbled upon the idea in a New York City hotel room as she linked the relation of vintage, used keys to all of us – unique, flawed, scarred, and at risk of being discarded. She wanted these keys to have a purpose again, thus began the start of her business. One important factor though is that the key and its message are only yours for a time, but once they’ve served their purpose with you, you must pay it forward to inspire another. The most unique and inspiring part about The Giving Keys is that they hire staff that is newly exiting homelessness to help them gain employment and begin finding some sort of stability in their lives. For the concert, The Giving Keys graciously donated 50% of their sales to us. Along with our “Tip, Don’t Kill My Vibe” jars, we raised a total of $1,420 for LIFT-LA!

On a different note, a comical element of the concert was that almost every passerby initially thought we were the driving service “Lyft.” There was even one young girl that ran by our booth and screamed “UBER!” in defiance. There were certainly several other moments that had us belly-laughing from the confusion. But even though that confusion initially existed, we were able to help educate concert-goers about what LIFT does. Realizing the difference, most reactions usually consisted of “Ohhh! You’re actually doing something good for the world. We support you!”

Overall the weekend was quite successful in branding LIFT in LA, fundraising, and recruiting potential advocates. We hope to be able to spread more awareness and LIFT love at future Made in America concerts for years to come!