Mary Hodge

Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Garcetti, Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles

Supernova Award Category: 

Next-Generation Customer Experience

The Organization: 

The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles is a non-profit org serving The City of Los Angeles, the largest city in California with an estimated 2019 population of 4.4 million people.

The Mayor’s Fund is dedicated to improving life for all citizens of LA, the country's second-most populous city (after New York City), and the third most populous city in North America (after Mexico City and New York City).

Los Angeles covers about 469 square miles and is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the U.S. The Mayor’s Fund is uniquely positioned at this diverse crossroads of local government, business, philanthropy, and the non-profit sector, to facilitate the communication and collaboration vital to solving Los Angeles’ most complex challenges.

The Problem: 

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti revealed a fundraising campaign to help underprivileged residents economically impacted by the pandemic. The Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles (https://mayorsfundla.org/) manages the program, working with Accelerator for America. Citizens who live below the federal poverty line & have lost 50% of their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may qualify for an Angeleno Card. The Fund issues the debit cards in various amounts depending on household size & income level. As of April 23, the Fund issued almost $37M from private donors to approx 30K families (104K people) via Angelino’s Card program. The City first took applications using a simple Google Form. It wasn't long before the system was deluged with an influx of 450K+ applications. Approx 135K initial applicants met eligibility requirements and earned the right to participate in a lottery, which selected more families as more funds were donated and became available. Since the tech couldn't handle the scale of requests citizens found it hard to get info about the application process & guidelines. During an already stressful time, applicants who faced an overloaded website & phone system were naturally frustrated. A pivot was urgent as the manual process was hampering, not helping, the rapid delivery of funds to qualified residents.

The Solution: 

In April, MasterCard & Oracle partnered with the LA Mayor’s office to help address challenges serving an influx of applicants for the Angeleno Card. COVID-19 made the situation urgent, if not dire. Knowing this, the team worked to stand up the solution quickly, in just 2-weeks. Oracle CX Service & Intelligent Advisor (IA) replaced Google Docs & other custom solutions allowing The Fund to email applicants, which it picks by lottery, a link to login to a secure portal to complete an intake form. Enabled by IA, which guides them through the process to submit the documentation, applicants then schedule an appt online to pick up their card at one of the 16 locations across LA. Auto-created case records allow volunteers to manage the whole process. The integrated online solution went live by May 12, 2020. 

The Results: 

The Mayor’s Fund streamlined and automated several manual processes to more efficiently automate appointment booking, advise residents what they should bring to a successful interview, track applications and distribute funds — all to make better use of limited resources.

Intelligent Advisor provides highly personalized and explicit guidance and information for applicants to prepare for appointments by assembling all required documentation and helping to avoid delays. Importantly, addressing one of the City’s most significant concerns in the first week and using the validation process in CX Service, The Fund rejected over a dozen fraudulent applications.

The distribution of funds across the 21 distribution centers was very orderly. As of June 30, 2020, almost $37M has been distributed to approximately 30,000 families (104,000 individuals when including family members).

The City had been concerned about thousands of people rushing to the centers to get cards and had 400 police officers on standby.  By automating the appointment flow and ensuring appointments went quickly and smoothly because of proper documentation, the City was able to not only avoid crowds but also better enable social distancing, keeping residents and volunteers safe.

Metrics: 

Upon initial CX Service go live, The Fund sent emails to 10,000 qualifying residents and, as a result, booked over 5,000 appointments in the first week resulting in a distribution of approximately $5M to residents in need.

 

By May 20, multiple waves of emails, over 20K in total, were sent to qualified applicants, resulting in more than 14K appointments and almost $14M in funds distributed to needy residents. By June 24, volunteers scheduled over 20K appointments, which resulted in the distribution of $25M to 20K families. By June 30, almost $37M had been distributed to approximately 30,000 families (104,000 individuals when including family members).

 

By using Oracle CX Service to automatically schedule appointments, the Mayor’s Fund has realized a 30% cost savings and was able to eliminate a costly third-party call center that it had stood up to manually handle the initial appointment scheduling process to the introduction of CX Service. Compared to the daily call center average, 35% more appointments were booked online in the first 24 hours after going live, reassuring the City that the solution could meet the need.

 

An often-overlooked benefit, but because the system is so easy to use, volunteers serving as caseworkers could be trained in just 30 minutes.

The Technology: 

Oracle and partners TimeTrade and Apex IT recommended solution set that included Oracle CX Service, Oracle Intelligent Advisor, Oracle Public Sector, Oracle Government Cloud.

Disruptive Factor: 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, its impacts will linger the longest for the poorest among us. As such, The Fund continues working to improve access to its program information and resources because the distribution of money is paramount to assisting those in need.

 

Fueled by the pandemic, The Fund reimagined its service delivery model to adhere to social distancing requirements and lessen the risk of exposure. In a further effort to automate the application process, for any future programs, The Fund will deploy Intelligent Advisor earlier in the application process, eliminating manual reviews of applications and criteria, further reimagining its service model to meet the needs of citizens quickly.

Shining Moment: 

The Mayor’s Fund distributed critically-needed donations to help residents living below the poverty line during the COVID crisis. By offering automated help for eligibility proof and booking appointments, and executing plans to follow social distancing guidelines by scheduling controlled appointment flows to reduce avoidable contact at service centers, The Fund scheduled 14K appointments in 9 days and delivered $37M to needy residents.

About Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles

The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles is a non-profit devoted to improving life for all Angelenos. Programs are selected based on the ability to engage public & private resources, demonstrate collaboration, seek innovative solutions, & yield measurable, transformational impact. The Fund is run by an independent BOD & supported by private donations.