The Liberty Hill Foundation is an organization dedicated to social advancement by funding leaders and programs that create positive environmental or social change for Los Angeles. Named after the muckraking journalist who was an activist and protested for freedom of speech, the Upton Sinclair award recognizes people who demonstrate an active commitment to social justice. Past winners include the novelist Walter Mosely, media personality Arianna Huffington, actors and activists Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.
Gilliam is recognized for his innovative work at the Luskin School, promoting strong programs, leadership and research as well as preparing students who have gone on to serve in different communities internationally.
“Liberty Hill is proud to present this year’s award to Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, for his work preparing a new generation of leaders to effectively serve and positively impact communities both locally and internationally,” the news release said. “His commitment to social justice is evident in his leadership of the school and its programs, positioning UCLA Luskin’s teaching and research to make significant impacts on issues of shared concern with Liberty Hill.”
Dean Gilliam has started leadership initiatives and campaigns to expand the school’s impact. Since becoming dean, the Luskin School’s research on immigration, drug policy, prison reform, inequality, environment and transportation, among other topics have been expanded to make a more profound impact in education in the Los Angeles community, leading to social, economic and environmental improvements.
As a board member and senior fellow for the FrameWorks Institute, Gilliam directed the “Framing Race in America” project and contributed research and training on other issues including health care, child development and criminal justice. Gilliam chairs the board of trustees for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and serves on the boards of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Southern California Grantmakers.
Gilliam’s contributions, his multitude of published books and academic journals, including “Farther to go: Readings and Cases in African-American Politics,” and several media recognitions by sources like CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post demonstrate Gilliam’s prominence and aptitude for being a leading innovator in social impact.