Torie Osborn

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Torie Osborn

Torie Osborn is a Southern California activist. She is a 25-year resident of Santa Monica, California.


Torie Osborn earned her MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and served as CEO for four nonprofit advocacy and philanthropic organizations. From 1997 through 2005, Torie Osborn was executive director of the Liberty Hill Foundation, one of the nation’s "most admired social-change foundations". Liberty Hill funds grassroots community organizing for environmental, social and economic justice in Los Angeles County.

In the mid-1990s, Torie Osborn served as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington DC, the nation’s oldest gay and lesbian civil rights organization, and, from 1988 to 1992, at the height of the AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles, she led the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Throughout those years, Torie was a nationally respected leader in fighting AIDS, and in the LGBT movement for equality.

Since leading those organizations, Torie Osborn has served as a senior policy advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on homelessness, poverty and economic development. She initiated the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships that implements joint projects between government and philanthropy. Torie also served as Chief Civic Engagement Officer for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and currently is senior strategist for California Calls, a network of 27 organizations throughout California committed to common-sense government reform – including fair tax and budget policy. In addition to her MBA from UCLA, Torie holds her B.A. from Middlebury College. [1]

After helping to launch In These Times magazine as a founding staff member in the mid-1970s, Osborn also played leadership roles in the National Organization for Women.

While serving as director of Liberty Hill Foundation, and later with United Way, she helped channel millions of dollars from well-heeled Hollywooders into Los Angeles neighborhood projects dealing with gang violence, low-income housing, and environmental issues. Osborn’s latest work, with California Calls, has focused on boosting voter registration in the state and building a coalition to end “loopholes for giant corporate property owners and the requirement of a two-thirds supermajority vote by legislators to increase taxes.”[2]

Michael Kieschnick connection

Michael Kieschnick April 24, 2019 ·


Frannie and I were delighted to be part of recognizing a lifetime of joyous activism and progressive leadership from Torie Osborn at the Liberty Hill Foundation event last night. I met Torie when she ran the pathbreaking Redwood Records (Holly Near and others) four decades ago, and have seen her work wonders ever since. Plus, as a great bonus, we got to catch up with even longer time friend Sarah Pillsbury, who co-founded Liberty Hill. — with Torie Osborn and Frances Hall Kieschnick.


New American Movement National Interim Committee members in 1975 included;

Frank Ackerman, Cambridge, Mass.; Sally Avery, Durham; N.C.; Edward Bolden, Iowa City; Harry Boyte, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Sandra Kricker and Jim Weinstein, San Franciseo: Roberta Lynch and Judy MacLean, Pittsburgh: Torrie Osborne, Mlddlebury, Vt.; Jeff Johnson, Fred Ojile and Shirley Wyatt, Minneapolis: Julia Reichert, Yellow Springs Ohio, Peggy Somers, Berkeley; Melissa Upton, Philadelphia.: and Loren Weinberg, Washington, D.C..[3]

Torrie Osborne contributed an article "Women in music" to the New American Movement journal Moving On, February/March 1980 issue.

Tribute to Ben Dobbs

On Sunday, June 7, 1981, the Los Angeles Chapter of the New American Movement sponsored a Tribute to Ben Dobbs for "His lifelong commitment to socialism". The event was held at the Miramar-Sheraton Hotel, Santa Monica, California. Sponsors of the event included Torie Osborn.[4]

Liberty Hill Funding board

The Liberty Hill Foundation Los Angeles Community Funding Board in 1989 consisted of Members of Liberty Hill's Community Funding Board in 1989, Barbara Metzenbaum, Sharon Delugach, Sylvia Castillo, Fred Mautner, Victor Griego, .Karen Bass, Paula Crisostomo, Enrique Delacruz, Larry Frank, Khader Hamide, Sarah Jacobus, Barbara Becker, Mirta Ocana, Torie Osborn, Sherry Winters, Evelyn Yoshimura and Lori Zimmerman.[5]

Liberty Hill Commissions Training Program

Liberty Hill Commissions Training Program Sponsorship Committee members: Sheila Kuehl (Chair), Director, Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College and former State Senator; Dean Hansell President, Board of Fire & Police Pension Commissioners; Lara Bergthold, Principal, Griffin Schein; Aileen Adams, Deputy Mayor of Strategic Partnerships Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Stewart Kwoh, President, Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Kathay Feng, Executive Director, Common Cause; Tom Saenz, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); Torie Osborn, Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood and Community Services Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Larry Frank, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Pascual Romel, Deputy Mayor for the Environment, Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Nolan Rollins, President & CEO Los Angeles Urban League; Helen Torres, Executive Director Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE); Regina Freer, Professor, Occidental College, Vice President, Planning Commission; Sharon Delugach, Community Engagement Coordinator, American Federation of Teachers; Roxana Tynan, Executive Director Los Angeles for a New Economy (LAANE). Honorary Co-Chairs: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell, Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield.[6]

Socialists organize to "challenge for power" in Los Angeles

Trevor email 1 (3).jpg

On March 11, 1998, Los Angeles Democratic Socialists of America leader Steve Tarzynski wrote an email to another Los Angeles DSA leader Harold Meyerson.

Tarzynski listed 25 people he thought should be on an "A-list" of "25 or so leaders/activists/intellectuals and/or "eminent persons" who would gather periodically to theorize/strategize about how to rebuild a progressive movement in our metropolitan area that could challenge for power."

Tarzynski listed himself, Harold Meyerson, Karen Bass, Sylvia Castillo, Gary Phillips, Joe Hicks, Richard Rothstein, Steve Cancian, Larry Frank, Torie Osborn, Rudy Acuna, Aris Anagnos, Abby Arnold, Carl Boggs, Blase Bonpane, Rick Brown, Stanley Sheinbaum, Alice Callahan, Jim Conn, Peter Dreier, Maria Elena Durazo, Miguel Contreras, Mike Davis, Bill Gallegos, Bob Gottlieb, Kent Wong, Russell Jacoby, Bong Hwan Kim, Paula Litt (and Barry Litt, with a question mark), Peter Olney, Derek Shearer, Clancy Sigal and Anthony Thigpenn.

Included in a suggested elected officials sub-group were Mark Ridley-Thomas, Gloria Romero, Jackie Goldberg, Gil Cedillo, Tom Hayden, Antonio Villaraigosa, Paul Rosenstein and Congressmen Xavier Becerra, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters.

Tarzynski went on to write "I think we should limit the group to 25 max, otherwise group dynamics begins to break down....As i said, I would like this to take place in a nice place with good food and should properly be an all day event."

The Next Agenda Conference

Progressive LA: The Next Agenda Conference was held On October 20, 2001 in Los Angeles at the California Science Center.

The Progressive Los Angeles Network (PLAN) and the Institute for America’s Future "will co-sponsor an important conference -- the Next Agenda Conference -- designed to celebrate recent victories, build upon Los Angeles’ progressive momentum, and link local issues with a national progressive agenda. The conference will also help solidify a more strategic and integrated progressive movement in Los Angeles".

Speakers included Torie Osborn, Liberty Hill Foundation[7]

Progressive Los Angeles Network

Circa 2002 , Torie Osborn , Liberty Hill Foundation, served on the Advisory board of the Democratic Socialists of America dominated Progressive Los Angeles Network.[8]

Villaraigosa "talent pool"

According to Harold Meyerson of the LA Weekly, newly elected Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa can call on a "locally based progressive talent pool" that includes such policy activists as Occidental government professor Peter Dreier and nonprofit housing advocate Jan Breidenbach (in housing), Roxana Tynan of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (in development), Larry Frank of UCLA’s Labor Center (in work-related issues), and the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Torie Osborn (for general administrative genius).[9]

Center for Community Change board

In 2009 Torie Osborn, Chief Civic Engagement Officer United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA served on the board of Center for Community Change.[10]

Liberty Hill Foundation

As at 2009, Torie Osborn was a member of the Advisory Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los Angeles based organization seeking to advance movements for social change through a combination of grants, leadership training and alliance-building.[11]

Assembly candidate

Osborn with LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

In 2011/12 Torie Osborn, was a candidate for California's new vacant 50th Assembly District.[12]

In 2008, thousands of Obama campaign volunteers got "fired up about electoral politics in a way they hadn’t been before. Four years later, some are now running for office themselves. But few have made a bigger splash in local Democratic circles than former In These Times staffer Torie Osborn, a nationally-known advocate for gay and lesbian rights and other progressive causes. Her insurgent campaign for a California Assembly seat has roiled the waters of Los Angeles-area liberalism and bucked the legislative leadership in Sacramento, which is circling the wagons around her main opponent.

If Santa Monica-based Osborn beats Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the newly-created 50th Assembly district—either on June 5 or in a November general election run-off—her victory over the party establishment will be a Left Coast monument to what might have been possible, in more places, if Obama’s campaign organization (or the Democratic Party) had been serious about grassroots movement building. “There could have been 100, or even 1,000 Torie Osborn, who came out of the network of energized people trying to change American politics in 2008,” says California political consultant Paul Kumar, an admirer of Osborn’s “extraordinary campaign organization.”[13]


Deputy Mayor

On August 1, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed long-time civil rights and social justice advocate Torie Osborn to serve as Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood and Community Services. Osborn replaced Larry Frank, who now serves as the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff.

Osborn is responsible for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, as well as the Community Development Department, the Mayor’s field operations and constituent services, the City’s anti-poverty programs, and FamilySource Centers, among other areas.

Osborn first worked for the Mayor from 2006 through 2008, serving as a senior policy advisor on homelessness, poverty, and economic development. She built the Office of Strategic Partnerships, which promotes public-private partnerships between foundations and City government to fight poverty.

She received a phone call from her long-time friend, Mayor Villaraigosa, asking her to join his staff. She had recently lost a closely contested campaign for California Assembly District 50, and Villaraigosa said to her, “I know what it’s like to lose a close race and need to put all that pent up energy somewhere. Would you like to come back as a Deputy Mayor and help me in my last year at City Hall?”

Excited to have the opportunity to work to institutionalize the Mayor’s values and priorities in City governance, Osborn accepted enthusiastically. She would be working with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s new Interim General Manager Grayce Liu to further strengthen the City’s great experiment in participatory democracy, the Neighborhood Council system.[15]