Skid Row School FAQs

Why is it called the Skid Row School for Large-Scale Change?

Billions Institute co-founder Becky Margiotta started working on homelessness in Skid Row in 2007 when she consulted for Los Angeles County on Project 50. As part of her work on Project 50, Becky supported a team of 24 people who went out from 4 to 6 am for nine mornings in a row and sought to interview every person sleeping outside to determine who was at the greatest risk for dying so they could be housed quickly. What she witnessed those nine mornings haunted her. Equally appalled by the conditions of people living on the streets and intrigued by the complexity of the neighborhood – the horrific human suffering (like a diabetic dragging his amputated leg across the street), public sanitation (women changing their tampons and people defecating in open view on the sidewalk), gangs, pimps, and drug-dealers obviously occupying specific streets, faith-groups with good intentions but completely outdated theories-of-change, non-profits with varying degrees of competence, and government agencies challenging themselves to work in new and different ways – the whole experience was absolutely fascinating to her. Becky had just completed her Masters Degree in Organization Change Management at The New School and realized that while the classroom has its place, there is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. In a moment of inspiration, she thought, “Anyone who is serious about creating change ought to at least see Skid Row for themselves.” During the course of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, Becky was coached and mentored by several key leaders, including Christine Margiotta who she subsequently married. These mentors and leaders were absolutely essential to the success of the Campaign. When the Campaign concluded in the summer of 2014, Becky’s vision of creating a school on Skid Row resurfaced. She thought, “What if we could help other leaders who are working on creating large-scale change in the world get the most essential things they need to be, know, and do to succeed?” And voila – here it is, now for you.

Will the training really take place on Skid Row?

No, there are no facilities large enough to host our group in the immediate Skid Row vicinity. The school takes place at the Kellogg West Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, CA, a facility run by the CalPoly Pomona Foundation’s learn by doing program. It is easily accessed from LAX, John Wayne, Long Beach, and Ontario airports.

Can I get a discount for me?

Please contact if you’d like to attend but the cost creates a hardship for you.

Can I get a discount for my team?

You bet. Any organization sending two or more accepted applicants will receive a discounted price of $3,000 per person. Any organization sending 5 or more people can receive a discounted price of $2,500 per person.

I am trying to create change inside a corporation. Can I come?

Yes, by all means please apply. The key consideration is are you up to creating big, positive change in the world. The means by which you do it – government, non-profit, or for profit – is of less concern us.

What do you mean by ‘large-scale change?’

When we talk about large-scale change, we’re talking about taking good ideas and effective solutions to everyone who could benefit from them as rapidly as possible. There are lots of ways to have large-scale impact – from mobilizing movements to redesigning systems to changing policy – and they are all on the table here.  We’ll help you decide which strategies and tactics are appropriate for you and when to apply them.

What does the price include?

A full 3.5 day transformational immersion course.  Travel, accommodations, and meals are not included. We have a package with Kellogg West hotel and conference center and are able to offer single and shared accommodations for those who need to reduce costs.

I’m a very busy person. What if I can’t attend the full conference?

Our request is that participants clear their schedules and be fully present for the entire training if at all possible. We understand sometimes people need to step out to handle emergencies, but want to minimize distractions for the other participants. We do start the conference a little later than most, at 9:30am, to give attendees time to clear their emails and answer any work emergencies. If something comes up we will make it easy for you to defer to a future school. We now also offer a 2 day Dig Deep/Dream Big workshop which is an Introduction to Unleashing that can be a good option for those with less time but want to start their learning.

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