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Jewish Community Foundation awards grants toward education equity


The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) recently announced it has awarded a record $1 million to seven local nonprofits that address issues related to education equity.

The funding supports community-led organizations that connect students with strong mentors, focus on the specific needs of young people of color, increase access to health services for students of color and their families, and empower students to advocate for their educational needs.

The recipients of this year’s awards – a new record-high for General Community Grants and a 66 percent increase from 2019 – are Antelope Valley Boys & Girls Club; Bridge Builders Foundation; EmpowHer Institute; Girls Club of Los Angeles; Heart of Los Angeles Youth Inc.; Social Justice Learning Institute; and Special Needs Network.

“The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities in our education system that disproportionately affect students of color who lack the resources to successfully learn remotely,” said Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland. “This only widens an already-existing education gap which will result in a significant learning loss that will take years to address.

“The Foundation selected these outstanding programs recognizing that those closest to the communities they serve are best able to understand and respond to their needs,” Schotland continued. “All of these recipient organizations are based in communities of color with demonstrated track records of service, and strong, impressive leadership.”

Beyond grant funding, The Foundation works closely with recipients to offer additional support including professional development, technical support, and referrals to other funders in its network.

Recipients include:

• Bridge Builders Foundation (South Los Angeles) — Grant funding will support the growth of its Thriving Under the Influence mentoring program from three to five school site partners, expand staffing, and provide for mentor training, program supplies, and field trips.

• Girls Club of Los Angeles — Grant funds will expand the number of children served, support developing and implementing trauma-informed practices into its curriculum and, in turn, train educators at 14 early childcare centers in its Early Learning Alliance Network who serve about 3,000 children.

• Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) — Based in Inglewood, SJLI works with schools to offer its evidence-based Urban Scholars program, which supports and empowers young men of color to succeed in school and advocate for change in their communities. Grant funds will be used to support the expansion of the Urban Scholars to new sites across Los Angeles.

• Special Needs Network — Grant funds will support expanded outreach, engagement, early intervention and parent/caretaker training as it launches its new Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital campus) and, through a partnership with the L.A. Unified School District, improve access to disability services for South L.A. children, students and families of color.