Big Time Funding Comes To Worthy Foster Youth Programs

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 18, 2017)—The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has granted $450,000 to six local organizations that address college access and career readiness for foster youth.

The funding comes through the annual General Community Grants at The Foundation, the largest manager of charitable assets and the leader in planned giving solutions for greater Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists. General Community Grants support programs that concentrate on high-priority social issues throughout Los Angeles. Grants in recent years have focused on sexual and domestic violence, homelessness, and support services to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

The total amounts awarded in the most recent cycle of General Community Grants reflect a 150 percent increase from the prior year, according to The Foundation. Recipients include: Children Youth and Family Collaborative; First Place for Youth; Los Angeles City College Foundation; Los Angeles Trade Technical College Foundation; Los Angeles Youth Network; and United Friends of the Children.

Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “The Jewish Community Foundation recognizes the profound need for support to local programs that help current and former foster youth secure an education and prepare for a career. Education and work skills are essential to successfully transition from foster care to become self-supporting, independent adults. These grant recipients were selected specifically for the potential depth and breadth of impact their initiatives can have on advancing this important mission.”

An $80,000 two-year grant to Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) Foundation will support the Guardian Scholars Program. The program provides an array of academic, social, emotional, and mental health support services to hundreds of current and former foster youth from ages 18-34 who are pursuing a college education at LATTC to ensure that they do not drop out because of the many logistical, academic, and personal obstacles that foster youth commonly face. The program offers personalized counseling, mentorship, peer group activities, and workshops to help foster youth as they enroll, select academic or vocational tracks, take classes, and earn their professional certificate or degree.

Dione Washington, director of the Guardian Scholars Program, stated: “This initiative works vigorously to provide youth the kindness, understanding, and guidance they need to succeed as independent adults, both in their LATTC classroom endeavors and in their future adult lives. We are extremely grateful to the Jewish Community Foundation for recognizing this important work with its support.”

First Place for Youth (First Place) received a $70,000 two-year grant for its Steps to Success Education and Employment Program, which connects hundreds of foster youth ages 18-24 with a network of positive, caring adults who provide ongoing, intensive education and employment support services so that youth can earn their high school degree or GED, enroll in college, and build fundamental work skills.

“First Place works to eliminate disparities between transition-age foster youth and their non-foster peers by empowering them through our career-focused programming with the tools they need to lead healthy, responsible lives,” said Hellen Hong, First Place’s regional executive director for Southern California. “The generosity of the Jewish Community Foundation will help expand our Los Angeles County program by 70 percent to provide more than 200 at-risk foster youth with critical education and employment support services over the next two years.”

This year’s other General Community Grants recipients include:

  • Children Youth and Family Collaborative, A.R.I.S.S.E. program, $70,000—To prevent foster youth from experiencing the negative outcomes associated with being in the foster care system, A.R.I.S.S.E. (Academic Remediation, Intervention, Support Services and Education) will provide foster youth between the ages of 12-18 with individualized academic support from on-campus specialists at 35 Los Angeles-area middle and high schools.

  • Los Angeles City College (LACC) Foundation, Guardian Scholars Program, $70,000— To provide current and former foster youth between the ages of 16-34 with resources, training, and counseling to overcome the challenges they face enrolling in and graduating from LACC.

  • Los Angeles Youth Network, Education and Enrichment Program, $80,000— To help runaway, homeless, foster and former foster youth between the ages of 15-21, work towards, enroll in and succeed at institutions of higher education.

  • United Friends of the Children (UFC), College Readiness Program and College Sponsorship Program, $80,000—To provide long-term, one-on-one academic and social support for foster youth between the ages of 12-24 as they progress through middle school, high school and college.