COVID-19 is exacerbating the existing opportunity gaps created by lack of after-school resources and technology education.
The educational experience of online classrooms is not serving our low-income youth.
We want to bridge this educational divide while creating job training and placement opportunities for Black and Latinx youth in South LA. Our vision is to inspire them to see possibility and opportunity in their lives by introducing them to experiences they do not normally or easily have access to.
SoLa Impact is helping to bridge this digital divide by creating South LA's first state-of-the-art Technology & Entrepreneurship Center.
OUR SOUTH LA YOUTH ARE
we are determined to disrupt these statistics.
COVID-19 related budget cuts in public schools have created a need for civic and community organizations to provide additional educational programming.
Now more than ever, there is a need to invest in educational opportunities for South LA youth.
We seek not only to bridge the gap between an increasingly technological economy and the educational and professional backgrounds of those living in South L.A., but also to provide new access points for students, job seekers, and job creators to collaborate locally.
It's a question of opportunity, not ability
Southern California has recently become one of the largest technology markets in the country.
But LA’s $92 billion tech industry is not reaching our communities.
When surveying the 13 largest public high schools in South L.A., we found that 87% of students lack access to tech related electives.
Southern California’s technology sector has one of the lowest percentage of Black and Latinx workers in the country.
We believe that promising South LA youth like Pedro deserve a chance to pursue their goals. Our Center’s programs will integrate area youth to industries driving today’s economy and in the future.
SURGE will offer high quality educational programming, leadership development and community activities in an exciting and safe environment free of charge to the community. Through SURGE, we hope expose area youth to skills and training in technology and media that will help them access high growth employment in technology industries. We will ensure that the center can offer the best safety and security standards possible in the COVID-19 era.
covid-19 safety protocols
Maximum occupancy enforced
Temperature checks before entry
6ft spacing between computer terminals
Disinfectant foggers for work stations before & after use
Special anti-viral HVAC filter system
, WE WILL
With paid wages for entry-level technology jobs often 70%+ higher than other entry- level positions in other fields, the wage-earning potential is enormous. Our goal is to secure wage-earning positions for all of-age program participants within 18 months of enrollment.
Our Center will work to put kids on a path to career success, offering job shadowing programs, mentorship opportunities, an internship placement program, and career exposure programming.
Our programs are designed to combat the effects of childhood and community trauma by providing a year-round, safe space that will spark creativity and innovation in our scholars. Our ultimate goal is to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, unlock their full potential, and develop youth into academically accomplished leaders.
Our programs include
Robotics • Esports & Game Development
Virtual & Augmented Reality • Coding • Entrepreneurship Animation & Visual Effects • Digital Media
Music Production • App Development
Podcast Production • Financial Technology
If you can see it, you can be it.
Working to end intergenerational poverty in South Los Angeles through community development and access to economic opportunity.
The SoLa I CAN Foundation (est. 2017), the 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliate of SoLa Impact, is built on a simple premise: If you can see it, you can be it. SoLa aims to improve the lives of South LA residents through access to educational, technological, and economic opportunities. We work towards uplifting underserved Black and Latinx communities by providing:
College Readiness and Scholarships.
To connect the South LA community with 21st century opportunities, SoLa I CAN is developing SURGE: Technology and Entrepreneurship Center. The first of its kind in South LA, SURGE launched virtually in Fall 2020 with a grand opening scheduled for Spring 2021. SURGE will teach skills in coding, video game development, esports, graphic design, robotics, video, music production, and entrepreneurship.
As part of SoLa I CAN’s pandemic response, the COVID-19 Retraining and Recovery (CORE) Fund was launched in partnership with the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation in April 2020. The $1,000,000 fund will offer 200 scholarships to low-income South LA residents severely economically affected by COVID-19 to pursue training in careers for a post-COVID economy.
SoLa I CAN Leadership
Sherri francois, Chief Impact Officer
Sherri steers SoLa Impact’s social impact strategy, operations and development. Sherri leads the execution of SoLa Impact’s strategies to improve the lives of SoLa tenants, and provide educational opportunities for underserved youth in the company’s South LA community. In 2018, Sherri established SoLa’s nonprofit affiliate, The SoLa I CAN Foundation (I CAN), where she serves as the Executive Director and President of the Board.
daniel rosove, social impact assistant director
Daniel Rosove is the Assistant Director of Social Impact and Project Director of the CORE Fund. He brings nearly 15 years of experience in public policy, social impact program creation and administration and fundraising to SoLa Impact and the SoLa I CAN Foundation, where he serves on the board of directors. Daniel directs SoLa I CAN Foundation’s youth programming and partnerships. In addition, Daniel is the project director on SoLa I CAN Foundation’s SURGE: Technology and Entrepreneurship Center, South LA’s first such center, set for a virtual launch in the Fall of 2020. Daniel began his career working in Congress and then in diplomacy and public policy tackling Middle East peace and hunger in the United States and abroad. Before joining SoLa Impact, Daniel directed a $4 million dollar social impact fund at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, leading a campaign to seed and build non- profit anti-hunger advocacy operations throughout Appalachia and the Southeast US.
jason riffe, Corporate & community partnerships manager
Jason Riffe is the Corporate & Community Partnerships Manager for SoLa Impact, a family of real estate funds. SoLa Impact is the largest Section 8 landlord in Los Angeles County and is committed to investing and remaining in some of LA’s most blighted communities. A professional fundraiser for eight years, Jason has been successful in securing over $70MM in public and private capital for community and economic development initiatives. Jason focuses on creating strategic partnerships that work to improve quality of life for lower income residents of South Los Angeles. Jason is an Avant-Garde patron and member of the Legacy Circle, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Jason is an honors graduate of Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University.
erika cuellar, social impact manager
Erika has a demonstrated commitment to diversity, increasing higher education and community engagement. As the Social Impact Manager she is instrumental in the development and management of the SoLa’s data-driven approach to Social Impact. Erika leads the design, collection and analysis
of qualitative/quantitative data to evaluate program success/overall effectiveness and communicate results with staff, investors and community stakeholders. She uses her scientific background to empirically measure the impact of SoLa’s outreach programs and gain an understanding of tenant needs to help develop meaningful ways to better serve the community of South LA.
Ariel hyatt, CORE program manager
Ariel Hyatt is the CORE Fund Program Manager, responsible for the successful execution of the CORE Fund’s central objectives in addition to client management, staff coordination and stakeholder reporting. She has a long and accomplished career in nonprofit management and partnerships, most recently as Director of Faith and Community Relations at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County and before that at Future In Humanity, a direct service and homelessness prevention case management organizations, which she founded and served as CEO. She also participates in a broad range of volunteer and community efforts, including Monday’s at the Mission, Casa Teresa, Ronald McDonald House and CHOC Hospital.
Our for profit affiliate, SoLa Impact, is a family of social impact, real estate funds focused on high-quality affordable housing, catalyzing economic development, and providing access to educational opportunities in low-income communities. SoLa Impact was recently recognized as the nation’s leading Urban OZ fund by Forbes & the Sorenson Impact Center.
Our proven track record leverages data-driven social impact strategies to deliver superior financial returns. SoLa Impact’s $115 million Opportunity Zone (OZ) fund invests in designated OZs in South Central Los Angeles, Watts, Compton, and other historically disadvantaged communities. SoLa’s social impact teams are primarily focused on the critical issues of homelessness, access to higher education, and creating living-wage jobs in these communities.
The Beehive is SoLa’s OZ business campus, comprised of 100,000 square feet of commercial space located only ten minutes south of downtown Los Angeles. Comprised of six unique and architecturally beautiful red-brick warehouses, this project will transform the local neighborhood and economy in the true spirit of the OZ legislation as the “nation’s first OZ business campus.”