SoLa's COVID-19 Relief Response
For South LA, COVID-19 presents challenges beyond health and safety—the consequences of this pandemic are negatively affecting financial stability, upward mobility, and access to resources for our community. The core of SoLa’s social impact work has been grounded in creating access. Our response to COVID-19 is no different.
Since LA county’s “safer-at-home” policy went into effect, SoLa has continued to deliver weekly food and critical supplies to our most vulnerable tenants who are homebound or 65 years and older. Our partnership with the Food Bank of Southern California has helped us reach over 300 households, roughly 500 residents, and delivered over 3,000 pounds of food.
We have launched an educational initiative, the COVID-19 Retraining & Recovery (CORE) Fund. The fund will offer scholarships to South LA residents furloughed/laid-off due to COVID-19 to enable them to retrain in careers that are likely to be in high demand in a post-COVID economy, such as healthcare and technology. The initiative is anchored by a $250,000 charitable contribution from Ashley and Marc Merrill, through their family office NaHCO3.
“Thousands, especially at the entry-level, have already lost their jobs in industries that were vulnerable to the pandemic. We felt we needed to do something immediately, but also something that had the potential to provide long-term, systemic benefits.”
Ashley and Marc Merrill
COVID-19 has shut down schools across the nation, which has moved K-12 education online. This has severely impacted South LA youth who lack access to technology at home and are now falling behind in their curriculum. In response, SoLa Impact launched a COVID-19 Technology Drive to tackle this educational inequity.
We’ve raised over $20,000 to purchase 100 Chromebooks for tenant youth who are eager to continue learning alongside the rest of their peers.
We invite you to contribute to this ongoing drive, as we are energized to get as many underserved students access to technology as possible.
Minority and women-led small business owners and their employees have been disproportionately affected by this recent crisis. In an effort to support small businesses, SoLa has provided daily consulting services, working diligently to connect them to resources since day one.
One of our commercial tenants, Coffee del Mundo owned by Jonathan Kinnard, recently won $2,500 from LISC LA.
Jonathan has actively submitted for grants, loans, and relief dealing with crashing websites and long wait times. Together we have submitted for over $80,000 in relief; while we await responses we are working with our small business tenants with payment plans and rent modifications as well.
After receiving his first grant award, Jonathan sent in this message to SoLa Impact thanking the staff for working with him through the process.
SoLa Impact is hosting a series of Collective Impact Digital Town Halls with the participation of over 30 nonprofit, business, academic and community partners to ensure we all connect, collaborate, and coordinate the efforts of our respective organizations in response to the pandemic with a particular focus on South LA, Compton, Watts and other vulnerable areas of Los Angeles. The forums have produced a South LA focused list of resources, that includes local funding opportunities, direct aid programs, and relief services.