The CEOs of nonprofit agencies have always faced challenges that are uniquely theirs. These difficulties continue to change and evolve as both the industry and those who nonprofits aim to help do so as well. Even within the past five or 10 years, these challenges have proven to be unlike any others faced in years past.
Nonprofit's RoleThere are 640,000 students currently registered in the Los Angeles Unified School District and 480,000 (75%) of them are Latinos. The LA. School Report reminds us that this past March 1st was the 50th anniversary of the big “blowout” when “thousands of young Latinos marched out of their East Los Angeles classrooms…for their right to be educated.”
ThenWriting for the LA. School Report, Esmeralda Romero notes, “Latino students in 1968 had no textbooks reflecting their history or their culture. They had to refrain from speaking Spanish at school. Teachers and school leaders didn’t look like them. Classrooms were overcrowded.”
NowFifty years later, thanks to the bravery of those students, things are better. Today in LA Unified, 37% of teachers are Latino, as well as 43% of school administrators and 38% of district officials. Now, 480,000 Latino students have access to all classes required for entrance into the state’s public universities. They study in bilingual programs and take ethnic studies courses. Many more are graduating and attending college.
More Progress NeededBut despite all these hard-won advances, Latino academic achievement and college graduation rates still lag far behind their peers. Only 24% rated “proficient” in math and 34% in English. Only 39% of the district’s Latino graduating high school seniors were deemed college or career ready. “We’re not there yet,” said Mónica García, President of LA Unified’s school board. “There are gaps in opportunity. There are gaps in achievement, in performance, and those gaps have roots in the institutional racism and classism that our young people fought against back then.”
The Community Steps UpThe limits imposed by systemic social attitudes and a ubiquitous shortfall in financial assets could only be addressed by the community at large. In the LA Unified School District, the community has responded.
Sunset Bronson Studios – This privately held company became among the first to partner with L.A. Unified by “adopting” Le Conte Middle School. It has donated and installed lighting and curtains for the school's theater and is planning a mentoring program to introduce students to its engineers and other employees who support the creative industry.
“I think it’s good for kids to learn that there are good, solid jobs in the creative side and the support side, which is really core to L.A.," Bill Humphrey, the General Manager of Sunset, said. "And if we can get that across to kids and get them the exposure to say, 'Hey, wow that's in our community, I think I should learn that trade,' that in itself will be a great accomplishment."
The Nonprofit CommunitySunset Bronson Studios may be among the first in the community to offer creative support to Latino students struggling to enter the main stream of American life, but Sunset Bronson is not alone. The following list of nonprofits, large and small, who are taking an active part in supporting the education of LA Unified’s 640,000 students heartens and inspires anyone who takes the time to take a look.
- 826LA - dedicated to supporting student writing.
- DIYgirls - Encourages young women to explore technology and engineering through innovative educational experiences.
- GameDes - Promotes learning through computer games.
- GLADEO - helps young people find and pursue their dream careers.
- HOLA - Heart of Los Angeles gives some of the city’s most vulnerable youth a chance to succeed in life.
- Gumball Foundation - is creating the next generation of inner-city social entrepreneurs by providing access to higher education.
- I.am.angel foundation seeks to TRANS4M lives through education, inspiration & opportunity.
- Imagination Foundation - finds, fosters and funds creativity and entrepreneurship in kids across LA and around the world.
- IOW (INSIDE OUT WRITERS) reduces juvenile recidivism through writing. Paper. Pen. Persistence.
- INNER-CITY ARTS - provides arts education to those children most in need.
- LIBROS SCHMIBROS - champions the pleasures of literature and its power to change lives.
- SCHOOL ON WHEELS - Provides tutoring to homeless children in LA
- TWENTY MILLION MINDS - reduces college costs by democratizing educational content.
- WRITE GIRL - Within a community of women writers, Write Girl promotes creativity and self-expression to empower girls.
Admiration - Congratulations - ThanksThe more we at Global Vision Technologies learn about our nationwide nonprofit community the more admiration and gratitude we feel.
We very rarely talk about nonprofits across the country who focus on animal welfare. Noticing this oversite, this blog could not let 2017 slip by without taking a look at the ongoing dedication and renewed focus that has been displayed by animal welfare nonprofits throughout the year.
The current administration in Washington is seeking to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment in the cause of free speech. This is an issue of critical importance to all nonprofit organizations. While adhering to our long-standing position of not taking sides in the political debate, we would like to take this opportunity to call attention to the impending repeal of the Johnson Amendment.
In terms of natural disasters, 2017 has proven itself to be a record year. The ongoing fires affecting Canada as well as the western United States of California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Montana and Washington state were just the beginning of a tumultuous period that doesn't look like it will end anytime soon. These were coupled with back-to-back hurricanes that lashed Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and have left untold devastation behind. At no other time in recent history has the need for social workers been so urgent and necessary.
The devastation and wreckage of everyday lives left behind by Harvey and Irma is hard to imagine or visualize unless you’re on the ground in Texas or Florida. It’s in the big things like homes and schools and offices and stores and vehicles. It’s in the little things like pets and pictures and awards and diplomas and cozy chairs, favorite shoes and familiar cell phones that were daily refuge. Texans and Floridians driven into shelters are glad to be alive but are not sure who they are or where they belong. Overnight, their identity was mysteriously removed, and they can’t think beyond their next bite of food or available restful cot. They have no plans for tomorrow. They are not clear what tomorrow looks like. We furnish our everyday lives with things familiar (the stuff of our lives) that give us comfort and identity. Suddenly removed, we are left without context. We are traumatized and drift into post-traumatic-stress-syndrome without even realizing it.
A long time contributor to our blog had this to share today about the negative state of our NEWS. It's amazing that when you actually take time to focus on the GOOD, you can easily push away all of the negative information that is thrown at us each day. When you are pounded every day with negative news - it can have an overwhelming effect on your psyche. Have you heard or seen any good news lately? Please feel free to share it here.
I'm always interested in learning how caseworkers manage their days both when at work and when they leave work. Social work is not easy, not by far, but it can be so rewarding when you have the ability to impact the life of someone in a positive way. When I come across interesting information or a good article, I always look to share it with our community.