grade school age children participating in a STEM learning activity
The LA Regional COVID-19 Fund provided a grant to non-profit The People of Change, which allowed the organization to continue to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs to youth in South Los Angeles.

Led by Dimitrio Jones, The People of Change spearheads a variety of community initiatives that pair professionals and community leaders with youth, along with other programs that assist the homeless and build new community businesses.

One of their programs brings hands-on science learning opportunities to urban and underserved communities to encourage children to pursue science-related fields.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced The People of Change to halt many of their in-person activities at schools and churches in South LA, which impacted nearly 500 students that depended on the program for exposure to STEM opportunities.

The grant gave The People of Change the funding needed to shift its in-person offerings to a virtual summer program held via Zoom. The interactive and immersive learning experience allowed students to connect with leaders in the STEM industry, including scientists that worked on the space shuttle that delivered the MARS Rover.

The grant also paid for at least 50 individual packets of materials and instructions for experiments, Jones said.

“Without it, I was sincerely thinking about postponing the program until the pandemic ended and we could afford it.”

LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund

On August 31, 2020, the County and City of Los Angeles announced the creation of the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund, a joint effort to provide financial assistance to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits experiencing economic hardships due to the coronavirus.

This story about The People of Change non-profit is an example of how the COVID-19 Recovery Fund assisted local L.A. businesses. The People of Change is located in Council District 6.

Awards ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 were provided over six rounds, the last of which ended October 26, 2020. In the upcoming weeks, EWDD Updates will feature more stories on L.A. City businesses that received grants and how the funding is helping them stay afloat during COVID-19.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of December 7, 2020. Read this issue and more.