On Saturday April 22, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson of District 8 honored the 57 recipients of the Council District Eight Community-Based Organization Grant Fund who performed service-oriented work in CD 8.
The Council District Eight Community-Based Organization Grant Fund was established after the death of George Floyd to reinvest $4.2 million into the district’s non-profit sector after community members asked for a recommitment to nonprofit organizations that filled social service gaps and bolstered the well-being of local neighborhoods.
Harris-Dawson and his staff selected a committee of seven volunteers to review applications based on service delivery, demonstrated impact of service, the organization’s government structure, and focus on serving the people and families of Council District Eight with grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.
CD8 Office and Finance Manager Denise Jackson oversaw the creation of the grant’s framework. The Jemmott Rollins Group administered the fund.
Harris-Dawson remarked, “Investing in the people in our community is a fight I’m always ready to have. The nonprofit sector fills the gaps across a wide swath of services that has been underfunded for years, so this is a major win for the district.”
Each organization focuses on a variety of issues including economic development, food access, health and wellness, gang intervention, services for the unhoused, social services, youth development and the arts.
The nonprofits included Bernita R. Walker of Project Peacemakers, who outlined her organization’s mission and explained why the event was so impactful.
“We’ve been in the community for 28 years as of May 25th and we work with victims of domestic violence. We provide intervention and prevention services and this grant afforded the opportunity to work with people who had no coverage and needed extended care that didn’t come under any other grants that we had,” said Walker.
“We know that domestic violence is at the root of everything that is going wrong…it is exciting for me to be at this event because I know a lot of these individuals personally.”
Walker has worked in this field for 43 years and serves on other committees such as the Los Angeles County Council on Domestic Violence, co-chair of the Interfaith Community on Inner Partner Violence, and on the Los Angeles Alliance as a representative for Councilman Curren D. Price Jr.
Several other board members of these organizations spoke about their work including Skipp Townsend of 2nd Call Gang Intervention Organization, which assists in the social rehabilitation of violent ex-offenders through violence prevention and career development programs that provide individuals with employable skill sets, job placement, and methods for violence prevention and intervention.
Townsend mentions that if he “wanted to stop the violence in the community, and I realized that I had to create programs for life skills and we had to help not get a job, but to create a career. I am grateful for Council District 8 looking back to 2nd Call and saying let’s invest in the people and not the system.”
The grant was launched on February 4, 2022, being the first granting program fully funded by monies redirected from the Los Angeles Police Department to impacted communities in South Los Angeles.
According to a CD 8 spokesperson, “These organizations’ missions are motivated by personal stories, experiences, and are coupled with an unwavering commitment to a cause. They are the public voice of the community; they know what is broken, and they know the remedy.”
To find more information on this grant and more programs, visit www.mhdc8.com.