Tige Charity of KITS (formidablewomanmag.com)

Upon relocating to Hollywood, casting director and producer Tige Charity was deeply impacted after she visited a foster youth girls’ home where her husband was teaching acting classes.

Two years later, in May 2009, she founded Kids in the Spotlight, Inc. (KITS), a nonprofit that empowers youth in foster care through filmmaking.

In honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month and to mark its 15th anniversary, the non-profit announced the acquisition of its new production studio in Van Nuys on May 6. This milestone achievement was made possible by generous donations from supporters worldwide, including social media influencer, Zach King, and in-kind support from Warner Bros. Discovery, 20th Century Studios, NBCUniversal and The MBS Group.

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“We’re incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support we’ve received from donors near and far,” said Charity.

“We now have a place to call our own where youth in foster care can dream, create, learn, grow and gain paid work experience. We also thank Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for facilitating the purchase.”

The support of LISC LA’s Asset Building for Communities of Color (ABC) program has allowed KITS to reach this significant milestone with a bold statement against historical inequities. The original deed to the property contained a discriminatory clause that barred people of color from using, leasing, or purchasing it. Racially restrictive covenants that go back as far as 1850 are still on real property records throughout Los Angeles County today.

Now, KITS not only owns this property but is transforming it into a hub of creativity and empowerment for foster youth. LISC LA with support from Wells Fargo played a pivotal role in this acquisition.

The ABC program provided 0% interest and flexible capital that enabled KITS to secure this studio. The ABC program is investing in small businesses and nonprofits across Los Angeles County to grow, create jobs, and build generational wealth.

“LISC LA is honored to have contributed to Kids in the Spotlight’s incredible journey through our Asset Building for Communities of Color program,” said LISC LA Executive Director Nicole Williams.

“We applaud KITS’ dedication to change lives through storytelling and look forward to the impact this new studio will have on our youth.”

Other valued partners who support KITS’ mission include actors Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), Dawnn Lewis (“A Different World”) and local news reporters Robin Winston (NBC4 News) and Christine Devine (Fox 11 News).

The new studio, equipped with state-of-the-art sets designed by Shelley Wallace, a KITS board member and set designer for “SEAL Team,” provides filmmakers with a premier rental facility and enables them to help train young creators.

KITS’ Production Studio with Purpose is a permanent workforce development studio that equips over 1,000 youth with skills, leading them on a foster care-to-career pathway. The studio is expected to generate over 500 paid work opportunities annually.

“We also recognize the historical significance of this acquisition,” said Charity, referencing an excerpt of the original legal property agreement that stated people of non-white backgrounds were denied access, including purchasing or leasing.

“Our new studio stands as a testament to progress and inclusivity, underscoring the importance of our mission to provide opportunities for all youth, regardless of background or circumstance.

“Every youth deserves to be heard and to tell their own story,” Charity added.

“With this new studio space, we aim to foster creativity, build confidence, enhance capabilities and provide connections to jobs in the entertainment industry for our youth.”

To learn more, visit kidsinthespotlight.org.