Tyrone Nance addresses the crowd during a recent event. (Courtesy photo)

It’s Bigger Than Us (IBTU) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to build stronger, more vibrant communities through meaningful programs and initiatives” – and it has successfully been doing just that.

Founded by Los Angeles native Tyrone Nance, IBTU creates various pathways for communities to experience better living by promoting and advocating health equity and community engagement. The goal is to uplift the South L.A. community by addressing fundamental human needs and fostering sustainable growth.

Nance was born and raised in South Los Angeles – the Crenshaw district specifically. He describes his childhood as “blessed” having learned to play organized basketball at the Crenshaw YMCA and building a strong faith community at West Angeles C.O.G.I.C.

“I spent a lot of time connecting with the youth in my neighborhood, many of whom I still communicate with today,” he said.

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He continued proudly, stating, “For my education, I attended Crenshaw High School—Go Cougars! For my undergraduate studies, I graduated from Oral Roberts University with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and later earned a Master’s in Transformational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.”

His goal has always been to bridge gaps and affect positive change in his community, all while creating opportunities and support systems for those in need. This is what inspired him to create IBTU in 2020, which since then, has helped many.

“The need for more civic engagement and volunteer opportunities addressing education advocacy, food insecurity, and lack of resources in South L.A. was evident. The tipping point was seeing children and families go without essential resources and proper meals, struggling to make ends meet. This motivated me to create an organization that not only provides physical sustenance but also fosters hope, health, and happiness in the community,” Nance explained.

Nonprofit “It’s Bigger Than Us” addresses community needs with meaningful programs and initiatives. (Courtesy photo)

IBTU hosts weekly food and resource distributions in Leimert Park from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., offering health supplies, groceries, and other central resources to families each month. The organization does not only supply the community with food, but also resources like diapers, wipes, and dental supplies.

Aside from ensuring those in need have necessary essentials, IBTU also has a school-based program, Youth Community Builders, designed to address the needs of underserved communities in South L.A.

“The program includes guided coursework, on-campus activities, guest speaker sessions, and field trips centered on self-development, higher education, career planning, health and wellness, and community service,” Nance stated.

“By engaging students in real-world learning and community service, we aim to boost their academic performance and personal growth.”

Many people have benefitted from programs offered by the nonprofit. (Courtesy photo)

The program also encourages parental involvement with their 8-week engagement initiative to bridge the gap between schools and families. In doing so, Youth Community Builders aims to improve student performance and foster stronger community connections.

“The Young Community Builders program equips students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to become proactive, compassionate, and responsible community members.”

Nance and IBTU does many wonderful things for the community, but one thing he is most proud of is the continued growth of their “Back 2 School Festival.” This event provides the youth with the tools and resources they need to thrive in the new school year.

Past events included backpack and supply giveaways, music, performances, and much more. Over the course of four years, the event grew significantly from a few hundred to a few thousand in attendance.

“We are gearing up for the 5th annual festival on August 3 in Leimert Park Village, where we will distribute over 2,500 fully loaded backpacks,” he said.

“The event features tons of family-friendly activities and entertainment, making it a highlight of our community outreach.”

Nance told the Sentinel that the community can get involved by volunteering at their weekly food distributions and monthly events, calling volunteers essential to their operations. Volunteers help with setting up, distributing food and necessities, engaging with community members, and more. Those who are in need of services can show up to any of the IBTU distribution events where they provide groceries and resources on a first-come, first-served basis.

IBTU is dedicated to making the community a better place for all. Their endless hard work and dedication has provided food and resources for thousands of students, families, and community members.

“I’d like to emphasize that IBTU is more than just an organization; it’s a movement driven by the collective efforts of our community,” Nance highlighted. “We’re always looking for new ways to expand our impact and welcome anyone who wants to join us in making a difference.”

More information on volunteering, receiving services, and on IBTU can be found at www.itsbiggerthanusla.org or by emailing [email protected].