Robert Rubin (Courtesy photo)

Robert Rubin, the executive director of the Vermont Village Community Development Corporation, has committed his life to social justice and community development for people living in South Los Angeles. South Los Angeles has experienced poverty, crime, drug addiction, gang violence, homelessness, civil unrest, and political upheaval.

But there is one unsung hero consistently changing a negative narrative in a God inspired message of hope. Robert Rubin is that unsung hero for social justice and community development.

Rubin is a graduate of Cal State University Dominguez Hills University. He’s a family man of 38 years, with a loving wife and four daughters and four grandchildren. He attended Manchester Elementary, Harte Middle School, Washington High & Fremont High School and Southwest Community College. Robert is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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He served faithfully for 10 years under the leadership of the late Bishop Robert W. McMurray, 12 years with Bishop Noel Jones of The City of Refuge, and 17 years with the late Apostle Frederick K. C. Price and Dr. Betty R. Price of Crenshaw Christian Center. Rarely did Robert seek fame, glory, and attention, but it was Robert who sourced, secured funding and managed new real estate construction projects, rehab homes for first time homebuyers and affordable seniors’ apartment housing for seniors and low to moderate income residents, with a total housing budget of $60,000,000.

He helped to employ hundreds of people and create professional intervention workers – about 13 full-time positions and another 11 part-time personnel of former gang members/felons –  to directly help reduced crime and mayhem in and around the Vermont/Manchester area.

His leadership efforts for the Vermont/Manchester Coalition of Neighborhood Developers in the early nineties completed a community plan that was used by City Planners of Los Angeles to submit for the Empowerment Zone designation!  He also led the charge in organizing the Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition and was the former treasurer and founding member of the A. C. J .C., that lead the jobs training effort for local hires from the Port of Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles, underground rail systems from the ports.

He helped to acquire land and plan the future development of Bethany Square and the proposed development on Hoover Street from 83rd to Manchester. His final development chapter with the City of Refuge church construction management oversight of the 119,000 (45,000) square feet warehouse conversion into a church facility in Gardena; known as the former sanctuary for the City of Refuge.

Currently, working for Vermont Village Community Development Corporation producing results, along the Vermont Corridor. His goal is to help revive and rebuild the Vermont/Manchester corridor while simultaneously working on community outreach and development of more affordable housing, commercial developments, and home ownership.

Vermont Village Human Service, Inc was the first economic development project of $44 million. The asset of 90 sq. ft commercial building, the triple net master lease tenant is the Department of Public Social Services building ran by the County of Los Angeles.

Robert was appointed by the Council District 8 to co-chair the South Los Angeles (SLA) Community Plan for one of 35 Community Plans that make up the Land Use Element of the City’s General Plan. It serves as the blueprint for growth and development in the area.

The plan includes goals and policies for the various types of uses of land, including residential, commercial and industrial. South L.A. was one of the three community plans that make up the South Los Angeles Planning Region, which includes the Southeast Los Angeles Community Plan and the West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert Community Plan. It took 12 years to complete before ratification by the City of Los Angeles.

Mr. Rubin chaired the Vermont Village Community Advisory Committee (VVCDC), advocating for more retail commercial development in the corridor from 84th Street and Vermont to Manchester Avenue.  He was also a founding member of the Vermont/Manchester Community Advisory Committee and chaired the SPA 6 Advisory/Advocate Committee for the Department of Children and Family services.

Robert assisted with the formation of Advocates for Peace & Urban Unity; APUU gang intervention and youth development services, whose former ethos was with the business as gang members in 2007: that led to contracts with the City of Los Angeles, A Better LA, and the Community Coalition to help reduced gang violence and increase youth development service in communities.

On July 12, 2023, VVCDC was awarded a Non-CFCI Program Area 8 Funding Opportunity. The Non-CFCI Funding Opportunity – Program Area 8: Grant is Justice-Focused for CBOs from the allocated $7.65 Million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to community-based organizations in LA County that serve individuals and families impacted by the criminal legal system.

Mr. Rubin was a co-founder of Church United for Economic Development (CUED) at USC that educated hundreds of churches on social justice and community development. This initiative was the forerunner to the USC Cecil Murray Center.

We salute Robert Rubin, a community unsung hero!