Several South Los Angeles nonprofits and their top executives were recognized at the Los Angeles Business Journal’s annual Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards honor individual organizations and leaders whose focus is to improve the communities they serve.  Finalists and winners and were recognized during the L.A. Business Journal virtual event in early May.

“I think it’s important that we acknowledge our own,” said Community Build, Inc. President Robert Sausedo.  “Often times, nonprofit organizations – particularly nonprofit organization located in South Los Angeles – don’t get the recognition they deserve for their contribution to the community.  It’s important to take a moment and say ‘We appreciate you.’  Sausedo was nominated for the 2021 LA Business Journal’s Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards Non-Profit Executive of the Year for his civic and community leader who has worked for the past three decades to make a difference in civic matters that impact youth, economic development, social justice and literacy.

Under Sausedo’s leadership, Community Build’s funding for programs has more than doubled in less than two years. Sausedo, a former staff deputy during for Mark Ridley-Thomas’ tenure as a Los Angeles County Supervisor, has instituted new programs that provide employment and training programs for formerly incarcerated individuals as well as at-risk youth, seniors and those who are formerly homeless and reentering the workforce. The additional funding has led to Sausedo being able to expand community safety ambassador and community intervention programs resulting in more than 2,700 jobs last year.

The Community Response System of South Los Angeles (CRSSLA), a program launched by Sausedo in March 2020 was also a Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Award nominee. CRSSLA is a collaboration of churches, organizations and other local stakeholders who joined forces to aid the community with emergency and medical services during crises such as the pandemic.

“The Community Response System of South Los Angeles is a bridge for collaboration among agencies in a crisis situation,” Sausedo said. “No one agency could do it all, but together we were able to provide a safety net for the community.”

Other South Los Angeles nonprofits nominees for the prestigious award included Brotherhood Crusade, Debbie Allan Dance Academy, Los Angeles Urban League, South LA I Can Foundation and Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation.

Of the over 100 nominees, 37 individuals and nonprofits were selected as finalists. Four finalists represented African American organizations.  Finalists and winners were chosen for their work in the nonprofit sector providing services, programs, training and resources to underserved communities.

The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles received a finalist nod for its work helping to create educational and economic opportunities within the African American community. The organization sponsors a Young Black Scholars Program which aims to increase the number of African-American high school graduates who opt to continue their education at a college or university. Members of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles are also highly esteemed professionals who serve as mentors for the students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Betty LaMarr, founder at EmpowHer Institute, was a finalist.  LaMarr was a single, teenage mother living on public assistance.  Her determination led her to later become an executive in the tech world. Her organization, EmpowHer, has assisted more than 4,000 African American and Latinx teenage girls in inner-city communities in Los Angeles County. The program helps middle school and high school-age girls set their sights on college and professional success. EmpowHer Institute, itself, has seen such phenomenal growth that every student has finished high school, and 100 percent of the program’s high school seniors have been accepted into colleges of their choice.

Finalist Kameale Terry, was recognized for her work as the Los Angeles Chapter Chair at Women in CleanTech and Sustainability. She started the local chapter to help increase opportunities for women in the tech industry in Los Angeles. Women in CleanTech and Sustainability now has more than 5,000 community members worldwide. There is also a local chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, Terry is also co-founder and CEO at ChargerHelp, Inc. which is an app that allows for on-demand repairs to be done at electric vehicle charging stations.

Councilman Curren Price (CD 9), is familiar with the work of these African American nonprofits and others. He said such community organizations are invaluable to Los Angeles and the people they serve.

“Our African American nonprofits have provided a lifeline to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. From drive-thru food distributions, wipes and diapers giveaways, distribution of Personal Protective Equipment – they have done it all and continue to put the needs of our neighborhoods and families first,” Councilman Price said. “Community Build, Inc., and many other agencies are shining example of the role that our nonprofit organizations have played to get us on the other side of the pandemic and for that, we are grateful.”

To view a recap of the 2021 Los Angeles Business Journal’s Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards visit

Los Angeles Business Journal recognized several African American nonprofits and their leaders at their Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards.  L- R Robert Sausedo, Community Build, Inc. and the Community Response System of South Los Angeles; Betty LaMarr, EmpowerHer Institute, 100 Black Men; and Kameale Terry, Women in CleanTech and Sustainability. (File Photos)