The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) announced on Monday, July 13, 2020, a $3-million donation to South LA Forward, a newly created coalition of three Los Angeles based grassroot organizations – SoLa I Can Foundation, SEE-LA, and the Watts Healthcare Corporation. This OWCF donation is in addition to the previously announced $12-million donation to COVID-19 related relief efforts in Oprah’s “home cities” of Chicago, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Kosciusko, Mississippi.
Winfrey reached out to community organizations to best support South Los Angeles during the pandemic and beyond, and helped institute a collaboration created to address the urgent needs of the community including food insecurity, access to healthcare and economic disparity. South LA Forward was established and committed to providing 200 tons of fresh food to feed 80,000 Angelenos, 200 scholarships to those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and expanded COVID-19 testing and primary care for South LA residents. For more information on the resources available and how to apply for a scholarship, please visit www.solaimpact.com/core-fund.
“As I continue to seek out ways to support underserved communities, I was struck by the unique multi-layered approach to effect real change to the systematic barriers of access to healthy food, quality health care and educational opportunities,” said Winfrey.
“We were incredibly honored to be selected by the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, along with SEE-LA and Watts Healthcare” stated Sherri Francois, the Executive Director of the SoLa Impact’s I Can Foundation. “We believe addressing economic inequality and racial injustice requires a multi-pronged approach, and are thrilled that Ms. Winfrey has taken such a holistic approach in addressing these issues.”
“South LA Forward will dramatically expand our COVID-19 emergency food distribution program and help SEE-LA address entrenched obstacles to food access in my community,” said Marie-Alise de Marco of SEE-LA. “As a South LA native, I know first-hand that food insecurity and historic inequities in our food system walk hand in hand. It’s time to forge sustainable local solutions once and for all.”
Dr. Roderick Seamster, President and Chief Executive Officer of Watts Healthcare Corporation, said, “The grant will enable Watts Healthcare to more effectively carry out its mission and greatly expand our ability to provide care to South Los Angeles individuals at risk for COVID-19 due to chronic health conditions.”