The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) announced Monday a $3 million donation to South LA Forward, a newly-created coalition between SoLa I Can Foundation, SEE-LA, and the Watts Healthcare Corp.
According to a news release, the media mogul reached out to the three Los Angeles-based grassroots organizations to aid South L.A. residents impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be used to address urgent needs in the community such as food insecurity, access to healthcare, and economic disparity.
“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 in a statement.
The donation comes months after the OWCF pledged to give $12 million toward COVID-19-related relief efforts in underserved communities in Chicago, Baltimore, Nashville, Milwaukee, and Kosciusko, Mississippi. The OWCF has contributed millions in grants and donations to organizations that serve children, families, and communities since its launch in 1993.
“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 was established to provide 200 tons of fresh food to feed 80,000 Angelenos, 200 scholarships to those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and expand COVID-19 testing and primary care for South LA residents.
“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 CEO of Watts Healthcare Corp., added, “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.”