LOS ANGELES, July 13, 2020 — The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) announced today 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 Oprah 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.”


About the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation:

Guided by the intention of supporting those in need, the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) supports organizations around the world. Since 1993, OWCF has contributed millions in grants and donations to organizations that serve children, families and communities, with a specific focus on youth education.  For more information, please visit Oprah.com/OWCF


About SoLa Impact’s I Can Foundation

The SoLa I CAN Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliate of SoLa Impact, aims to improve the lives of South LA residents through affordable housing, education, and economic development.  We strive to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing educational scholarships, mentorship, job readiness and access to development experiences.  SoLa Impact’s Beehive campus will house dozens of minority-owned and women-owned entrepreneurs.   See www.solaimpact/core-fund


About SEE-LA

Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) is the largest mission-driven operator of farmers’ markets in Southern California and a leader in nutrition education and improving food access. SEE-LA connects low-income Angelenos to fresh, affordable produce, supports California family farms and local small businesses, and builds sustainable food systems.  See:  www.seela.org


About Watts Healthcare Corporation

Watts Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center in business since 1967. Operating seven clinical sites, one substance abuse treatment center, two mobile programs for dental services and mammograms and a host of preventive health services, its mission is to, “improve the health and well-being of the communities it serves”.   See:  www.wattshealth.org


Media Contact:

Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation:

Chelsea Hettrick

Chelsea_Hettrick@own.tv / 323-602-5632

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