OLASTEO participants group shot 2018
The LA Regional COVID-19 Fund awarded non-profit OLASTEO a grant that allowed them to fund key programs and support operations and marketing efforts.

OLASTEO serves the Watts community in South Los Angeles and creates empowering experiences for students can that serve as a catalyst for social change. Aaron Friedman, President and co-founder of OLASTEO, has spent the last five years curating interactive workshops, immersive trips, and powerful speakers for their youth scholars.

Given the challenges of COVID-19, Friedman searched for ways to expand the non-profit’s virtual programming and launched its OLASTEO Speaker Series. Friedman said the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund grant will help fund the speaker series for the next nine months.

The grant also helped the non-profit fund its recent Summer Virtual Experience, a two-day event with virtual guest-speakers and educational sessions. The grant is supporting the organization’s operations and marketing efforts to expand their presence in Los Angeles.

As a newer organization in South Los Angeles, the grant gives OLASTEO and Friedman hope that major grant donors will recognize their dedicated work in the community—starting with the successes following their LA Regional COVID-19 Fund grant.

“We are a relatively new organization with huge dreams and aspirations—thinking globally and acting locally,” Friedman said. “Years from now, when we've impacted hundreds, perhaps thousands of students, funded in significant part by grant money, we will never forget the one grant that got it all started.”

OLASTEO is located in Council District 15.

LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund

The LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund is a joint effort between the City and County of Los Angeles to provide financial assistance to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits experiencing economic hardships due to the coronavirus. Selected applicants were awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Six rounds of applications were held, the last of which ended October 26, 2020.

OLASTEO's grant story describes how the COVID-19 Recovery Fund assisted a non-profit based in Watts (CD15). In the upcoming weeks, EWDD Updates will feature more stories on L.A. City businesses that received grants and how the funding is helping them stay afloat during COVID-19.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of November 16, 2020. Read this issue and more.