The challenges of poverty in LA Country are deeply rooted and large-scale. At Specialty Family Foundation, we concentrate our philanthropic investments on core areas that address pressing challenges in underserved communities, provide clear pathways out of poverty, and offer significant potential for progress: Catholic education, housing, and substance use treatment and intervention.
Access to a quality education is a human right, a necessary step in the journey out of poverty, and our largest historic investment area to date. Catholic schools have long provided quality access to LA’s inner-city children, with tens of thousands of low-income students currently enrolled in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. We are proud to work with local partners to reimagine these schools for growth and increased impact during a time where privately funded neighborhood schools face financial pressure and risk of closure.
Specialty Family Foundation is in a unique position to help struggling Catholic schools in key ways. Catholic education was our first passion, and has been our largest and most impactful area of investment to date. Since 2006, we have directed more than $21 million to help under-funded Catholic schools strengthen their leadership, outreach, and programs. In 2020, we identified the following goals and funding priorities to guide our impact over the next five years:
We believe that housing is a human right. A stable, safe home is essential in supporting healthy family structures, and in providing for the whole child — with space to thrive academically, emotionally, and physically. With a home to call their own, families have the opportunity to break free of conditions that contribute to persistent poverty.
Every day, a growing number of people and families live in their cars or on the streets. In response to this reality, in 2020 Specialty Family Foundation incorporated Housing as a new focus area of philanthropic investment. Over the next five years, we intend to invest $5,000,000 with the ultimate goal of getting people off the streets and into affordable, safe, and stable homes.
As part of this effort, Specialty Family Foundation invests in organizations and programs that focus on housing preservation and homelessness prevention for LA County’s most vulnerable children, foster care youth, transitional age youth, and families. We additionally seek solution providers who offer complete wrap-around services that address substance use disorder, mental illness, and unemployment. Our investments will work to support targeted, innovative strategies aimed at:
*Greater Los Angeles Homeless County 2020. Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Substance use disorder is one of the most complex and intractable contributors to persistent poverty. In one year alone, over 50,000 people in LA County were treated for substance use. *Many of those who struggle with addiction confront other interconnected challenges, including homelessness and mental illness. To break the cycle of addiction and poverty, we must invest in novel approaches to substance use intervention, prevention, and treatment for the whole family. Because where there is recovery, there is also healing and hope.
Specialty Family Foundation recognizes the role substance use plays in intergenerational poverty, incarceration, and homelessness. To meet this interconnected challenge, substance use treatment and intervention is one of our key focus areas for future investments.