2023 Grants Challenge

Unleashing High School Girls' Limitless Potential

From the School House to the White House Leadership Academy empowers African American high school girls to conquer new horizons. Through personalized 1:1 mentorship, engaging local and national field trips, and captivating weekly workshops, we ignite the flames of success. Our workshops forge essential skills-etiquette, time management, public speaking, financial literacy, and STEAM education. Armed with knowledge and tools, participants emerge ready to conquer the world, paving the way for triumphant careers.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA


In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Access to college resources, mental health support, and graduation from high school remain daunting hurdles for underserved communities. The impact of COVID-19 presented a plethora of issues for black students such as negative remote learning experiences, increased drop-out rates, and mental health issues. These issues resulted in many students being disadvantaged due to limited resources and difficult home environments. Unfortunately, 84% of black, low-income students didn't meet state math standards and 70% didn't meet language arts standards in 2022. The graduation rate also dropped to 60%. As the students who started high school amidst the pandemic enter their junior and senior years, their feedback speaks volumes - they are determined to bridge the gap in social and academic knowledge, desperate to compensate for the experiences they missed. It is imperative that we address this gap, ensuring these students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in college and beyond.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Legacy Ladies' (LL) leadership academy is an after-school initiative focused on empowering students who face formidable barriers to success. Designed for black high school girls, the program offers a comprehensive range of academic support through weekly workshops and opportunities. This begins with mentors who guide and inspire participants. Through weekly workshops and field trips, the girls gain exposure to an array of career options from professionals that look like them, fostering a sense of ambition and possibilities. The program also focuses on preparing them for college, cultivating social skills, and honing public speaking abilities. Lastly, the program fosters the development of lifelong friendships among the girls. The success of LL's approach is evident in the achievements of its graduates who have gone on to attend prestigious institutions across the country and have succeeded in their careers. Notably, many alumni of the academy return to their communities, including 2 former students currently serving as LL members. Recognizing the importance of STEAM, LL partnered with LAUSD's BSAP program to integrate it into our curriculum. This emphasis on STEAM is crucial as it exposes students to an array of career possibilities in these fields and connects them with relatable industry leaders who can provide personalized guidance and support. LL empowers young girls, nurturing their leadership abilities and encouraging exploration of STEAM career paths.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

LA County can expect an influx of energized, tenacious young women. Each year, the girls in this program undergo significant academic and personal growth resulting in improved attendance, grades, test scores, behavior, and graduation rates. But their influence doesn't end there. These empowered high school girls become beacons of positivity in their schools, communities, and families, inspiring everyone around them to dream bigger. Their impact ripples through the entire community. Additionally, Legacy Ladies (LL) maintains connections with alumni throughout college and beyond through mentorship. Many alumni return to give back as LL members, workshop facilitators, and volunteers, selflessly giving back to the program that shaped their lives. Their unique perspectives and experiences foster a profound sense of connection with the current girls, sparking a fire within more graduates to return.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Legacy Ladies (LL) has been improving the lives of black high school girls for 19 years. Graduates from the program have gone on to attend colleges across the country from UC San Bernardino to Yale. Their feedback echoes with gratitude, testifying to the invaluable support and guidance received from LL. Many girls discover their career paths during LL workshops or field trips. One student's encounter with an African American woman judge at a field trip to the Inglewood Courthouse ignited her passion, propelling her towards a law degree and a future as a judge. But it doesn't end there. LL maintains relationships with almunae, encouraging them to give back.Two former attendees have done just that, and are now LL members serving as Co-Vice President and Social Media Director. Witnessing their daughters' transformative journeys, parents speak from the heart at our Closing Ceremony each year, expressing profound appreciation for the mentorship and empowerment their daughters received.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 75

Indirect Impact: 1,000