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Actress and entrepreneur Issa Rae is furthering her efforts to empower her hometown. The California native recently teamed up with Airbnb and Nasdaq to gift the Los Angeles-based nonprofit LeadersUp with a donation.

Since its inception in 2014, LeadersUp has been dedicated to advancing economic equity. With a focus on addressing youth unemployment, the organization leads initiatives to eradicate socio-economic barriers standing in the way of educational and career opportunities. The nonprofit aims to bridge the gap between untapped talent and corporate America. Over the past eight years, LeadersUp has served 60,000 young adults and supported 200 companies in diversifying their talent pools.

The $100,000 donation will create more impactful and effective career development programs and job creation in South L.A. According to a study conducted by USC, there are nearly 73,000 opportunity youth living in the city of Los Angeles. The endowment will also support the creation of a community impact fund that will help provide those from marginalized communities with access to mental health services, enrichment opportunities and tech tools. LeadersUp will join forces with organizations that include the Brotherhood Crusade and Central Neighborhood Health Foundation for these efforts.

“This level of investment speaks volumes to the value and importance of our work in this community and amongst BIPOC talent in our markets nationally,” LeadersUp CEO Jeffery Wallace shared in a statement. “As major corporations struggle to make good on their Equity and Racial Justice commitments following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and struggle to build diverse and inclusive cultures within their organizations, this grant affirms the work we are doing in this space as a thought leader and practitioner to advance an inclusive economy. We’re excited about putting these funds where the impact is needed most–in the hands of job seekers as they navigate the employment process.”

News about Rae’s involvement in this initiative comes after she was bestowed with a key to the city of Inglewood. “I’m truly honored to receive this,” she shared after being awarded the key at the Taste of Inglewood festival. “I will always put on for my city. Inglewood, South L.A., stand up.”


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