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Homeboy anti-gang program in financial trouble + how you can help!

August 14th, 2009 · 9 Comments

Today I read this short article about Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy gang intervention program being in financial trouble, more specifically there is an approximately $5 million hole in the program’s budget. While I have never been to the Homeboy bakery or to one of its cafes, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about them. Jesuit priest Father Greg Boyle has grown this East Los Angeles based program under the premise that “nothing stops a bullet like a job” offering opportunities to gang members to pull themselves out of cycles of violence and despair, while being able to earn an honest living. Jobs, education and training are key elements in crime prevention, and Father Boyle takes chances on young people who would probably automatically be denied opportunities based upon their dress, demeanor, tattoos and/or arrest records.

The magnitude of this program and its financial problems can be summed up here:

“Homeboy is one of few agencies that have proven success with a population traditionally difficult to reach, said Beatriz Solis, director of healthy communities for The California Endowment, which recently gave Homeboy $500,000 for mental health programs and has donated to the nonprofit since 1999.

But this year Homeboy started to run into financial trouble — contributions from foundations and corporations dried up, government contracts were slashed in half, and state budget woes made collecting bills for past contracts impossible, including a $310,000 tab owed by the Division of Juvenile Justice for mentoring young parolees, said Mona Hobson, director of development.

The nonprofit, which carries a top, four-star ranking from nonprofit analyst Charity Navigator, has lost about 40 percent of its $9 million annual budget.”

But you can do something to help this model gang prevention program. If you live in the Los Angeles area, I encourage you to patronize the bakery or Homegirl cafe. Or go ahead and give a tax deductible donation to the organization online. Now if I haven’t convinced you to pitch in, I encourage you to watch this short award winning documentary about the Homeboy programs and think about how you might be able to help:

Tags: community organizing and activism · Economics

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PMG! // Aug 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up! They ran into trouble last year for the same reasons (Non-profits are hurting so much, many people don’t even begin to realize how much corporations give, even the big evil Walmart…) and thankfully some angels came to help… but it’s hard to expect miracles two years in a row

    Anyway, I’ve been to the cafe since the girls were learning the ropes of serving (thankfully they have mostly gotten up to speed) and have gotten catering from them (A perfect solution for those wanting flavorful, healthy and veggie friendly food)

    Anyway, the cafe is only one part of the ‘industries’. They also offer bakery wholesale for anyone in the restaurant business themselves and a other services…

    But of course getting a tax deduction from a donation is also helpful for all of us in this economy… :)

  • 2 Michaelr // Aug 15, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Hopefully the Roman Catholic Church will see fit to elevate Father Gregory Boyle S.J. to sainthood the minute his heart stops beating. No individual in Christendom has done more to emulate Christ-like behavior than this man. What he has done for the poor and downtrodden in East Los Angeles is truly awe inspiring. His program is proof of the detrimental effects and bias culture of Los Angeles law-enforcement and courts upon people of color, and their continuous efforts to systematically maintain a permanent poor working class. Father Boyle continually demonstrates what awesome results can be achieved through love, commitment, and hope.

  • 3 DoctorH // Aug 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Wow…makes me want to confront and deal with the congestion in that part of the city just to purchase some cookies. Men like Father Boyle can make anything work. This is why he is what he is. And Villaraigosa is what he isn’t.

  • 4 Bearguez // Aug 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    The oatmeal cookies are worth the trip. And there’s that positive feeling that your dollars and cents are not supporting the multi-million dollar salary of a CEO, his group of suit and tie minions, and board of directors outsourcing most of the actual labor to Red China. The more successful this particular enterprise is, the more positive it will reflect on a community which has been plagued by social repression and cultural exploitation.

  • 5 PMG! // Aug 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    DrH–

    Another great thing about the location of the cafe is that it’s right across the street from the Chinatown Gold line station… we live no where NEAR the local, but have ridden our bikes there no problem.

  • 6 DoctorH // Aug 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks PMG!

  • 7 YANIRA A // Nov 8, 2009 at 1:48 am

    I never been to any of these cafes or bakeries because i been living in HI for the past 4 years but i remember seen this program when it barely stated when i used to lived in ELA. congratulations on your success.

  • 8 YANIRA A // Nov 8, 2009 at 1:51 am

    But I hope to visit one of this cafe or bakeries when I go back and visit my barrio

  • 9 narellan // Nov 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Amanzing! Video.

    Born and Raised in East Los Angeles, a community full of life and culture. Many communities like ELA are obviously marginalized, therefore it brings tremendous amount of scarcity to the lives of people of color. Sometimes it seems as if there is no way out, but if one is privilege to navigate their life with a little bit of hope and inspiration. There might be a small light at the end of the tunnel. Homeboys Industries is an example of youth and adult support.

    As we say it in the Calo dialect.

    ” Firme y Fuerza” – Stay Firme and Strong”

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