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Meet Cierra Carter of Reach Foundation in Crenshaw

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cierra Carter.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved alone to Los Angeles from Baltimore at the end of 2010 in hopes of finding more opportunities for myself and for my family. Growing up as a low income, minority kid in a high crime area, I slowly realized there were many opportunities outside of the city that kids like myself never had access to. After starting law school in LA, I decided to be more active in helping those from similar backgrounds. As a way to give back and provide access, my friend Chaz and I created Reach Foundation, Inc. in 2014. Since 2014, we have expanded Reach’s presence to Los Angeles and most recently celebrated our 5th Annual Holiday Toy Drive.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing about this journey has been smooth, but we continue to break through any obstacles that come our way. As a non-profit, our biggest issues initially were funding and volunteers. In addition, both Chaz and myself were living outside of Baltimore, so distance was another issue. Regardless of these initial obstacles, we decided to start small in Baltimore, hosting only one event our first year.

Since then, our team at Reach has been in a continued space of learning and growing. The more events we host, the more efficient and successful we become, as well as the more volunteers we are able to recruit. In regards to funding, this past year we successfully received grants and funding from companies like Walmart, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Lakers, In-N-Out Burger, AMC Movie Theatres, etc.

Please tell us about Reach Foundation.
Reach Foundation, Inc. was started as a means to rebuild and empower our community. We want to continue to provide access and build future leaders through workshops, teaching life skills, mentoring, record expungements, etc. We pride ourselves on being a community organization that is truly committed to making an impact. We are family-oriented and all of our board members are either family (my mother, sisters, cousins, etc.) or close friends of a board member.

Even though we all juggle full-time jobs and families, we are very proud of our continued growth over the years. In addition, we challenged ourselves this past year by hosting a new event that was open to the public. We hosted two 3 on 3 Basketball Tournaments for kids in both Baltimore and Los Angeles and had over 200 people in attendance in each city to show their support for the kids.

Lastly, I am extremely proud of and grateful for our partnership with Crete Academy in Los Angeles. We used their school with the Nipsey Hussle Memorial Court for the 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. In addition, we gifted a few of their students with tickets to a Lakers game and about 50 of their students experiencing homelessness received toys for the Holiday Toy Drive.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
While I am the point person for everything related to the organization, Reach could not be successful without the help of our board members, volunteers, sponsors, partners and many individual donors over the years. This past year, my cousin Adrianna stepped up tremendously and helped us obtain our first grants. We had interns in Los Angeles, courtesy of First Track Entertainment, who assisted in organizing the 3 on 3 Basketball Tournaments. We also began collaborating with other local organizations, such as the Blooming Phoenix for a Maternal Mental Health Luncheon, Bankshot Academy for the Basketball Tournament, and Shelly’s Helping Hands for an endless supply of books.

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Image Credit:
Hercules Damien Johnson, Jason Whidby, Tifanee Gladney, and Chet Robinson

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