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Meet Elsa Chagolla of Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elsa Chagolla.

Elsa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My passion for working in the nonprofit sector to empower underserved communities stems from my personal experience as the daughter of an immigrant mother from Mexico. Witnessing my own community’s structurally based socio-economic and political challenges, I leveraged my educational environment as a means to a different path and was one of the first in my family to receive a college degree. Receiving a Bachelor’s in Sociology from UC Berkeley and a Master’s of Public Policy in USC helped springboard my 20- year career in the public and nonprofit sectors. I’ve worked in leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Education, LA Promise Fund, PowerMyLearning, Inquilinos Unidos/United Tenants, the Glendale Educational Foundation and currently at the Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation as the Executive Director.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve worked at every level of a nonprofit organization as an outreach worker, program coordinator, program director,  chief operating officer, and for the past seven years I’ve been an executive director. Every organization where I have worked I’ve learned a lot and also have given a lot of myself. I’ve had the opportunity to take on so many roles, some that were better suited for me and some that were not. However, what they all had in common was that I believed in the mission of the organization and was committed to doing the work. Now that I have my own family, I’m learning that it’s also important to find a healthy work-life balance, which isn’t always easy. 

Please tell us about Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation.
The Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation (LPEF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 2015 to address the historically inconsistent and precarious state of California’s education funding (ranked one of the lowest in the nation) and its prohibitive effects on the success of students and schools in the Lynwood Unified School District (LUSD).

Our mission is to provide resources that support and enhance educational programs, initiatives and priorities for LUSD  students so that all of them may graduate college or become career-ready to achieve their visions of personal and professional success. LPEF believes that every student deserves the opportunity to reach their greatest potential in life.

LPEF collaborates with the LUSD to raise additional funding for Pre-K through 12th grade educational and enrichment programs in all 20 schools in the District. Since 2015, we have raised approximately $400,000 and have directly supported college scholarships, college tours, teacher grants, arts education, wellness/ basic necessities and STEM programs. The LPEF funds vital programs that support students such as the Lynwood Unified Food Pantry. Significantly, LPEF has launched an emergency fund in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that helps meet the immediate and emerging needs of LUSD students and families, providing basic necessities like food and supplies, along with educational tools necessary for remote learning and social-emotional support.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have had great bosses with a few exceptions. I still keep in touch with several of my former bosses. They believed in me, in my abilities to do good work, and helped me focus on what I needed to improve. They also were invested in who I was as a person and genuinely cared about me. I’ve taken this with me wherever I’ve gone. The importance of valuing your team and developing relationships with the people in your organization.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11321 Bullis Road, Suite 100
    Lynwood, CA 90262
  • Website: www.lynwoodedfoundation.org 
  • Phone: 310-985-9713
  • Email: info@lynwoodedfoundation.org

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