SoLa Impact and its non-profit affiliate, the SoLa I CAN! Foundation, along with its philanthropic partner, Romeo Miller, awarded nearly $100,000 in financial aid grants to twenty-seven deserving students at its annual scholarship awards ceremony yesterday held at the University of Southern California. All of the recipients demonstrated academic excellence, strong community service, and plan to pursue higher education in the fall. Among friends and family of the SoLa Scholars as well as leaders in philanthropy, entertainer Romeo Miller, producer Arabian Prince, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, all spoke about their strong connection to the community.
“We are very proud to provide much-needed financial aid to these aspiring students that would help them pursue higher education and break the cycle of poverty,” said Sherri Francois, Director of Social Impact at SoLa. “There is still much work to be done for the South LA community, but we are confident that our Scholars program will continue to encourage residents to achieve their dreams.”
SoLa had initially granted $67,500 in financial aid, but Miller later pledged an additional $1,000 to each student’s SoLa scholarship, bringing the night’s grand total to $94,500.
“As I listened to the compelling and heartfelt stories of the more than deserving scholarship recipients, I realized how blessed I am and wanted to do something to celebrate and motivate them to stay their course of success,” shared Romeo Miller.
At the ceremony, SoLa Impact also shared powerful videos describing the obstacles and hardships each recipient had to overcome. Among the SoLa Scholars: roughly ninety percent are from low-income families; fourteen are the first in their families to attend college; eight have experienced homelessness or were in the foster-care system; four are system involved or have an incarcerated parent; three are single mothers; and several have escaped domestic violence or gang violence on the streets.
“SoLa Impact is going way beyond providing critical affordable housing across South Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “They are enabling young college-bound residents to dream big, while inspiring them to give back to the community from which they came.”
“Our non-profit affiliate, SoLa I CAN!, continues to extend the mission of SoLa Impact, which is focused on uplifting the communities in which we operate,” said Martin Muoto, Founder and Managing Partner of SoLa Impact. “The SoLa Scholars program will help enable our young residents to receive quality education and job opportunities regardless of where they started in life.”
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.