- Direct Service
- Youth Development
- Health Education
- Digital Literacy Education
- Workforce Education
- Water and Energy Conservation Education
- Cesar Zaldivar-Motts, Executive Director
- Emma Hernandez, Grant and Program Development
- Helena Ramirez, Office Manager
- Trinidad Reyes, IT Project Manager
Board of Directors
A full list of organization’s board members can be viewed here.
The Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative is a network of organizations working together to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector and increase civic engagement in Southeast LA. Founded in 2011 by eleven core organizations, the Collaborative seeks to revitalize the communities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Florence-Firestone, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon, and Walnut Park.
Our “Collaborative Spotlight” series highlights the work and impact of our individual Collaborative members, each of whom have a long history of providing service to the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) region and advocating for its community members. In today’s post, we highlight the work and impact of Southeast Community Development Corporation.
Diverse Voices for Change
A key advantage of the SELA Collaborative’s regional approach to social change is the diversity of perspectives that contribute to our work. The organizations and delegates in our Collaborative are regional thought leaders, having served the Southeast Los Angeles communities for years, and in many cases decades. This wealth of experience and regional knowledge allows our members to identify and address issues that are not readily apparent to those who aren’t immersed in everyday life in Southeast Los Angeles. In many cases, our members are leading initiatives addressing critical issues that are not being highlighted in the broader Los Angeles community. An example of one such an organization is today’s featured Collaborative member: the Southeast Community Development Corporation (SCDC).
SCDC was incorporated in April of 1994 and was conceived from the realization that serious social and economic problems existed in the Southeast’s eight member cities. Elected officials from the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, and Vernon were brought together by former State Senator Martha Escutia to address issues of economic development from a regional perspective. Since then, SCDC has served the Southeast Los Angeles communities with a range of programs and services encompassing youth development, health education, digital literacy education, workforce education, and water and energy conservation education.
Bridging the Digital Divide in Southeast Los Angeles
Although SCDC provides a wide range of services, since 2009 their primary focus has been the Southeast Technology Initiative, which seeks to solve the digital divide in SELA communities. The digital divide refers to the lack of accessible high-speed internet for residents in low-income communities due to poor infrastructure and high cost. This lack of internet access prevents residents from accessing key online resources such as job opportunities, educational opportunities, payment services, government services, and online knowledge bases. Though awareness of this social justice issue has risen in recent years, there is still a lack of knowledge and advocacy for digital literacy in SELA, making SCDC a key voice highlighting this critical barrier to the region’s prosperity.
Through the Southeast Technology Initiative, SCDC seeks to address the digital divide in our communities by providing low-cost tech resources and helping residents increase their digital literacy and knowledge. With services that include free digital literacy classes, distribution of low-cost computers, and assistance for families signing up for low-cost internet services, SCDC is helping SELA residents access the variety of resources and services available online. In addition to these services, SCDC has also established 12 regional computer centers and a mobile technology unit, which have helped them provide internet access and resources to community members across the entirety of Southeast Los Angeles.
Transforming Communities in SELA
SCDC’s commitment to community empowerment and history of collaboration have made them a perfect fit for the SELA Collaborative. As part of several of the Collaborative’s committees, Executive Director Cesar Zaldivar-Motts contributes his wealth of knowledge regarding the history of the Southeast Los Angeles region and the challenges and assets facing it. Having grown up in Huntington Park and attended local Bell High School, Director Motts is a lifelong resident of SELA himself, and he believes the Collaborative’s work is critical to empowering local communities.
“Our organization has a history of partnering with local agencies and organizations to provide services to the surrounding communities, so it was a very natural decision for us to join the Collaborative,” he says. “We have found that you can accomplish so much more by combining resources and ideas and working together rather than working in silos, and we are excited by the fact that the Collaborative is leading this model of regional work in our communities.” SCDC has also helped lead several key projects for the Collaborative, including our first set of Charlas (town hall discussions) in 2018, which laid the groundwork for our policy and advocacy agenda and have helped ensure the SELA community voice remains a primary driver of the Collaborative’s work.
As one of the few organizations in Southeast Los Angeles currently focused on digital literacy and the digital divide, SCDC is providing a critical service to the region and ensuring SELA’s residents are prepared to seize the opportunities of the modern world and workforce. Furthermore, through its full range of programs, which encompass issues as varied as workforce development, health education, and energy and water conservation, SCDC is also helping ensure that communities in SELA can thrive and achieve their full potential. We at the SELA Collaborative look forward to continuing to work with SCDC on our journey to inform, engage, and empower the SELA region.–
SCDC Delegates in the SELA Collaborative
Grant and Program Development
Learn More About SCDC
To learn more about SCDC’s diverse range of programs and history in the Southeast Los Angeles Region, visit their website at scdcorp.org and follow them on social media via the icons below.