SBCC Case Studies

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Beststart First 5 LA Partners

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Breathe LA County’s Guaranteed Income Program is a three year program 2022 to 2025. SBCC is the program administer for the LA County’s Guaranteed Income Program ( GI ) It’s a partnership between SBCC and LA County’s Office of Poverty Alleviation Initiative. LA County is the funder . This program is also a research project . The research is being conducted by the University of Pennsylvania ( U Penn ) . The Breathe Program has just been expanded to include 200 youth transitioning out of foster care. IThe income qualifications were100% of Area Median Income.


The goal of the program was to give 1,000 people $1,000 a month for three years . There were no restrictions on how folks spent their money. The expansion of Breathe will include giving 200 youth transitioning out of foster care $1,000 a month for two years .There will be no restrictions on how these youth spend their money. The issue this program was established to address  is the issue of poverty and lack of access to resources. The goal was to demonstrate that with additional financial resources individuals and families could find a little “ breathing room” and move toward financial stability. The population served was low income folks in specific census tracts throughout LA County.


The most significant challenge the Breathe Program had to overcome was the ability to stay engaged and connected to all 1,000 selected participants across the county. From the start, SBCC`s Breathe coaches developed authentic relationships with participants and set up monthly one on one meetings with participants. During these one on one`s our economic development coaches started putting together an individual success plan with each participant based on their gifts and interests which included workshops on investments, credit repair, jobs and career opportunities as well as providing participants with access to SBCC`s entrepreneurship programs and lending circles initiative. Providing additional resources to participants is not the only answer to the challenge of staying connected. In building authentic relationships SBCC also planned quarterly social connection gatherings for participants to meet in person with each-other along with SBCC’s coaches. These gatherings facilitate a place for breathe participants to share their story, experiences, and a network so that participants could support each other.


There was an extensive outreach initiative conducted by SBCC the program administer for Breathe LA. SBCC organized a collaboration of grassroots non-profits who held authentic relationships with residents and SBCC worked with the collaboration to insure that every segment of LA County’s diverse population was aware of the opportunity to apply to the GI program . This included folks who could not read as well as multiple language translations , folks with disabilities , folks with  multiple barriers. SBCC also engaged these collaborative partners as sites where folks could participate in the on-boarding process if they had transportation challenges. SBCC hired three economic coaches to  support the participants.

Potential candidates for these funds were required to fill out a 30 page questionnaire developed by U Penn . Then the names of all the people who applied were involved in a random selection process overseen by U Penn. The names of the 1000 folks selected through U Penn’s  random selection process were forward to SBCC for the on- boarding process. This process verified address and income and determined which benefits were not affected by the increase in income to the GI participants. A debit card was distributed to each participant and they were advised that the SBCC economic coaches would be  contacting  them monthly to support each of them. SBCC would be building a social network so that participants could support each other. SBCC reached out to each participant monthly either through a phone call , email or text.

SBCC has been the program administer of the LA County GI program for a year. Consequently we have acquired significant data regarding the impact of the GI program. Most folks initially used the additional money to catch up on bills and debuts. Now as we move to the second year folks are beginning to plan for the future and consider a path to more financial stability. For some folks this means looking for stable employment with a career pathway option , for undocumented folks this may mean exploring entrepreneurship and the creation of a small business. Each individual’s path may look different but SBCC is committed to supporting each participant in making a plan for financial security so that when the GI program is over each person is on a path to financial stability.


The impact of the LA County GI program has been significant. The program has created breathing room for folks to review past decisions and make more informed plans. SBCC believes the GI program has given folks hope for a better future and hope is essential to a sense of well- being. The empathy and support participants express for each other is evidence that social networks of support reap real tangible benefits for the members of the network . Sharing organic grassroots solutions to participants from other participants creates a sense of belonging and fellowship that many of these residents have not experience before. The additional income is important but the impact of connecting to other folks with the same challenges and experiencing that someone is rooting for you may be more important. SBCC is hosting a series of gatherings to strengthen the social network we are intentionally building. At one gathering a participant shared that for the first time in her long history of accessing county benefits because of SBCC’s relationship with her she finally felt like a person and not a number. SBCC is committed to working with each individual to discover their gifts and talents and the way for them to thrive and contribute to their community. SBCC continues to believe that the monthly contact and coaching we are providing to each participant will result in progress toward financial stability.


The Breathe LA County Guaranteed Income Program  ( GI ) is part of a national initiative in at least 29 states. The purpose of the multiple GI Programs is to demonstrate the benefits of GI as a pathway out of poverty toward financial stability for individuals and families. There is collaborative of mayors from around the United States that is advocating for a national GI policy initiative. They are Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. They plan to lobby the United States Congress to include a GI Program in the 2024 national budget.

The impact on the individuals who are part of the LA County GI program has been significant in providing folks with a measure of financial stability they did not have before the program. Now in our second year ,SBCC is observing  folks making plans for the future that will continue to ensure stability when the GI program ends.






SBCC established as a non-profit in Manhattan Beach above a psychic advisor
South Bay Center for Counseling employs a part time ED half time receptionist budget of $75,000


Moved the Grandview Elementary School in Manhattan Beach acquired more space


Mc Martin Preschool Case SBCC did not interview or diagnose any children. SBCC did provide therapy to the local children and provided a support group for parents as well as legislative advocacy and reform for young children testifying in court

Established SBCC Preschool

SBCC evaluated the value of counseling and therapy  and shifted priorities to alleviation of poverty, allocation of resources to low income folks ,and pathways out of poverty


First County Grant CAPIT SBCC established a relationship with the County Government


LA County Board of Supervisors establishes Children’s Planning Council Colleen Mooney elected to be Convener of Service Planning Area 8 ( SPA )


Family Support Initiative SBCC establishes  SPA 8 broad based collaborative focused on community and family well- being  emphasis is not on social services ,priorities established by residents
Several initiatives funded by Family Support fund Prevention Initiatives not focused on social services including Doula Services, Youth Development, expansion of PWW, Community Garden initiative


SBCC creates the Energy Pathway Program ( EPP ) focused on energy sector in a partnership with Steelworkers Union, Multiple Energy Employers, Community College and SBCC
Career pathway to move low income folks into high paying  union represented job


SBCC establishes Career Pathway Program including Urban Teacher Pathway and Promo Pathway


SBCC Attended the Board of Supervisors meeting designed to redraw Supervisorial District and effectively blocked Supervisor Gloria Molina  from destroying Supervisor Don Knabe’s career establishing SBCC as a political force to be reckoned with  


Countywide Organizing Program Established using the John Mc Knight model of Asset Based Community Development emphasizing the gifts and talents of folks and the capacity of every person to contribute to their community
100 Neighborhood Action Councils established across LA County incorporating a resident led philosophy and the co- creation of work in partnership with residents
Expansion to Wilmington  creation of the Wilmington Empowerment Center creation of the Streetcraft Program recruiting taggers to see themselves as artists and earn an income from their talent
“iHeart Wilmington” was born as a resident-led advocacy group to encourage civic engagement


Prevention and Aftercare DCFS grant awarded to SBCC. SBCC redefines itself as an  organization that partners with residents to co- create solutions to barriers. SBCC embraces a resident-led approach to all programming
An entrepreneurial approach as an alternate career pathway is established
The Individual Prosperity Initiative is established
This program allocated cash to families to decide for themselves how they will use the money to move forward to economic stability.
The significant factor is this is county money being allocated to these families


The Department of Public Social Services funds SBCC to establish an entrepreneurial program for folks on General Relief. This will be a three year program acknowledging SBCC’s relationship based approach to coaching


SBCC expands our presence to the Antelope Valley and South LA. SBCC has three office locations  1 in the V, 1 In South LA and the Main office in Wilmington


SBCC opens the Heart of the Harbor Community Farm 2 acres with 65 raised beds for residents to rent and grow organic fruits and vegetables
100 fruit trees, a walking path, a kitchen, stage, fish pond, animals including ducks, chickens,  roosters, bunnies, goats and a pig


SBCC becomes the Program Administer for the LA County Guaranteed Income Program 1000 folks will receive $1,000 for three years with no restrictions on how they can spend the money


SBCC 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Beverly Hills Hotel on December 2 2023

OUR team



Executive Director

Ely Fournier

Director of Economic Vitality

Elisea Grimaldo

Director of Community Organizing

Octavio Ramirez

Master Gardener

Cendy Andrade

Director of Relative Support Services

Sabrina Silva

Director of Prevention & Aftercare


Director of Communications

Rudy Melendez

Director of Youth Development


Director of Community Organizing

Chris Herrera, LMFT

Director of Mental Health


We believe that change comes from within.

And that to change the narrative, we must seize opportunities and environments where communities can demand equity. That means giving people true hope through tools and resources that work.

We reject solutions that prioritize traditional social services. Instead, we choose innovative neighborhood ventures, resiliency, and diversity.
Our commitment is to economic vitality and a redistribution of resources. We are not a service agency. We are partners who live and build with communities on this journey. Community is our weapon.

We stand by the belief that together we have the power to succeed.

We are SBCC.


“Once you become part of a group of this quality, you feel rooted and accompanied— and have a sense of belonging. Many of the members come from other countries. It is wonderful to have a shoulder to cry on and to grow together. We cultivate ourselves as people and artists; we share ideas and ask each other for their opinion. This support was especially important during the pandemic. We might not see each other in person or touch each other, but we know that on the other side of the phone or screen there is someone who can listen to us. This gives us the chance not to be isolated. We might be physically isolated right now, but there is no need for us to be emotionally isolated.”

“Many don’t get from their own families the support that SBCC has given. SBCC makes us feel like we have family, with no worry that we don’t share the same blood or last name. They help us feel that we are not alone. I had fallen into depression. Their support of my daughter and me gave me the strength and courage to keep fighting.”

“Many other organizations just do their hours to get paid. They forget about me as a person and about the community. I see that SBCC staff work late to make us feel that their support is there.”

“They [SBCC] do honor to the heart logo in their ‘I Heart Wilmington’ campaign. They have love for all of us in the community and for each of us in their programs. SBCC is always looking to see how to help the community. They ask us our opinion on needs and what they could do.”

“I now know which organizations and people really care for us. SBCC gives us food, pays our bills, and calls to check on us. I know five to six organizations in the community, but I found them to be superficial. They didn’t worry about how I felt or what I needed. They like to take photos when they give my children a backpack or school supplies…’Ellos velan por la comunidad.”

“In my connections with other organizations in my community, I can see through other nonprofit’s assistance that just do it for their own means to an end. But in this case, SBCC has a different vibe/atmosphere. What makes them stand out is genuine connection and care for the community.”            

“Sometimes people let their ego get in the way and don’t get help. Now is not the time for machismo or ego. We can’t just fold our hands and sit still. I choose to get up. I know how to cook, how to sew. We all have our talents. We need to get out and do things. We can’t let ourselves be stepped on by the pandemic.”

“SBCC helped me feel strong at a time when I had fallen down and wasn’t sure how I’d get back up. I was out of work because of the pandemic. My husband was also. We didn’t know what food we’d give our kids that night. Then we got a call from SBCC. It felt like a gift falling from the sky. They asked us what we needed and told us they are here for us.”

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