Accelerator Spotlight:

Watts Latino Community Organization (WCLO)


In 2018, WATTS CENTURY LATINO ORGANIZATION (WCLO) was selected to participate in the causeIMPACTS Impact Accelerator Program.

WCLO is a non-profit, community-based organization founded in 1990 to engage, educate, and build the underrepresented Latino voice within the Watts community. WCLO is dedicated to supporting the development of healthy neighborhoods and self-sufficient families by working with public and private sector agencies to create and implement community development programs that create a more inclusive, empowered, and unified South LA/Watts community. WCLO runs a variety of programs that educate, engage, and empower the Watts Community so that they have the resources needed to be active, thriving members of the City. Some of these programs include: Latino Leadership Training Program, Regional School Safety Collaborative, Community and Immigrant Empowerment Program, Home Ownership and Foreclosure Counseling, Adult High School Diploma Classes, Community Garden, Community Computer Lab, etc.

Over the past 28 years, WCLO has developed hundreds of Community Leaders in the Watts community and beyond. Latino Leadership Training Program participants have identified issues that affect their quality of life and tackled those issues through direct action community organizing, civic participation, and running for elected offices. This track-record has won WCLO countless accolades and awards from the City and County of LA for their work and a $250K grant to add onto their small non-profit headquarters that is housed in a former liquor store in Watts.

When WCLO first met CauseIMPACTS, the organization did not have the funding to pay an architect to design the plans needed to utilize the $250,000 grant to add onto their building. Furthermore, the organization did not have the capacity to apply for grants due to limited staff.

CauseIMPACTS crafted a universal grant application and collateral materials that WCLO used to apply for general operating support from a variety of foundations. Then, causeIMPACTS connected WCLO to Da Vinci Design High School and forged a partnership through which students in an architecture class work with a well-known architecture firm to design the WCLO building addition as a class project. In May of 2019 the students presented their ideas to the organization. The winning design is currently being expanded upon by students in collaboration with the architecture firm that will ensure they are excellent and then stamp the plans for approval at no cost to the organization. We are currently in the process of reaching out to construction firms in an attempt to find a firm that can provide services at a reduced cost so the 250K can stretch further and build a truly significant community center that can act as a resource to Watts.