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Season 1: A Visit to LA’s Downtown Women’s Center#39


Bonfires LA-Downtown Women’s Center

Made by DWC – A Few Steps off Skid Row

The Bonfires of Social Enterprise continues its series of stories inspired by Romy’s recent visit to LA, and her visit with attorney Cecily Jackson-Zapata, of the Sustainable Law Group.

Joe Altepeter, Director of Vocational Education and Social Enterprise at the Downtown Women’s Center, or DWC, explains how the Downtown Women’s Center is helping Los Angeles’ homeless women and explains why the organization set up workshops and numerous vocational, medical and mental health programs, and housing operations in Skid Row. Skid Row is one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world as it has one of the largest populations of impoverished persons, in the world, and many movies and TV shows have been made there or have depicted the life of people who live there.

In this episode of The Bonfires of Social Enterprise with Romy Gingras of Gingras Global, Joe provides extensive descriptions of the social enterprise operations of the DWC, called MADE by DWC.

“MADE by DWC was created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to break the cycles of chronic unemployment and homelessness by empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities, and generate economic and social capital to support programs at DWC.”

“MADE by DWC works to empower homeless and low-income women to overcome barriers to traditional and non-traditional employment, cultivate local and sustainable product design and creation, and build community in downtown Los Angeles.”

You can find MADE by DWC products in higher end shops in Los Angeles, including Bloomingdales; three Hudson Newsstand locations within the terminals of LAX, or the Los Angeles International Airport; as well as the beautifully appointment shops on Skid Row. Both Romy and Cecily enthusiastically talk about the sunny, cheery layouts of the boutiques and coffee shops. The space of these MADE by DWC shops draws people who would have never thought about visiting Skid Row, pay a visit, and draws customers from nearby office buildings.

Jackson-Zapata is of counsel with the law firm that helps Urbane + Galant with a variety of legal issues. She is currently serving as secretary of the Social Enterprise Alliance. Romy Gingras is the CEO and founder of Gingras Global, LLC- which specializes in social enterprise assessment and development services, and Gingras Global Groups, L3C, which offers investment tools for impact investors. Gingras currently serves as the chairperson of the Detroit regional chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance. Joe Aletepeter currently serves as the chairperson of the Social Enterprise Alliance of Los Angeles.

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