Last week, Amazon surprised K-12 campers from the University of California Riverside’s CS 4 ALL CODE CAMP with an exclusive tour of Amazon’s Riverside fulfillment center. Amazon also recently donated $10,000 to the program to support STEM education.
UC Riverside Coding Camp students learn about the many career paths within Amazon
During the tour, students saw technology come to life as they walked through the 1 million-square-foot robotics fulfillment center and watched the magic that happens after customers click buy on Amazon.com.
The students get a behind-the-scenes look at Amazon operations
The donation will directly support University of California Riverside’s CS 4 ALL CODE CAMP, which is a free one-week intensive program that introduces coding and computer science to high school students from the Inland Empire region.
“At Amazon, technology and innovation fuel our business, and we recognize that the jobs of tomorrow require a stronger aptitude for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” said Amazon General Manager Kristi Roach. “We’re proud to support UC Riverside Engineering and help ensure children from all backgrounds are offered access and opportunity to become the next generation of innovators and succeed in STEM.”
The camp is led by a pair of tech-savvy computer science experts, lecturer Kelly Downey with assistance from professor of teaching Mariam Salloum.
The campers are all smiles with their Amazonian hosts after the exclusive tour
“Keeping the camp free-of-charge is important to attract a diverse audience of high school students who are interested in computer programming but may not have access to industry-specific pathway programs,” said professor of teaching, Mariam Salloum. “Amazon’s gift helps keep Code Camp free so all students have opportunities to learn fundamental skills that could lead to lucrative computer science careers.”
Entrepreneurship Center awarded $500,000 to support Inland Empire BIPOC small business owners and entrepreneurs
The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University, San Bernardino has been awarded $500,000 in unrestricted funding from the Citi Foundation to reach and serve more local Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Citi Foundation issued a $25 Million Small Business Technical Assistance RFP earlier this year and awarded 50 organizations nationwide with funding to support continued work in providing technical assistance to BIPOC-led small businesses that have been disproportionately affected by the unprecedented health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BIPOC small businesses and entrepreneurs are vital to our local economy, and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Stull, director of the IECE. “Prior to the pandemic, the number of new Black-owned businesses and new Hispanic-owned businesses were growing at a more rapid pace than the overall business growth rate. New and early-stage businesses face numerous challenges and the pandemic has compounded those challenges. The timing of the Citi Foundation award comes as a critical time as the economy is opening up, and businesses are rebuilding and responding to new market opportunities.”
The IECE, housed in the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, delivers innovative programs and educational resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners through a broad range of community and campus programs. As the leading entrepreneurial support organization in the Inland Empire, the IECE is also one of the largest University-based Entrepreneurship Centers in the world and has been recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) as a top 35 program for fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
“This recent award from the Citi Foundation is a testament to the importance of BIPOC businesses to economic growth in the region, the strong reputation IECE has built as effective stewards of funds and the significant impact both will have on the surrounding communities,” said Shanthi Srinivas, interim dean of the Jack H. Brown College.
“Innovative organizations like IECE are providing pivotal support to small businesses as they navigate an ever-changing economic landscape,” said Brandee McHale, head of Citi Community Investing and Development and president of the Citi Foundation. “The Citi Foundation is proud to be supporting IECE and other change agents with the unrestricted, flexible funding they need to deliver specialized support to more minority-owned small businesses in their communities .”
IECE operates the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Centers and California State Trade Expansion Programs in the Inland Empire region, which operate from full-time offices in Colton, Ontario, Palm Desert, Riverside and 10 part-time offices throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The programs have a long history of delivering free business counseling, mentoring and training to existing and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs. Collectively, the programs have provided support to over 10,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2020.
16-Year-Old Aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon Launches New Non-Profit Aimed at Helping Veterans
Thundar, Lighting, and Peace: The New Nonprofit That Helps Veterans Find Their Purpose
By Rachel Silverman — Freelance Writer for IEBJ
“I met this veteran. He served two tours in Afghanistan and after he came back he had PTSD. He had trauma. And every year for the past 6 years a member of his squad has committed suicide. The VA was filling them with meds and money. And not giving them a purpose.” -Samantha Haylee Moreno — Founder of Thundar, Lightning and Peace
Stories like this are foundational to Thundar, Lightning, and Peace (TLP), a 501(c)3 started by Etiwanda High School Junior, Samatha Haylee Moreno. TLP will support and provide resources and find a purpose for veterans fighting PTSD, depression, and suicide.
“I want to be the resource girl. If a veteran is an amputee and they’ve been fighting with the VA for a wheelchair or a cane, I’ll get it for them.” Young and passionate, the energy radiated off of Samantha when sitting down to talk to her about her nonprofit.
Coming from a military family, she has had first-hand experience and interaction with veterans. Her mother was in the Army for 9 years, leaving home at 17 and juggling her service while having a child and going to college.
Samantha is following in her mother’s trail of hard work. As an aspiring Orthopedic Surgeon with a 4.57 GPA and a participant in multiple school sports and clubs, it’s a wonder where she’s finding the time and energy to start a nonprofit.
Thundar, Lightning, and Peace is not a mere glory project. Samantha has her sights on Oxford and Harvard and eventually medical school. And the final goal? Orthopedic surgery either under the VA or as a field surgeon. Sam wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and serve her country.
In the meantime, TLP is her way of making a difference. She’s working under the guidance of Justin Bond, a veteran amputee who founded Our Heroes Dreams, a nonprofit that offers programs and services to fund veteran’s passion projects. Our Heroes Dreams offers veterans multiple programs through recreational activities and community outreach that give them something to be passionate about. This is the core of what Samantha wants to provide: the ability and access for veterans to find and pursue their passion.
“In the end, we know that pills will only do so much. When someone finds their passion, they realize they can be happy again, and that’s what I want to do. I want to be the source for veterans to understand; you’re not alone. You’re not the only one suffering from trauma. We’re not gonna fill you with pills and shove you out of the way. We’re going to find you a purpose and a passion, so you don’t feel alone.”
Once Thundar, Lightning, and Peace’s 501(c)3 status are officially approved, Samantha will begin fundraising to start camps, therapies, and other programs aimed at helping veterans find a purpose. She plans to have the operation fully functional in the next six months.
“I already have veteran contacts and a list of things they need.” She’s making plans for a silent auction, and the GoFundMe page for Thundar, Lightning, and Peace is up and open to donations. If you would like to contribute, you can find the link here:
If you would like to follow TLP on social media to stay up to date on fundraisers and silent auctions:
Instagram : @tlightning.peace
Facebook : tlightning.peace http://facebook.com/tlightning.peace
To contact TLP: Email email@example.com
SCAG announces grants totaling $425,000 to promote affordable housing and equitable growth strategies in the Inland Empire
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) announced grant awards totaling $425,000 to five nonprofits and community-based organizations in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to promote equitable growth strategies.
The grant awards ranged from $75,000 to $100,000 and will cover a range of activities related to housing policy and land use. In all, SCAG announced $1.25 million in grants to eligible organizations throughout Southern California under its Call for Collaboration program. SCAG is dedicating $1 million of Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) grant funds toward the program, with additional funding from the California Community Foundation (CCF), the Chan Zuckerberg Institute and the Irvine Foundation.
Call for Collaboration is part of SCAG’s ongoing commitment to combat racism, social injustice and an equity gap that has reached historic levels. Last July, SCAG declared racism a public health crisis and in the months since has led regionwide discussions on ways to eliminate barriers that reduce opportunity for millions of Southern Californians. SCAG staff is working with a newly formed Special Committee on Equity and Social Justice to create an action plan to promote racial and social equity and an inclusive recovery strategy.
“The grant program is a significant step toward ensuring that as we promote accelerated housing production, we have the framework in place to close the growing racial equity gap and maximize the opportunities that are in front of us as a region. For Southern California to fully recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic, we need to make sure we’re promoting equitable growth strategies and create an environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Rex Richardson, President of SCAG and Vice Mayor of Long Beach.
Clint Lorimore, First Vice President of SCAG and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Eastvale, praised the San Bernardino and Riverside County organizations that received funding for bringing positive change to the communities they serve.
“Addressing the ongoing housing crisis in the Inland Empire and all throughout California is critically important. Providing tools and collaborating with community partners is vital to this effort and would not be possible without coalition building at the grassroots level,” Lorimore said.
The five IE grant recipients are:
Lift to Rise. Scope: Fund planning activities to advance the production of affordable housing units in the Coachella Valley.
Inland Equity Community Land Trust. Scope: Collaboration with the City of Jurupa Valley to champion affordable housing and elevate the voices of coalition partners in housing policy development.
Neighborhood Housing Services of the Inland Empire Inc. Scope: Expand upon current work with the Pueblo Unido Community Development Corp. to create an accessory dwelling unit initiative.
Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services/Inland SoCal Housing Collective. Scope: Create solutions to improve housing outcomes for renters, homebuyers, homeowners and those experiencing homelessness through education, advocacy and access to resources.
Just San Bernardino Collaborative. Scope: The collaboration of nine community-based organizations working together in the City of San Bernardino to engage residents and draft the People’s Plan for Economic Inclusion.
“Each of these projects provides an incredible opportunity to address economic and social disparity at the community level, and bring new voices to policy discussions while also promoting the power of collaboration,” said Kome Ajise, SCAG Executive Director. “We look forward to monitoring their progress, and encouraging similar efforts across the region.”
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