Uplifting South L.A. by Turning Its Youth into Stars
The young Black man with the ear-length dreads is wearing a brand new, white sweatshirt with MOREHOUSE emblazoned across his chest. In the one-and-a-half-minute video, he is effusive, not knowing exactly how to articulate the depths of his gratitude for South Los Angeles’ Brotherhood Crusade, its staff, and its dynamic leader Charisse Bremond Weaver.
“You guys have given me so much. And I really wish I could repay you,” Rufus says. “But I’m gonna repay you by doing what I gotta do in college. Graduating.”
For Bremond Weaver, whose father Walter Bremond founded Brotherhood Crusade in 1968, and her mentor Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. who led the organization for 35 years, thinking about Rufus and what he represents brings tears to her eyes.
“The video says it all,” Bremond Weaver says. “Oh my God, yes, you are going to finish college. You have got a plan.” And the most important aspect, she says, is that the plan is all about “giving back.”
Situated in the heart of what Bremond Weaver sees as a deeply troubled and neglected South Los Angeles, Brotherhood Crusade is bent on giving young people the tools and the exposure to new experiences that they need not only to succeed in school, but become the doers who will uplift the community she loves so much.
Every year, the nonprofit serves a staggering 3,000 young people, ages 10-24, with a wide array of programs and services. With 14 school-based programs, Brotherhood Crusade is seeing stunning results: 99% will graduate on time, 93% saw their grades go up, and among those with significant barriers to entering the workforce, 94% earned certificates from workforce development programs and another 25,000 South Los Angeles residents with support services through community special projects.
For Bremond Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade’s success is familial. It comes from growing up in a home that she calls “electric,” where her father – a “philanthropist, organizer, and therapist” – and her mother – an educator – made sure all their children had choices. That’s what she wants to give her community and the young people growing up in it.
“I think of my own life,” Bremond Weaver says. “I think of how I was raised, the unconditional love. Like from the time I was five, opening a savings account, to talking about current events at the dinner table, to having opportunities as a child to travel, going to see the theater, the exposure. My parents gave me choices. And I live by that. And so when you think of young people in our community who look like me, I want to expose them to everything possible.”
And even though Brotherhood Crusade’s budget and the scale of its work has ballooned under her leadership, she is far from content. She wants to see real, lasting change in South Los Angeles.
“I love my community,” she says. “I love black people. But I have pain for my community, for what is happening around homelessness and inequity, around how this city looks today.”
Until she can raise the many more millions she needs to do what she knows Brotherhood Crusade can, Ms. Bremond Weaver stays focused on the young people, like Rufus. One at a time.
(323) 245-5536 fax
President and CEO: Charisse Bremond Weaver
Our mission is to remove and/or help individuals overcome the barriers that deter their pursuit of success in life and facilitate opportunities for a better quality of life by effectuating improved health & wellness, facilitating academic success, promoting personal, social & economic growth, providing access to artistic excellence & cultural awareness, increasing financial literacy and building community agencies & institutions.
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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.
For 22 years, I had the honor to serve as the President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. During that time, the Foundation supported many outstanding community-based organizations. Under the leadership of Charisse Bremond Weaver, Brotherhood Crusade exemplifies what it means to be an effective, impactful, community-driven nonprofit organization working to address the impacts of social, economic, and racial inequity. For over 53 years, Brotherhood Crusade has provided critically important human and social services to the South Los Angeles community. Most importantly, Brotherhood Crusade has been a steadfast and effective advocate for the underserved and marginalized. For individual and philanthropic organizations who want to invest with impact, Brotherhood Crusade is an excellent choice.
Renovations with a Purpose
Brotherhood Crusades President and CEO Charisse Bremond Weaver has a simple and important ask: She is seeking thoughtful donors to provide $250,000 to refurbish one of the nonprofit’s dilapidated buildings into a resplendent youth development center.
“The young people really need their own space to thrive,” Bremond Weaver says. “This is a great place, it’s a great building. It just needs a lot of love.”
Additionally, Brotherhood Crusade secured scholarship funds for Rufus for his freshman year at Morehouse. If you want to help young men and women like him, you can support scholarships as well.
California Community Foundation
Conrad Hilton Foundation
Danhakl Family Foundation
Ford Motor Company
JP Morgan Chase
Leonard Green & Partners
Liberty Hill Foundation
Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper
The Ballmer Group
The California Endowment
The California Wellness Foundation
The Clippers Foundation
The Dodgers Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
The Weingart Foundation