connect / 2019

Shared Harvest

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Shared Harvest

SHF curates flexible opportunities to leverage talent in the nonprofit sector while reducing student debt. LA has $51 billion in student debt with minorities and women being most impacted. We plan to reverse the brain drain in resource poor communities of LA with our approach to increase human capital by re-engaging professionals in social impact. Through partnerships with cities and businesses, we're changing this liability into a tremendous asset and a more diverse volunteer workforce.

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

Shared Harvest believes that talent and lived experiences are valuable currencies in today’s global market.

As the founder, my first job was as a water fetcher at age 4. Carrying buckets of water on my head taught me patience, efficiency and how little you can earn within a day of work. Fast forward to my family’s imigration to the USA, braiding hair and selling corn in downtown LA became my new hustle. These experiences cultivated my grit, creative resourcefulness which became invaluable as I navigated my career as a first-generation student. I’m now a solution-driven Emergency Medicine (EM) doctor and Global Public Health practitioner who founded a platform that is disrupting the student debt crisis and helping people actualize their own self worth and value.

My co-founder, Briana, is also a first-generation EM doctor who is passionate about serving her community. With a father who always had several side hustles and a mother who went back to night school for professional advancement, she had a sense of responsibility instilled in her at a young age. While training for medicine was grueling, she prioritized finding the time to take care of those who helped take care of her. She is adept at wearing multiple hats: single mother, doctor, teacher, and a social entrepreneur.

We not only represent professionals with student loan debt, but the most marginalized and impacted population: black women. Women currently hold $900b in student debt with black women being the most adversely affected. Additionally, gender and racial wage gap disparities affect this population the most, even at the highest levels of education.

We have both been personally affected by the detrimental effect that student loans has on mental health. For myself, I had significant financial anxiety after complications with my first pregnancy despite being a doctor. Briana, lost her husband when he suddenly committed suicide after he struggled with the emotional weight of his achievements and feeling enough financial freedom to take the time to adequately address his mental health. His sudden death at 33 was jarring to all of us and spoke to the need for society to do better to support those who seek to better themselves.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to connect?

SHF’s matching technology connects skilled professionals with a full database of LA nonprofit sector project needs. Members can access projects that rewards stipends paid directly toward their student lender of choice. Recruitment strategies include targeted social media campaigns, and employing nonprofit project managers. Financial literacy workshops and emotional support and focus groups allow further insight into motivation of volunteers and provide great matches.

The populations which we will serve include:

  • The population of Los Angeles with $51 billion in student loan debt

  • Women and Minorities disproportionately affected by student loan debt

  • Professional Angelenos with higher rates of delinquency

  • Nonprofit agencies who have a demand for human resources capital



Metric: Social & emotional support

Activity: Financial literacy webinars and wellness support and focus groups

Timeline: 1 webinar per month for a total of 12 webinars over the course of 1 year (June 2019 - June 2020). 6 focus groups to discuss obstacles, lender complaints and provide updates regarding student lending.


Metric: Increased rates of Volunteerism while reducing student debt

Activity: Measured recruitment of women and minorities to the platform. Onboard 120 nonprofits in the LA, within the 5 categories of UN SDGs. Measure number of completed projects and total volunteer hours. Measured debt reduction with a focus on women and minorities impacted

Timeline: Onboard 10 nonprofits per month over 1 year and increase volunteer enrollment by 20% each month while maintaining a churn rate of less than 10% (June 2019 - June 2020)


Metric: Total number of local social media friends and connections

Activity: Building a mindful and positive social network “human’s doing good” around volunteering with referral and reward program, hashtag campaigns, and music series in partnership with Sofar Sounds Good.

Timeline: Music series schedule for Aug, Nov and Feb. (June - June 2020); Social Media campaign ongoing (June -June 2020)

SHF champions social causes through select UN SDGs and expands operations of our nonprofit partners:

SDG 3 (Health and Well-being):

The Elgin Foundation for Mental Wellness provides resources for individuals and their families to cope with mental illness.

SDG 4 (Inclusive & Equitable Quality Education): Arts Bridging the Gap fosters improved quality of life, academic success, and future outcomes for underserved youth through art.

SDG 5 (Gender Equality): Global Girls, Inc. uses art as a way to teach emotional and practical skills and empowers girls of color.

SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth): Homeboy Industries promotes decent work by providing training to the formerly gang-members. ELACC provides housing, leadership, and economic growth opportunities.

We plan to expand the number of nonprofits in each category so Angelenos have full agency to choose how they create social impact.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Shared Harvest has a targeted goal of increasing the rate of volunteerism by 5% percent in 1 year. We want to increase the number of nonprofits on our platform by a minimum of 12 in one year and aim to have 6 corporate clients with at least 20% of their workforce participating in skills-based volunteering through our platform. We will collect both quantitative and qualitative data from members of our volunteer, nonprofit, corporate, and government network so that we continually improve the level of connectedness.

A major part of Shared Harvest’s initiative to improve connectivity between Los Angelenos, nonprofit organizations, and businesses is our web based platform. We aim to empower professionals to define skills in broader context using technology to help build resumes that include hard and soft skills and relationships that happen on and offline.

We have identified our business objectives/goals as follows:

1) Increased minority and women engagement - targeted campaigns and measured recruitment of women and minorities to the platform from all sources (employed and unemployed)

2) Increased professional human resource capacity - our Speakerbox initiative for example provides higher level professional services for nonprofits while increasing professional skills of these volunteers in public speaking

3) Impact on criminal justice reform - in our first year our company has chosen a social impact focus directly measuring how many stipends are going toward projects related to social justice by monitoring volunteer activities with partners Homeboy Industries and Uncommon Law and potential future partners like the Bail Project and UnEARTH.

4) Broaden civic engagement in LA area: directly measure number of completed projects and volunteer hours against previous years and social impact created from projects (ie money saved by nonprofits/social impact and survey nonprofits on the cost-savings of projects completed.

In addition to our overarching goals, we plan to monitor the specific metrics: website metrics - site visitors, number of visitors, bounce rate, average page time, number of pages viewed per session, call to action/click through rate, user ages, geographic location, ethnicity, number of projects participated, amount of student loan debt, implementing student loan debt reduction meter on website for LA. implementing total calculated volunteer hours, amount of student debtcoins earned and stipends paid out, projects completed, degrees, lender affiliation and satisfaction, employment status, and social causes as defined by our five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.