Building a Movement in the Eastside

aka InnerCity Struggle Inc.   |   Los Angeles, CA   |


Our mission is to build a powerful and an influential movement of youth and families on the Eastside of Los Angeles to promote healthy, safe and nonviolent communities. The Eastside is comprised of the communities of Boyle Heights, unincorporated East Los Angeles, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Henry Perez

Main address

3467 Whittier Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90023 USA

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Formerly known as

InnerCity Struggle FBO Community Partners



NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Urban, Community (S31)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Familias Unidas (FaU)

Familias Unidas (FaU) is InnerCity Struggle's parent organizing component. FaU engages parents and families from the Eastside of Los Angeles on educational and social justice issues. Familias Unidas has a member-led Coordinating Committee (CC) that meets bi-monthly to plan the campaigns and activities for FaU and a General Committee membership that meets monthly to carry out the activities recommended by the CC.

Population(s) Served

United Students (US) is InnerCity Struggle's youth organizing component. US conducts weekly, school-based lunch meetings at Roosevelt, Lincoln, Garfield, Wilson, Mendez and Torres high schools and leaders also meet after-school. US ensures that youth voices are persistant and present on educational justice and social justice issues by providing US members with leadership development, organizing skills, media communication training and civic education. Additionally, US provides Academic Services to the Coordinating Committee of United Students.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Academic Services (AS) is a college readiness and academic preparedness program for high school students that participate in United Students. Academic Services works one-on-one with high school participants to ensure that they meet all their A-G college requirements, enroll in and take the college entrance exams and apply to college. Academic Services offers college field-trips, hosts college fairs at Wilson, Roosevelt, Garfield, Lincoln, Mendez and Torres high schools and conducts personal essay and FAFSA advisement to high school student participants.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

InnerCity Struggle's Civic Engagement program engages the communities of El Sereno, East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights in the electoral process through voter education and outreach efforts. The focus of Civic Engagement is to increase the participation of monolingual, Spanish-speaking community residents that have been traditionally left out of decision-making opportunities. The Civic Engagement program ensures that the voice of the community is represented in community-wide decision-making vehicles and elections.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Where we work


Angel of Peace 1999

Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles

Mover and Shaker Award 2004

Southern California Library

Wally Marks Changemaker Award 2010

Liberty Hill Foundation

Got Milk Awards 2013

Got Milk Foundation

CPA Panther Award 2013

The California Reinvestment Coalition

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

InnerCity Struggle's vision is that every school within the Eastside communities we serve, and throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, are transformed by their local residents into institutions that ensure 100% of students are prepared for college, career, and civic participation. ICS seeks to achieve this goal by campaigning for the transformation of local schools into comprehensive Community Schools. Community schools are guided by a philosophy that schools and neighborhoods work together to offer services identified by students and parents as crucial. Such schools would understand neighborhood conditions based on the latest data, seek input from youth and parents, and secure equitable school funding for the highest-need students. ICS's vision for Community Schools includes wellness centers on campuses, restorative justice based discipline policies, Linked Learning programming and community resources available on campuses before, during and after-school.

This vision stands in stark contrast to the current state of education in East Los Angeles, where nearly only half of all students that enter the ninth grade successfully graduate. In the local Los Angeles Unified sub-district that encompasses ICS's focus high schools, only 12% of high school students are proficient in math. While the graduation rate in the communities we serve stay close to 54% - 55%, only 25% of those students complete the A-G courses required for admission to California's public universities. This alarming data exposes the fact that a high school diploma does not imply college eligibility on the students' behalf. The status of educational achievement in the Eastside highlights the need for increasing educational opportunities and support for students attending local schools.

ICS works through implementing the following strategies: 1) community organizing; 2) leadership development; 3) strategic communications; and 4) civic engagement. ICS's organizing activities include regular meetings with youth, parents and residents, meetings with decision-makers, action-based research, petition gathering, town halls, rallies, marches and community forums. Leadership development consists of trainings and political education for United Students and Familias Unidas members and Academic Services for United Students leaders. Strategic communications involves engaging earned media, including activating ICS's extensive communications network that includes fliers and petitions sent to students and parents through school-based outreach, peer-to-peer engagement, door-to door canvassing, phone banking, social media, and activating an email list of supporters. Civic engagement consists of on-going voter education and mobilization efforts.

ICS can successfully pursue its goals because of the following strengths:

1. Organizational Health
ICS has grown into an organization with a current budget of $1,447,538

2. Staff
ICS staff has the commitment and experience to effectively carry out the work:

Henry Perez, Associate Director since 2008 has developed expertise in community, parent and civic engagement, coalition building and campaign strategy development. Henry has an undergraduate degree from the University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master's degree from UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Irene Rocha, Youth Organizing Director, graduated from the University of California, at Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicana/o Studies and minors in Education and Labor and Workplace Studies. At UCLA she mentored high school youth by facilitating college access and political education workshops.

Laura Zavala, Policy and Research Director, joined ICS in 2013. She earned a Master's of Education degree from the University of Utah School of Education and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Chican@/Latin@ Studies at the University of California, at Irvine, where she was involved in outreach and retention programming for students of color.

An Office Manager oversees internal operations. An Administrative Coordinator oversees finances and human resources. A strong team of organizers and coordinators backs this leadership.

3. Membership and Supporters
ICS currently has 1,500 active student members and 420 active parent members and a contact list of approximately 12,000 students, parents and residents ready to be mobilized for action. ICS provides advanced leadership training to 120 youth and 100 parents per year. ICS conducts two to four civic engagement programs per year with the capacity to contact up to 7,000 voters at a time.

4. Leadership within Alliances
ICS plays an active leadership role within key alliances at the state and regional levels to leverage resources and build capacity for policy change. Statewide alliance efforts focus on increasing California's public investment for high need populations. Regional alliances focus on influencing the School Board to address the needs of students of color and high-need schools.

5. Relationships with Decision-Makers
ICS brokers communication between decision-makers and community members. ICS has relationships with members of the School Board, the Superintendent of Schools, school administrators, educators, City Council-members, State Assembly-members and Congressional representatives. These connections are leveraged towards supporting civic participation and ICS's policy demands.

The founding of ICS was the youth and community response to youth violence in 1994. Parents, youth and residents founded ICS to end the crisis and promote positive leadership in the community.

In 1999, ICS shifted its attention towards the poor quality of education with the founding of the campus-based student club, United Students (US). In 2003, ICS launched the Familias Unidas (FaU) component to build the leadership of parents. In 2004, US and FaU secured the Los Angeles Unified School District's (LAUSD) approval of three new high schools, a new elementary school and a new adult school – the first new schools in the Eastside in over 85 years.

US and FaU members then focused on college attainability for Eastside youth. In 2005, ICS members played a leadership role within a citywide coalition that secured approval of the 'A-G Life Prep' Resolution that ensures access to the requirements for college readiness for all LAUSD students.

In 2009, ICS secured the implementation of an innovative pilot school model at the new Esteban E. Torres High School, in which five independent academies provide a college preparatory curriculum. Soon after, ICS secured a Wellness Center at the school providing free comprehensive health services to students regardless of citizenship status.

Also in 2009, ICS began a civic engagement component to address the weakening safety net in the Eastside. Through California Calls, a statewide alliance, ICS has completed over ten voter mobilization programs and built a database of more than 42,000 contacted voters with 84% who support ICS's core issues. In 2012, ICS voter mobilization efforts helped pass Proposition 30, which invested billions of new funds into public programs.

In 2013, ICS parent leaders secured a historic win to expand the Breakfast in the Classroom program – recognizing that access to a healthy breakfast is critical to health and learning for low-income students. The same year, US students changed punitive school discipline policies. With allies, they won the passage of the historic 'School Climate Bill of Rights' Resolution that banned willful defiance as grounds for suspension.

More recent accomplishments include securing two milestone district changes in 2014. The 'Wellness Centers Now!' Resolution commits $50 million for the construction of new wellness centers for high need schools. The 'Equity is Justice' Resolution leveraged $837 million from Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars toward high need schools. Both changes greatly benefit Eastside schools .

ICS acts as a lead facilitator for developing the models of Linked Learning and Community Schools on the Eastside. Furthermore, ICS joined forces with allies to support the 2015 'Equity in A-G' Resolution securing a commitment by the School Board to college preparation for all students with interventions, added resources and Linked Learning as core strategies of A-G implementation.



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Board of directors
as of 03/27/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Hector Sanchez

Community Coalition

Term: 2020 - 2021

Douglas Wance

Shareholder, Buchalter

Amy Cooper

Education Consultant

Robin Gurney

Senior Vice President of Original Programming SHOWTIME

Pedro A. Noguera

Distinguished Professor of Education Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences University of California, Los Angeles

Margarita Ramirez

Liberty Hill Foundation's Director of Grantmaking, Retired

Aurea Montes-Rodriguez

Executive Vice President, Community Coalition

Lester Garcia

Political Director, SEIU Local 99

Kristie Hernandez

Senior Government and Community Relations Specialist, Boeing

Silvia R Argueta

Executive Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Camila Chavez

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Dolores Huerta Foundation

Rose Contreras

Retired Vice President Creative Services, Lakeshore Learning Materials

Jennifer Maldonado

Program Manager, Funder's Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FYCO)

Belen Vargas

Associate Vice President for Operations and Chief Mission Officer, California State University Los Angeles

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/26/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data