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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Tierra del Sol Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Education, Human Services, Job Training, Special Education, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: A strong and vibrant community is one in which all of its members contribute to the strengths and assets for the common good. Tierra’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to fulfill their potential and desire to become productive citizens who are accepted, included and valued for the contributions they make to the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the community. We are actively working towards the day when people with any type of disability are fully recognized as an integral part of our community – as neighbors, co-workers, and contributors.

Results: Each day, Tierra fulfills its mission by empowering adults with developmental disabilities (e.g.: autism, cognitive disabilities, and Cerebral Palsy) to realize their potential, becoming as independent as possible within their communities, establishing a valued role in society, and attaining successful employment. Tierra offers the support necessary to lead integrated and meaningful lives through 198 community-based partnerships. This is comprised of 31 businesses, 160 nonprofits, six colleges, and one occupational center. People served (“associates”) discover their potential via Workforce Development, College to Career, and Careers in the Arts services. Prior to COVID-19, Tierra served 720 adults (798 annually). At the pandemic onset, Tierra proactively ensured associates continued to connect to services they depend on each day. After speaking with each associate about a hybrid of safe in-person and virtual services, 640 of 720 associates (88%) are participating in this new service model. Many of the remaining 12% are in group or family homes which are unable to help them take part in daily virtual classes. Others are college students taking online courses with minimal support from Tierra.

Target demographics: Tierra champions inclusion and value for individuals with disabilities through creative pathways to employment, education, and the arts.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Last year, Tierra supports almost 800 adults with developmental disabilities. Five hundred (500) adults are enrolled in full-time workforce development services. 111 adults hold paid jobs at 31 local companies, six interns hold short-term paid positions, 179 adults are succeeding at local colleges, and 80 artists earn a paycheck by selling their work.

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County

Programs: Workforce Development, College to Career, and Careers in the Arts.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

It’s not easy raising money for this population yet Tierra del Sol does a fantastic job. You can see it in their clients’ smiles.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tierra de Sol Foundation is a stellar non-profit organization serving so many individuals with compassionate training and educational services. Providing opportunities for adults with disabilities to participate in society and feel valued for their contribution. The staff is professional and supportive as well as approachable.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tierra has really stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. By creating an incredible curriculum of interactive, educational, and creative virtual classes, associates are staying engaged and connected, as well as continuing to learn and grow each day.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our developmentally delayed daughter, Theresa, has been a client at Tierra for over 15 years. She loves Tierra, and has friends, teachers, peers, several jobs in the community, and a place she calls "her home." Theresa functions at a 5 year old level, but Tierra has taught her that she can do anything she wants to do in life. They have created a "pathway" for her for years to come. This organization is run by a staff of dedicated, professional individuals, some of whom have been with Tierra for over 30 years, which is remarkable for this field. We don't know what we wou ld do without Tierra, we love it and hope it will be around for decades for come, for more adult children like our daughter.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This agency has heart, character, passion and determination. They consistently support the individuals they serve to build the best lives possible.

3 Janice E.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When the pandemic hit, Tierra pulled together and created an entire eLearning system that would allow all associates to engage and continue learning and developing in lieu of in-person services. An entire team of dedicated Tierrans literally said, "We can still offer quality services even if that means we have to do it virtually." There are so many non-profits out there that are shutting their doors because of the impact COVID-19 has had on their programs and services. Tierra moved forward, and in a miraculous way, the doors of opportunity have expanded. It's admirable how innovative and caring this organization really truly is and it is an honor to serve alongside them.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tierra del Sol is an incredible organization that is truly making a difference in the lives of men and women with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The inspirational stories they have shared are moving and sheer proof of the phenomenal work they do. Men and women are gaining meaningful employment, pursuing higher education and going to college, making a living - and a name for themselves in the art world - as professional artists. It is mind blowing what Tierra's programs and services have done for over 750 individuals. They are miracle workers!!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

It’s 2020! Everything is upside down. Tierra del Sol has risen to the challenge of serving those in our community who otherwise would be completely isolated and alone. I am a board member and donor. Most importantly I am a parent of someone who is served so lovingly by Tierra.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member, donor, and parent of a client, I cannot say enough good things about Tierra del Sol. We are so grateful for the loving, caring, and well trained staff.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to Tierra del Sol, my son who has autism had the opportunity to attend college, volunteer in the community and make new friends. It has truly made a positive difference in his life.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The way Tierra del Sol has handled this uncertain year has been incredible to watch! They adapted to the new normal and those they serve are still being able to grow and learn new skills every day. I'm excited to see what else Tierra and all the incredible artists, students, and associates will be able to accomplish in the future.

Previous Stories
6

Donor

Rating: 5

Proud to support such an incredible organization! I love getting to see the clients working and volunteering throughout the community.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I am always impressed by how Tierra continues to put the people it serves first - even in the midst of the uncertainty of the pandemic!

Previous Stories
5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tierra del Sol's work in promoting the talents and abilities, of adults with disabilities, has made a big impact on me and my family. When I first heard about Tierra, I didn't know much about disabilities or the challenges that people with disabilities face. I learned a lot through the organization, and - more important than that - I got to know some of the people in their programs.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen Tierra clients volunteering at several non-profits in the community and they always do an incredible job. It's apparent that giving them the opportunity to be included and give back is positive for both them and the Thrift Shop and Animal Shelter where I've seen them work. Tierra has done an excellent job partnering with these organizations and I hope more non-profits will take advantage of the clients great work ethic and willingness to help.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so grateful for Tierra's impact on our family! It's been a great experience getting to know the people who work there, the people they serve, and the reason they do what they do. It's a great organization.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have never seen an organization with such a dedicated staff that really makes a difference to the people whom they serve..

MB

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a parent, I am so grateful to Tierra del Sol. My son is engaged in meaningful work and various volunteer positions within the program. He feels as though he is providing a contribution to society when he delivers Meals on Wheels to shut ins or brings small pets to a local nursing home. Tierra is a wonderful, caring organization and my biggest wish is that they continue to grow and have the financial ability to accept more clients into their program so that everyone who wants to be a part of Tierra can do so.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I love how this organization empowers adults with disabilities to make a difference in their community. The staff are top-notch!
Plus the tile workshops that they have are a lot of fun!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Tierra has an amazing presence in the community. In the past, I brought my kids to community events that were held at Tierra's campus (such as their Fall Festival and Farmer's Market). It was a great opportunity to help my kids gain a vision for inclusion, where everyone is welcome. But the impact didn't stop at the edges of Tierra's campus.

Recently, I've seen their impact closer to home as I've interacted with the people they serve throughout my community. They work and volunteer at the hospital, take classes at my local college, and exhibit art seemingly everywhere (my favorite was seeing their work at City Hall's Bridge Gallery). It's exciting to me that my kids (and I!) don't have to go to one place to see this kind of inclusion - with Tierra's support they will grow up in a world where people with disabilities are not only welcomed, but valued as individuals who make unique contributions.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Amazing organization that desperately needs more support. Tierra puts its energy into hiring and training the most qualified and highly educated personnel, hard to do at the rate the state will pay. Clients chart their own paths, leading to unparalleled outcomes in educational success and job placement. My son has been a client and I support Tierra! They have helped move persons with disabilities out of lazy "day programs" and into the community where they want to be. Check out the arts program too, incredible stuff happens when people are free to follow their dreams!

Review from Guidestar

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our son has been a client since 2001 and he has loved every day. From the first day, Tierra has strived to provide a program that encourages our son to grow and enjoy his life. That enjoyment is exemplified by his contributions to the community through his various volunteers jobs. The staff at Tierra are wonderful, loving, kind and respectful of our son's needs.

Tierra is often referred to as a "Little Piece of Heaven" and that is so very true for the Sunland campus as well as the other Tierra sites. Clients with a vast array of disabilities and functioning levels can find a day program that will make every day a fun adventure.

I have served on the Tierra del Sol Foundation Board of Directors since 2002 to support the organization that gives so much to our family and to ensure that Tierra will continue to "change challenges into opportunities".