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Community Builders, Business Leaders and Changemakers Lead 2022-23 Impact Scholars

Meet this year’s exceptional Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab Senior Fellows.

12.12.22

At LA Dodgers Foundation, CEO Nichol Whiteman dreams big. When considering how to support youth sports in surrounding communities, the foundation does not just provide equipment and apparel, but also wraparound services—healthcare, literacy services and basic necessities. “Serving the entire LA Community is a lofty mission,” Whiteman told Sports Illustrated, “but we want to be responsible for something this big.”

Nichol Whiteman is one of six Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab (BSEL) Senior Fellows this year. As a member of the program, she will be paired with two students from our group of 12 Undergraduate Social Impact Scholars to support them in aiming high, dreaming big and having an astronomical impact on those who need it most.

Said Marelle Berry, senior student engagement programs advisor for BSEL: “The BSEL Social Impact Scholars program provides students with the mentorship and skill-building to pursue a career in social impact. We are very excited about the 12 passionate scholars and 6 highly successful mentors we’ve chosen this year and know they will contribute to the already invaluable experience the program provides.”

BSEL Undergraduate Social Impact Scholars is a nine-month, highly selective mentorship and skills-building program open to rising juniors and seniors committed to careers in the social impact space. This year’s scholars span majors from public policy to neuroscience, and come from a multitude of programs at USC.

Meet BSEL’s 2022-23 Senior Fellows:

Serita Cox, CEO/Co-Founder of iFoster

Serita Cox is the CEO and Co-Founder of iFoster. As the driving force behind iFoster, Serita brings to bear her personal experience with foster care, devoted commitment to a number of youth development initiatives, and over a decade of experience in executive-level management in Silicon Valley, corporate strategy consulting and non-profit strategy consulting. Despite all this corporateness, she is also the person “most likely to be hugged” by a client. For her work with iFoster, Serita has been recognized as a White House Office of Social Innovation Citizen Innovator, an Echoing Green Fellow, and an American Leader of Change.

Zoila Escobar, President, AltaMed Foundation

Zoila D. Escobar is President of the AltaMed Foundation and Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer of AltaMed Health Services, she is dedicated to leveling disparities in health care by combining her own personal insight into the Latino experience with comprehensive care. For more than 40 years, she’s played an instrumental role in community health leadership, spearheading everything from grassroots initiatives to leading major policy changes at national institutions. At AltaMed, Ms. Escobar oversees development, corporate communications, branding, strategy planning and execution, facilities development and maintenance, culture and linguistics equity, human resources, government relations and civic engagement. In this multifaceted, 360° role, she shapes nearly every dimension of the AltaMed experience, ranging from where people get care, to innovative programs and services for patients, to ensuring that everyone whom AltaMed serves receives patient-centered care in a way that honors their cultural preferences. Ms. Escobar actively participates on multiple boards: University of La Verne board of trustees, the California Health Care Foundation board, the American Nurses Foundation, and L.A. Chamber Board of Governors.

Ameca Reali, Membership Director, Law for Black Lives

Ameca Reali is a dedicated and entrepreneurial advocate for freedom and justice who is deeply inspired by the philosophies of women like Ella Baker and bell hooks. Ameca has been working with people in Louisiana to create sustainable, thriving communities that are safe for everyone for over 10 years. For three years she served as the New Orleans Programs Officer and then Director of Economic Justice Programs at the Foundation for Louisiana. There she oversaw the creation of a funding strategy for statewide grant-making and programs with a focus on criminal justice reform, housing, public health, arts and culture. In 2011, Ameca was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship for her work as the Ameca co-founder and Executive Director of Justice and Accountability Center . Currently, Ameca serves as the Membership Director at Law for Black Lives, a Black femme-led national network of over 6,000 radical lawyers and legal workers committed to transforming the law and building the power of organizing to defend, protect and advance Black Liberation across the globe.

Danielle Rose, Chief Executive Officer, SMASH

Danielle Rose is the Chief Executive Officer at SMASH, a national STEM justice education nonprofit headquartered in Oakland, CA. As an experienced operations and education leader, Danielle joined SMASH (formerly Level Playing Field Institute) in 2015 with the aim of leveraging her skills within an organization positioned to sustainably improve the educational experience of our nation’s underserved youth of color. Prior to joining SMASH, Danielle built and managed the operations for Redbird Advanced Learning, an EdTech startup recently acquired by McGraw-Hill. Her transition into education was preceded by eight years in the energy sector, where Danielle held a diverse set of engineering and business roles for BP America, Inc. in Houston and Chicago.

Ben Stapleton, Executive Director, U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles

Ben Stapleton is a recognized sustainability leader who brings a creative mind and consultative approach to a wide range of projects with a focus on building teams and designing programs to deliver impactful results. His current work is based on coordinating an ecosystem leveraging the built environment as the entry point and connective fabric to help create a more sustainable society for all as Executive Director for the U.S. Green Building Council - Los Angeles. Previously, he launched and then managed the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA while leading operations, finance, and major program initiatives for the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI). He is a recipient of JLL's distinctive Da Vinci Award for Innovation, the Los Angeles Business Council's Community Impact Award, Stratiscope's Impact Maker to Watch Award, and CoStar’s Power Broker designation in the Los Angeles market. Ben is a LEED AP O+M, ENV SP, and WELL AP certified green building nerd driven by a connection to nature while being inspired by the people around him.

Nichol Whiteman, Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation

Nichol Whiteman serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the award-winning Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF). Under Nichol’s leadership, LADF tackles the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice. During Nichol’s tenure, LADF rebranded its signature initiative and is now the Dodgers Dreamteam, a program that grew from 2,700 participants in 2014 to 12,000 today. The Spelman alumna cultivates partnerships resulting in more than $32 million in community investment in programs and grants, impacting over 2.3 million children. A product of Nichol’s vision, the Dodgers is the proud owner of an ESPY--having been named the 2020 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. She led LADF in receiving the 2020 Beyond Sport Award for Reducing Racial Inequalities and has been featured in outlets including Forbes Magazine, NBC’s CA Live, and the LA Times to name a few. Appointed to the State of California’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Nichol extends her impact statewide as she fights for the opportunities that all communities deserve.