OUR PURPOSE

We exist to provide a trauma-informed, holistic support system for former foster youth who exit the foster care system and do not have an ongoing support system to achieve self-sufficiency, economic security, and personal health and wellness.

OUR MISSION 

Our mission is to ensure the healthy transition of young people exiting or emancipated from the foster care system into society. We ensure that they are equipped to lead a productive and secure life in adulthood. Our team works to achieve this goal by creating greater awareness of the challenges experienced by this population.

OUR HISTORY

Nehemiah Project LA, Inc. (NPLA) was originally founded by Bishop Ed Smith who has an immense heart to serve youth, especially those transitioning out of the foster care system. NPLA initially started in 2017 as a ministry outreach program under Zoe Christian Fellowship in Whittier, CA, where Bishop Smith was the Founding and Lead Pastor. Leveraging his deep community connections and 40+ years of leadership, building businesses, and collaborating with community partners, he turned a vision into reality very quickly. Bishop Smith has now transitioned out of his role at the church and is leading NPLA full-time as the organization's CEO. 

In 2021, the organization was officially structured as a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is on track for rapid growth and scaling as a startup nonprofit. In January 2022, we opened our first permanent supportive house for former foster youth females, ages 20-26. We have collaborated with partners such as the Zoe Center, Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, the City of Whittier, For Others Foundation, Whittier Area Community Church (WACC), Care Portal, Change Reaction, St. Joseph Center, the Orange County Community Foundation's African American Alliance Fund, LISCLA, and United Way LA, just to name a few. 

OUR PRIORITIES

TAY Resource Referral Service

Provide services to connect former foster youth with needed resources such as food, housing, transportation, and other support services.

Dream Chasers Housing

A safe and supportive 2-year permanent housing program for housing-insecure TAYs, with supportive services for self-sufficiency and economic mobility.

Collaborative Network

A collaborative-based network to provide support to other growing nonprofits serving TAYs.

OUR PRIORITIES

TAY Resource Referral Service

Dream Chasers Housing

Collaborative Network

Provide services to connect former foster youth with needed resources such as food, housing, transportation, and other support services.

A safe and supportive 2-year permanent housing program for housing-insecure TAYs, with supportive services for self-sufficiency and economic mobility.

A collaborative-based network to provide support to other growing nonprofits serving TAYs.

OUR PLAN

Provide housing and economic security for 1,000 former foster youth through our housing program and referral partnerships. 

OUR STAFF

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Bishop Ed Smith

Founder and CEO

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Shari Scott

Business Operational Manager

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Kathi Davis

Program Manager

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Lisa Higgins-King

Resident Case Manager

OUR STAFF

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Bishop Ed Smith

Founder and CEO

Image

Shari Scott

Business Manager

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Kathi Davis

Program Manager

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Lisa Higgins-King

Resident Case Manager

OUR BOARD

Bishop Ed Smith

Edward A. Smith was born in Los Angeles. He is the Founder and CEO of Nehemiah Project LA. He was the founding Pastor and CEO of Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier, Chancellor of the Joseph Business School for the Los Angeles Region, Founder of Awyken, and Bishop of Zoe Association of Churches and Businesses. Bishop Ed is excited as he embarks on this new chapter of his life and brings his many years of business and fundraising to support former foster youth in Los Angeles County and around the nation.

Deborah Mayes

Deborah Mayes currently functions as Finance Director at a growing human service organization in the Southern California area. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from USC and a Masters in Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management.

Kathy Saigeon

President and Executive Director Christian Foundation of America, a Christian Community foundation serving the United States. Katherine has 30+ years executive experience in philanthropy, including, the Fuller Foundation, The California Endowment, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Previously a CPA with Price Waterhouse, Kathy is currently a member of the AICPA and CalCPA. Ms. Saigeon is a member of Kingdom Advisors, and serves on Boards of several charity and ministry organizations.

Keith Nelson

Kieth Nelson’s mission is to use technology to serve others and bring greater effectiveness to businesses. His technical leadership has included working with companies such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Keith holds a PhD in Computer Science. He is an active member of the CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum and serves on the board of CompTia.

Jessica Chandler

Jessica Chandler spent most of her adolescence bouncing between group homes and Juvenile Hall until she emancipated at age 18. Since then Jessica received her bachelor's degree in psychology, and Masters of Social Work from Cal State University Northridge. She is a national advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She is currently serving as a Social Work Investigator, in the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, has sat on the Board of Education Coordinating Council (ECC), and previously served on the State Youth Council (SYC) as the Los Angeles County Ambassador for child welfare.

Josie Martin

Josie Martin is the Founder/CEO of DREAM Girls, Inc., an organization for teenage girls which provides training on social graces, life-skills, character-building and sexual awareness. Previously a manager in telecommunications, an administrator, Human Resources Generalist, and the co-owner of “A Love Story Bridal Showcase”, Josie has had an exciting career. A world traveler, Josie favorite place to visit South Africa whereshe has not only traveled but also conducts workshops and conferences for women and young girls. An active member of her church, she lends her services wherever she is needed. Josie met the love of her life, Ron Martin, at the church they attended, and they have been blessed with a loving daughter-niece, son-in-law, and 3 adopted South African sons. In her free time, she loves going to live theater, watching movies, and socializing with family and friends.

OUR BOARD

Bishop Ed Smith

Edward A. Smith was born in Los Angeles. He is the Founder and CEO of Nehemiah Project LA. He was the founding Pastor and CEO of Zoe Christian Fellowship of Whittier, Chancellor of the Joseph Business School for the Los Angeles Region, Founder of Awyken, and Bishop of Zoe Association of Churches and Businesses. Bishop Ed is excited as he embarks on this new chapter of his life and brings his many years of business and fundraising to support former foster youth in Los Angeles County and around the nation.

Deborah Mayes

Deborah Mayes currently functions as Finance Director at a growing human service organization in the Southern California area. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from USC and a Masters in Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management.

Kathy Saigeon

President and Executive Director Christian Foundation of America, a Christian Community foundation serving the United States. Katherine has 30+ years executive experience in philanthropy, including, the Fuller Foundation, The California Endowment, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Previously a CPA with Price Waterhouse, Kathy is currently a member of the AICPA and CalCPA. Ms. Saigeon is a member of Kingdom Advisors, and serves on Boards of several charity and ministry organizations.

Keith Nelson

Kieth Nelson’s mission is to use technology to serve others and bring greater effectiveness to businesses. His technical leadership has included working with companies such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Keith holds a PhD in Computer Science. He is an active member of the CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum and serves on the board of CompTia.

Jessica Chandler

Jessica Chandler spent most of her adolescence bouncing between group homes and Juvenile Hall until she emancipated at age 18. Since then Jessica received her bachelor's degree in psychology, and Masters of Social Work from Cal State University Northridge. She is a national advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She is currently serving as a Social Work Investigator, in the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, has sat on the Board of Education Coordinating Council (ECC), and previously served on the State Youth Council (SYC) as the Los Angeles County Ambassador for child welfare.

Josie Marin

Josie Martin is the Founder/CEO of DREAM Girls, Inc., an organization for teenage girls which provides training on social graces, life-skills, character-building and sexual awareness. Previously a manager in telecommunications, an administrator, Human Resources Generalist, and the co-owner of “A Love Story Bridal Showcase”, Josie has had an exciting career. A world traveler, Josie favorite place to visit South Africa where she has not only traveled but also conducts workshops and conferences for women and young girls. An active member of her church, she lends her services wherever she is needed. Josie met the love of her life, Ron Martin, at the church they attended, and they have been blessed with a loving daughter-niece, son-in-law, and 3 adopted South African sons. In her free time, she loves going to live theater, watching movies, and socializing

with family and friends..

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10252 MILLS AVENUE
WHITTIER, C A 90604

UNITED STATES

(562) 758-9808

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