The South Robertson Robertson Community Foundation, Inc.—originally known as the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council, Inc. or SoRo, Inc. for short—has been working to better our community for over two decades.
In December 1996, Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Feuer (5th District) and Councilmember Nate Holden (10th District) suggested that stakeholders from both sides of Robertson Blvd. come together to work on issues of common interest. The group called itself the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council—pluralizing “Neighborhoods” to acknowledge the multiple distinct communities in the area.
It was a groundbreaking idea. Spanning part of two City Council districts, the nascent SoRo NC quickly formed a governing board under the leadership of Susan Bursk. Their primary goal: breathing life back in to the Robertson business district.
They quickly won a $500,000 grant through the LA Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) for improvements to the boulevard, and started a community festival that continues to draw thousands to SORO every year.
The rise of the Neighborhood Council system
Los Angeles voters approved sweeping changes to the City’s charter in 1999. Among other items, the new charter created a system of local neighborhood councils, in large part modeled on SoRo NC and Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas’s Empowerment Congresses. Today, there are close to 100 NCs covering almost every area of the City.
When it became clear early on that the new NCs couldn’t be part of the City government and hold not-for-profit status, SoRo NC decided to split into two groups: one, a chartered NC that would be part of the new system (SORO NC), and the other, a non-profit community organization (SoRo Inc., now the SORO Community Foundation, Inc.). SORO NC was certified on 13 August 2002, six years after those first organizing meetings.
Although they are now separate organizations, the NC and the CF continue to work together to improve the South Robertson community.
With ongoing community support and funding from a wide variety of sources, SORO CF has redoubled its long-standing goal of achieving the attractive neighborhood village environment originally envisioned by its volunteer members.
Through its programs, SORO CF continues to address issues, target problems, and invest in creative solutions through the neighborhood businesses, property owners, residents, and schools in the surrounding SORO area.