Amid the waves of chaos sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment continues unabated as businesses respond to the compromised economy by tightening their belts and in many cases, layoffs. Although all businesses face the ultimate financial stress test, many nonprofits have minimal reserves and are ill-prepared to endure the long-term financial challenges posed by the pandemic. At the same time, communities of color face mounting challenges as COVID-19 exacerbates long-standing, endemic inequalities fueled by the legacy of racism and police violence.
Despite these challenges, local organizations are proactively reimagining their business model to more effectively address COVID-19, particularly within communities of color. To amplify its impact, United Latinx Fund (ULF) partnered with the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles (LCLA) to help identify, engage and invest in Generation Z and Millennial social impact consultants with diverse skills, content expertise and networks. Using an applied learning approach, these young consultants advise on multi-generational, multicultural, and multi-organizational rapid responses and advocacy campaigns to address the varied and emerging crises facing vulnerable communities of color throughout greater Los Angeles.
At the same time, L.A. Taco has developed a unique online publication and business model that moves beyond tacos and food reviews to report on local stories that the mainstream media often neglect while elevating social issues facing Los Angeles' Latinx community. Similar to ULF and LCLA, L.A. Taco also works to cultivate the next generation of freelance writers by providing opportunities to develop and publish original content and report on local news with a raw street vibe.
Featuring Memo Torres of L.A. Taco
Memo Torres, a Westside taco-eater extraordinaire, is the Director of Partnerships for the L.A. Taco’s membership program. Launched in 2006, L.A. Taco is an online publication that began as a blog that featured local stories on tacos and street art and has since grown to cover all LA-centric topics that are often overlooked by major news outlets. Memo’s LA Taco publications and membership program have not only galvanized attention to and business for local taqueros but have had lasting impacts on press corps practices and local content coverage.
Memo’s career was influenced early on by his family’s entrepreneurial spirit and business ventures. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Memo returned home to Los Angeles where he launched and sold a series of businesses including a commercial landscaping company. His approach to entrepreneurialism prioritizes quality over quantity as he advises businesses owners to carefully consider the character of clients, partners and employees prior to investing significant time and resources in order to ensure a healthy work/life balance.