Nonprofit Spotlight: Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)

Rally Hosted by SAJE | Photo Courtesy of SAJE Flickr

Rally Hosted by SAJE | Photo Courtesy of SAJE Flickr

Intersection’s Nonprofit Spotlight series profiles South L.A. organizations that are propelling positive change in South L.A.


 SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy) is a local community-based organization that focuses on changing public and corporate policy to provide concrete economic benefits to working-class people, increase economic rights of working-class people, and builds leadership through a movement for economic justice. Teresa Eilers, Equitable Development Associate, answered our survey about SAJE’s work. She commented on SAJE’s values, and the work that SAJE has done regarding equitable development, housing rights, and job development in South Los Angeles.

What is SAJE’s purpose? SAJE’s motto is “shift power, change lives,” which lays the foundation for its work. SAJE set out on a mission to change public and corporate policy in a way that creates economic democracy and sustainability for working class citizens of South L.A.

When was SAJE founded? 1996.

Which areas does SAJE serve? The South Los Angeles-Figueroa Corridor.

What services does SAJE provide? Political and economic advocacy for South LA residents, , leadership development, tenants’ rights clinics, and resources that provide access to good jobs.

What are SAJE’s recent accomplishments? Within the past two years, SAJE has created agreements with the developers of two new developments in South Los Angeles (GHP’s Lorenzo and USC’s University Village) to legally guarantee community benefits for local residents. These benefits include affordable housing units, local and disadvantage hire agreements, and local small business support. SAJE also successfully championed a campaign against the slum lord William Little, which resulted in real positive changes for tenants.

Video Courtesy of Democratic Spaces South LA: A MetaConnect & USC Annenberg Project.

What does SAJE see as…

…top safety issues in South L.A.? SAJE believes that one of the most pressing concerns for local South LA residents around USC is the fear of displacement from their community as rent prices increase and the demographics of the local area attract more affluent residents. Another safety concern relates to the lack of resources that provide a healthy community within South Los Angeles, ie. access to fresh fruits and vegetables, lack of green space, air pollution, and prevalent slum housing conditions. Also, a long-term safety concern relates to chronic disinvestment South LA residents have experienced, which leads to limited economic opportunities.

2013 People's Planning School | Photo Courtesy of SAJE

2013 People’s Planning School | Photo Courtesy of SAJE

…top education issues in South L.A.?   SAJE believes that South Los Angeles residents are entitled to educations that allow them to be informed citizens and participate in local politics to represent their self-interests. Too frequently, South LA residents do not play decision-making roles within their community, which threatens our democratic foundation. This education spans from knowing your rights as a tenant and how to file a complaint with the Housing Department to confronting a developer in South LA to encourage equitable development.

…top housing issues in South L.A.? In South Los Angeles, frequently renters experience slum conditions, displacement and harassment from landlords. Slum housing conditions include cockroach, bedbug, and rat infestations, mold, faulty plumbing, dis-repaired property, electrical problems… Many of these conditions can and do cause life-threatening diseases such as lung, neurological, and skin conditions.

…top business issues in South L.A.? We need to ensure that the businesses that stay and come into South Los Angeles are community serving. This means that these businesses provide goods and services that long-term community members can afford at reasonable prices. 

Q & A with the Urban Planning Department | Photo Courtesy of SAJE Flickr

Q & A with the Urban Planning Department | SAJE Flickr

In which areas could SAJE use volunteers?  Fundraising, online communications, web design and community organizing.

Affiliated Programs: Figueroa Corridor community jobs programUnited Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD)Right to the City (RTTC).

Contact Info: Michelle Kennedy, Associate Director, (213) 745-9961 ext. 204,  [email protected].


Social media: Facebook, Flickr and Youtube.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Address: 152 W. 32nd Street, Los Angeles 90007 (213) 745-9961.

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