Communication Studies: Why Megan Chernin’s Out to Remake LAUSD’s Image

The Los Angeles Fund’s CEO wants to teach us the value of our public schools


Illustration by Nigel Buchanan

Chernin is CEO of the Los Angeles Fund, a nonprofit organization that seeks to undo the “black hole” reputation of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “L.A. certainly has the need for funds, but by talking to people it became apparent how to invest in things we could help.” It starts with the most important meal of the day, with a free breakfast program for LAUSD students. “If kids are hungry, they won’t focus. Eighty percent of kids [in public school] live in poverty, which is absurd in Los Angeles. We decided to go back to basics and give them a running chance.” She propels public awareness (and donations) one conversation at a time. “I just keep the drumbeats going. When you tell people the situation, their mouths drop and they want to help. My excitement would be to draw people back to L.A. schools. This city could become so energized if we improve the public education system. The greatest resource we have is education. If we don’t make it a quality education, we will erode the number one asset of this country—and this city—which is creative kids.”

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