Solution Overview

What is the name of your organization?

Friends of Girls Academic Leadership Academy (FoGALA)

What is the name of your solution?

GALA’s All-Girls Public School CS Pathway

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

A 6th-12th grade all-girls computer science curriculum that dispels gender stereotypes and puts girls on a pathway to a computer science career.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Our computer science pathway is designed to address the gender and racial inequities that exist in the computer science field. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 21% of computer science bachelor’s degrees were earned by women in 2020-2021. Black and Latinx women earned only 2.4% and 2.3% of those degrees, respectively. Computer science is one of the fastest growing and highest paid fields in the United States. If women and women of color continue to be left out of the field, they will lose opportunities to achieve economic stability and build generational wealth.

Gender disparities in computer science grow quickly in middle school. Elementary school girls and boys show an equal interest in computer science, but by the time these students reach middle and high school, girls’ interest in the field wanes. In elementary school, 49% of girls participate in computer science activities, but participation decreases to 44% in middle school and 32% in high school. In California, only 31% of AP CS exam-takers in 2020-2021 were women. This statistic is roughly the same across the nation.

 Studies show numerous causes for these gender-based participation gaps, which eventually lead to the low numbers of women in computer science fields. Bias and socialized gender norms lead to girls losing interest and confidence. Parents, teachers, and school administrators are more likely to encourage boys to pursue computer science than girls, and gender stereotypes of the computer programmer, which do not include girls or underrepresented minorities, alienate girls who cannot find role models. Girls are discouraged by the stereotype that programmers work only in traditional narrow fields such as gaming, where women are often portrayed in an overly sexualized or fetishized way, or in workplaces dominated by men. Hearing stereotypes that girls are not interested in computer science is another factor leading girls to lose interest. Whether girls are actively discouraged from pursuing computer science, or simply do not see a place for them in the field, these girls do not end up participating in computer science at the same rate as boys. If these young women persevere in the field until college, their skills tend to lag behind those of men, who will have more computer science experience than them.

 Bias and socialized gender norms negatively impact girls of color as well. For example,’s 2022 State of Computer Science Education reports that Latinx high schoolers are 1.5 times less likely than their white and Asian peers to enroll in a foundational computer science course even when their high school offers it.  The report also attributes lack of access to computer science programming and opportunities as a significant factor for the disproportionate low number of underrepresented girls of color in computer science. Urban schools and schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students also lack access. Given these statistics, our nation’s public schools are not preparing a large percentage of kids to participate in one of the most lucrative and abundant career fields of the future.

What is your solution?

The Girls Academic Leadership Academy's (GALA) solution provides California’s only all-girls computer science pathway within a 6th-12th grade public school curriculum. GALA’s still-growing computer science pathway is designed to both normalize computer science education for girls, and to prepare them for pursuing computer science in college. The pathway begins when incoming 6th graders take the required computer science class. It continues in 7th and 8th grade through optional electives. Electives like Game Design and Robotics focus on team-based and cooperative creative problem solving that are more likely to appeal to girls than classes that are only learning pure programming. These electives are offered to all middle schoolers regardless of prior experience in computer science so that all girls have access.

The computer science pathway continues in high school with two required classes: 9th grade Exploring Computer Principles, and 10th grade AP Computer Science Principles, which means that 100% of GALA’s high school graduates have taken at least two computer science classes. Optional computer science offerings are the AP Computer Science A (Java) class and the high school Robotics elective. 

GALA’s computer science pathway is in a unique position to teach girls in an environment where gender bias is not a possibility, and to dismantle gender stereotypes. All students in GALA’s computer science classes identify as female or non-binary. There is no opportunity for teachers to favor boys over girls, and girls do not perceive or experience distinctions between boys’ and girls’ aptitude or interest in computer science. At GALA, where middle school and high school students share the same campus, the older students serve as de facto role models and mentors for younger students, while simultaneously dismantling the stereotype that girls are not interested in computer science. Outside of the classroom, GALA is working to create a coding culture. GALA supports three award-winning all-girls Robotics teams, and the lead computer science teacher advises the lunchtime Coding Club. 

GALA‘s computer science pathway is still growing. GALA’s goal is: to create a computer science curriculum that establishes clear learning targets, standards, and sequential computer skills for each grade; and to add advanced courses; competition teams; and a computer programming “incubator” where coders and engineers work together to solve real-world problems.  

Our solution also seeks partnerships with the tech industry and other organizations to help create extracurricular opportunities such as on-campus workshops, hackathons, mentorships, internships, summer opportunities, and pathways into college and computer science careers. GALA also intends to share its pathway by hosting an annual computer science fair for elementary school girls, and by teaching other Young Women Leadership Network (YWLN) schools how to create an all-girls computer science pathway at their respective all-girls schools.

Our pathway normalizes computer science education for girls, and provides girls and girls of color with access. By providing high-quality curricular programming and extracurricular opportunities that instill confidence in its students, GALA seeks to increase the number of female and non-binary college students who will pursue a computer science career.

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our computer science pathway is currently serving the over 700 6th-12th grade girls that are enrolled at GALA, California’s only all-girls STEM-focused public school. Because of our location in Los Angeles, our solution serves a diverse population of girls. Over half of our students come from low-income families, and over 65% of our students identify as a person of color, with approximately 21% identifying as Black, approximately 25% identifying as Latinx, and approximately 12% identifying as two or more ethnicities. GALA intends its computer science pathway to address not only gender disparities in computer science, but also racial and income disparities.

GALA’s student body is comprised of young women from over 81 zip codes and 120 schools in the Los Angeles area who are curious about STEM, and committed to graduate high school and enroll in college. The students at GALA chose to pursue their STEM goals in an all-girls environment knowing that GALA would help them to find their place and their voice in STEM classes that are traditionally dominated by boys. Given the diverse background of the girls attending GALA, most incoming students in 6th and 9th grades did not have much exposure to computer science or coding in elementary school or middle school. For many of these students, GALA’s required 6th grade computer science elective and the required 9th grade Computer Science class are their first experience with coding.  

Although GALA’s required computer science courses provide a nurturing all-girls computer science education that no other public school in Los Angeles provides, GALA has understood that these courses neither fully prepared our girls to study computer science in college, nor provided the creative outlet that so many of our girls need. Based on feedback received from parents and students, the student-principal advisory committee, alumni feedback, and counselor reports on students’ interests, GALA faculty learned that many students and families wanted (1) a computer science pathway that offered 7 consecutive years of coursework, and (2) a computer science curriculum that integrated creative arts and problem-solving for issues that our students cared about. From this feedback, GALA faculty has added computer science electives in 7th and 8th grade, as well as an optional 11th grade AP CS A class. Additional classes that integrate the arts and creativity with programming include Game Design, Engineering/Architecture, and Music Technology. GALA faculty is also working to incorporate more opportunities for students to initiate individual programming projects that reflect their interests, all with the hope that more students will become interested in pursuing computer science in college. 

GALA’s solution also has the potential to serve 10,000+ 6th-12th grade girls enrolled in The Young Women Leadership Schools (TYWLS), and the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN), a national network of single-gender public schools committed to challenging educational and gender inequities by providing a rigorous college-prep curriculum in traditionally under-resourced communities. As the only STEM-focused YWLN school, GALA is uniquely positioned to share its computer science pathway model with its sister TYWLS and YWLN schools.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The team is optimally situated to design and deliver the all-girls computer science pathway to GALA students because the entire team works on the GALA campus, serving the all-girls student body. Furthermore, Dr. Liz Hicks, the founder and principal of GALA, is an innovator in all-girls public school education. In her fight to open an all-girls public school in California, she was instrumental in creating and lobbying for AB23, the bill that allowed single-gender schools to exist in California. Her decision to make GALA a STEM-focused school is partly motivated by her own experience in college where she dropped out of her STEM major because of the lack of support given to her as a woman. Dr. Hicks hired computer science teachers who are passionate about equity in STEM. 67% of our computer science department are teachers of color, and 34% of them are female. Our Team Lead, Mr. Landa, has a background advocating for equity in computer science. Before coming to GALA, he helped to write the Exploring Computer Science curriculum (ECS), which was a response to findings that inequities in computer science education fall upon gender, race, and class lines. He accepted a teaching job at GALA in 2017 to be able to continue that equity work, and continues to provide instructional coaching for new computer science teachers. Ms. Artis, one of our computer science teachers of color, states the goal of her class is to make sure that all her students feel comfortable with technology, and can envision themselves as computer scientists. Though not part of the computer science faculty, our college counselors are integral in helping our students discover their career interests and apply to college programs. Our 3-person counseling team is all women, and our lead counselor, Ms. Hervey, an alumna of the Compton Unified School District, has a deep understanding of the barriers that many of our underrepresented students of color face in public schools and college. 

GALA’s all-girls computer science curriculum is informed by research and models at UCLA’s CS Equity Project and Harvey Mudd’s computer science department, which separates men and women during their first year of computer science study. Our computer science teachers have received training from the UCLA project. And when Dr. Hicks began designing the computer science curriculum for GALA, she consulted with Harvey Mudd to understand the needs that female students have when entering computer science majors. At annual conferences sponsored by the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the Student Leadership Network’s Young Women’s Leadership Schools, GALA teachers continue to learn about issues that girls face in computer science. 

GALA solicits feedback from its community about curriculum and student needs and interests. Parents and students take yearly surveys, and GALA’s college counselors meet with parents and students at least once a year. GALA’s principal holds monthly meetings with parents to address concerns and answer questions, and also works with a student-led Principal’s Advisory Committee. The Latinx and Black parent affinity groups also share concerns with the administration.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Support K-12 educators in effectively teaching and engaging girls in STEM in classroom or afterschool settings.

In what city and state is your solution team headquartered?

Los Angeles, CA, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

762 students.

Why are you applying to the Challenge?

Curriculum Development Expertise: GALA’s computer science curriculum has achieved many of its goals, but is inconsistent in certain areas. Expert advice is needed to develop clear learning targets and standards for each grade level, identify sequential skills to be learned in each grade, and find ways to teach computer science skills in other subjects. Advice from experts is also needed to ensure that the curriculum continues to engage girls, and actively combats stereotypes that discourage girls from continuing in computer science. And finally, expertise from professionals is needed to update our curriculum to ensure that students are learning skills that will prepare them for computer science in college and beyond. 

Teaching Coaches and Trainers: Our teachers need assistance implementing the curricular improvements listed above. Our computer science faculty also needs cost-effective and efficient ways to stay up-to-date in the computer science field. Our teachers, like their software engineer counterparts in the private sector, should receive yearly training so they are familiar with the latest innovations in computer science. However, the public school system does not provide our teachers with the financial resources or time to attend conferences or to learn the latest developments in programming. 

Personnel Solutions: Our teachers want to collaborate and innovate, but there is little time and few funds to do so. Also, the demand for extracurricular computer science-related activities on campus is high; however, regulations require, for good reason, that certified individuals supervise these activities. Our supply of these certified individuals is low. Most of our teachers are already committed to supervising other after-school clubs, or have other obligations. We need solutions to this problem, whether it be financial assistance to hire a dedicated supervisor for such activities, expert help in establishing a training program for volunteer parents, or something else.  

Strategic Planning Advice and Access to Community Partners: GALA has had some success in building a network of public and private partners to support STEM programs, like architecture, engineering, robotics, and the biosciences. However, we need assistance accessing computer science programs and coders. We would welcome strategic planning expertise on how to build this network. Among the resources that our computer science pathway needs are female computer science mentors; summer camp opportunities; partnerships with companies who will provide speakers and internships, and activities like workshops, hackathons, and field trips; and relationships with higher education institutions that can offer summer jobs, and possibly, preferential or guaranteed admission to their computer science majors.

Technology Upgrades and Architectural Advice: A state-of-the-art computer science pathway program needs state-of-the-art facilities. In the fall of 2024, GALA will be moving to a different LAUSD campus, one that was last used as a school in 2020. To accommodate GALA’s portfolio of computer science classes, many of the classrooms on the new campus should be remodeled as proper computer labs. We need help from architects and builders familiar with the needs of computer labs to help us plan our new spaces. We will also need financial assistance for construction and for equipment.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Mr. John Landa, GALA Computer Science Teacher. Mr. Landa teaches Exploring Computer Science, AP Computer Science A (Java), Intro to Data Science, and High School Robotics.

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

Our Team Lead is a computer science teacher at GALA. He teaches Exploring Computer Science, AP Computer Science A (Java), Intro to Data Science, and High School Robotics. He is also a coach for one of the Robotics teams.

Mr. Landa has a background advocating for equity in computer science. Before coming to GALA, he worked with the UCLA Computer Science Equity Project to help write the Exploring Computer Science curriculum (ECS), which was a response to findings that inequities in computer science education fall upon gender, race, and class lines. He accepted a teaching job at GALA in 2017 to be able to continue that equity work. Mr. Landa continues to teach the ECS curriculum to new computer science teachers in California.

Please specify how you first heard about Solve.

This Challenge was listed on the GrantStation website.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

GALA’s computer science pathway would be one of only a handful (if not, the only) comprehensive 6th-12th grade computer science curriculum that is created at and for an all-girls public school in the United States. GALA’s pathway approaches the gender disparity problem in a unique way because it integrates computer science into both the required and elective curriculum. Groundbreaking organizations like Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code are doing amazing work, but their impact is limited to the girls that they can reach in their after school or summer programs. GALA’s solution seeks to immerse girls in a culture of coding in their everyday student life so that they feel empowered to create a future in computer science.

Unlike the environment at some coed STEM schools, the all-girls culture at GALA encourages and nurtures girls, and is less likely to maintain the negative stereotypes surrounding girls and computer science. Girls are not “competing” with boys in class, and teachers do not have the opportunity to favor boys over girls. GALA’s plan to create a mentoring program where high school girls interested in computer science advise middle school girls will help to dispel the harmful myth that girls are not interested in the subject. GALA’s all-girls solution also addresses income and race disparities. As a public school located in one of the most diverse cities in the country, GALA delivers its computer science instruction to a student body that is both majority low-income and of color. Because GALA’s computer science coursework is available to all students during the school day, the “access to computing” problem is solved.

GALA would like to be a catalyst for change in the all-girls public school space. There are approximately 90 all-girls public schools in the United States. Twenty of them, including GALA, are part of the Young Womens’ Leadership Network (YWLN). Approximately 10,000 girls attend the YWLN schools. Exporting GALA’s computer science pathway to the other all-girls YWLN schools seems like the natural next step in helping to solve the gender disparity problem in the computer science field. The YWLN-member schools meet at least once a year to present research and projects, and they are constantly exchanging ideas about what works on their campuses. If used as a blueprint, GALA’s computer science pathway model could change how computer science is taught to the 10,000 6th-12th grade girls in the YWLN, and to the tens of thousands of other girls attending all-girls schools throughout the United States. 

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Impact Goals for Next Year

Teachers trained in computer science curriculum design and development, especially in relation to the needs of middle school and high school girls: Teachers will have the knowledge and tools necessary to refine the existing computer science curriculum so that it establishes clear learning targets and standards by grade level. They will also become experts on how to tailor traditional computer science curricula to an all-girls audience and with the goal of encouraging girls to pursue the subject. Our solution provides our teachers with this type of training. 

More student opportunities in computer science: Our female and non-binary students will have opportunities to pursue on-campus extracurricular computer science activities, such as clubs, hackathons, workshops, and mentorships. We will achieve this by providing additional support for GALA’s Coding Club, and inviting existing community partners to engage with students through the Coding Club, mentorships, and on-campus workshops.

Impact Goal for Next 5 Years

Diversify the computer science field by empowering GALA girls to pursue STEM and computer science in high school and ultimately, college. We will achieve this by creating a computer science curriculum that establishes clear sequential computer science skills for 6th-12th grade, and across-school essential computer science skills that will be used across subject areas, which will put entering college freshmen women from GALA at an equal skill level as entering men; tailoring the computer science curriculum to build girls’ confidence and address their unique interests; creating a mentoring program where GALA high schoolers interested in computer science will guide GALA middle schoolers through their computer science classes and activities; and building partnerships with community tech leaders who can provide mentorships and extracurricular learning events, and opportunities for work or internships.  

Increase the number of girls in Los Angeles and in YWLN schools who want to pursue computer science: We will achieve this by holding annual computer science fairs for elementary school girls so that they can see GALA’s middle school and high school computer science students as role models. GALA faculty will also present GALA’s computer science pathway to the other schools in the all-girls YWLN network at YWLN conferences. GALA’s pathway can be used as a blueprint to establish similar computer science pathways in all-girls schools across the country.

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Short-Term Impact Goal Indicators 

Progress Toward Development of a Comprehensive School-Wide Computer Science Curriculum: We will be following our teachers’ progress in developing clear learning targets and standards by grade level, clear sequential skills that should be learned from 6th-12th grade, and school-wide computer science skills to be used across subject areas. We can measure their progress by tracking their participation in professional development training, and by reviewing drafts of proposed school-wide computer science learning targets and standards.

Number of Opportunities for GALA Students to Engage in Extracurricular Computer Science Activities: We will measure progress by tracking the change in the number of computer science-related events on campus, the number of students who participate in these events, and in the number of students who participate in computer science-related opportunities offered by or shared by GALA counselors and GALA’s community partners.

Long-Term Impact Goal Indicators 

Level of GALA Student Interest and Confidence in Computer Science During Middle and High School: We plan to measure the impact of our solution by: surveying GALA students twice a year to assess their level of confidence and interest in computer science; and tracking the increase in students applying for and participating in GALA’s optional computer science courses and extracurricular activities. 

Number of GALA Students Intending to Pursue Computer Science in College: We will track the increase in percentage of GALA high school graduates intending to major in STEM, and especially computer science-related fields.

Number of GALA Students Graduating With A Computer Science Degree, Taking a Computer Science Job, and/or Continuing in Graduate Studies in Computer Science: We will track the increase in the number of GALA alumni graduating in a computer science major, and taking a computer science job. Surveys would include feedback on factors leading students to leave the computer science field, if applicable.

Change in Elementary School Girls’ Perception of Computer Science Field: GALA can measure its impact on the girls who visit its computer science fair by surveying them at the end of the event. The survey can include questions about whether their perceptions about girls in computer science changed as a result of the event, and whether they intend to participate in any other computer science events as a result of the GALA fair. 

Number of Computer Science Courses Offered at Other All-Girls YWLN Schools: GALA’s success in exporting its computer science pathway to the YWLN schools can be measured by surveys that ask YWLN conference participants if GALA’s presentation about its computer science pathway has affected their plans to offer computer science at their schools, and ultimately, by tracking the changes that YWLN schools make in their computer science course offerings.

Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

Our solution’s activities and outputs lead to an increase in the number of women and non-binary people studying computer science, and ultimately entering the computer science workforce.

  1. Our pathway includes required and elective computer science classes in 6th-12th grade. Every GALA graduate will leave GALA with 2.33 - 7 years of computer science learning.

  2. Our solution includes training and professional development for our computer science teachers. Teachers will become experts in computer science curriculum design and pedagogy, especially as it relates to girls, and develop a more comprehensive and updated curriculum. 

  3. GALA will create and support an infrastructure for on-campus extracurriculars. Students will learn about computer science careers, and meet role models and mentors. Students gain computer science skills that will help them in college.

  4. GALA will develop partnerships with tech organizations and companies that can provide opportunities for students to learn computer science. These partnerships will help create computer science career pipelines. 

  5. GALA will hold computer science fairs for elementary school girls, and share its pathway model with YWLN schools. As a result, elementary school girls will see GALA’s students as role models, and other all-girls public schools across the country will develop their own computer science pathways. 

Impact: These outputs will increase the number of girls studying computer science in middle and high school, and ultimately increase the number of women majoring in computer science. Reports like the 2022 State of Computer Science Education and AAUW’s “Solving the Equation” found the following factors to positively impact gender equity: universal and early access to computer science education that starts before high school; definition of rigorous computer science learning targets; teachers who are trained to impart the most up-to-date programming skills; extracurricular opportunities in computer science; creation of a girl-centered learning environment; and programming that emphasizes the social relevance of the field. These factors lead to a positive change in girls’ attitudes toward computer science, and overall, a higher level of interest and activity in computer science work.

GALA’s solution is targeted to the gender equity problem because all of GALA’s students identify as female or non-binary. Learning takes place in an all-girls environment where gender stereotypes are challenged everyday. GALA’s computer science faculty is dedicated to achieving equity in computer science, and our teachers have inspired students to pursue computer science. Monica, a Latinx Class of 2023 graduate, will be majoring in Computer Engineering at USC. She came to GALA in 10th grade to study computer science because her former school did not have computer science resources. She attributes Mr. Landa with giving her the confidence to pursue computer science. Another Class of 2023 graduate who will major in computer science, Anjola, fell in love with computer science when someone invited her to join the Coding Club. Anjola attributed GALA’s all-girls environment to encouraging her to pursue computer science: “The best thing about going to an all-girls school is having a sisterhood where I can thrive and being in an environment that allows women to go into STEM pathways.”

In which US states does your solution currently operate?


In which US states will your solution be operating within the next year?


Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Other, including part of a larger organization (please explain below)

If you selected Other, please explain here.

Our solution team is part of the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), which is a public school within the Los Angeles Unified School District. GALA is supported by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Friends of GALA (FoGALA), which is comprised of volunteer parents whose children attend GALA. The FoGALA Board is writing this application with GALA, and can be considered to be similar to a fiscal sponsor of GALA. Any awards given to GALA would be deposited first to FoGALA, who would then transfer the award to GALA.

How many people work on your solution team?

There are a total of ten (10) members of our solution team: Six (6) full-time teachers and administrators, three (3) full-time guidance counselors, and one (1) part-time independent contractor who cultivates and coordinates community partnerships.

How long have you been working on your solution?

About 11 years. GALA’s founder and principal, Dr. Hicks, has been designing the computer science curriculum since 2012. The computer science pathway solution was first put into practice in 2016, the year that GALA opened, and it continues to grow to this day.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

As an all-girls school with approximately 65% of students identifying as a student of color, GALA administration prioritized the recruitment of diverse faculty so that students might have role models within the classroom. Currently, 67% of our computer science department are teachers of color, and 34% of them are female. As the computer science department grows, GALA administration will continue to actively recruit diverse teachers. 

Through the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Division of Human Resources, Diversity, and Equity, GALA provides teachers with professional development about how to include culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy in their classrooms, and to prioritize inclusion of children from all backgrounds and abilities. In addition to the seminars, lesson plans and tools available to teachers through LAUSD, GALA faculty participates in weekly mandatory professional development sessions on campus. New to the 2022-2023 school year was GALA’s selection as a Black Student Achievement Plan (BSAP) school, a designation that provided GALA with an on-site BSAP coordinator and BSAP counselor. With these resources, GALA has been able to provide additional training to teachers about culturally sensitive and inclusive teaching practices specific to GALA’s Black students. 

As part of LAUSD, the GALA team must adhere to LAUSD’s Equal Employment Opportunity Statement and extensive Non-Discrimination Statement, which are part of the Employee Handbook.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

GALA is a public 6th - 12th grade span school within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Therefore, GALA does not have a “business model” in the traditional sense.

Friends of GALA (FoGALA), the 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports GALA, is applying to this Challenge on behalf of GALA, much like a fiscal sponsor would. FoGALA’s business model is described below:  


FoGALA provides the following services to our key customers, who are GALA parents, philanthropies, and companies who are socially conscious philanthropies:

  • Funding opportunities for sponsoring 750 students per year to pursue a high quality education that empowers them to pursue college studies and careers in STEM. FoGALA solicits funds primarily for these four main areas:

    • STEM programs 

    • Technology and Tools

    • College Readiness 

    • Student Support 

  • Community engagement with GALA students through field trips, mentorships, and internship candidates with a high interest in pursuing STEM college degrees and careers

  • Sponsorship and speaker participation in GALA’s annual Young Women’s Career Conference

  • Recognition at the Women’s Leadership Breakfast, FoGALA’s annual award and fundraiser event

Our customers want these services as they are interested in promoting and expanding pathways for underrepresented groups – women, people of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and first-generation college students – to pursue college degrees and eventually careers in STEM.


Our key beneficiaries are GALA students and their parents, as well as GALA’s staff and teachers. We provide these services by funding STEM programs, technology and STEM tools, college readiness resources such as testing fees and test preparation workshops, student support programs, counselors and other personnel, and by recruiting volunteers to cultivate community partners and to deliver events and programs.

GALA students and their families need these services because the majority of the students come from low-income families. In addition, many of the students are immigrants, the first generation to go to college, and/or had no access to quality classes in STEM in middle school and high school.

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

GALA works together with FoGALA, the non-profit organization that provides financial and operational support to the school, to ensure that the school has the necessary resources to provide a first-class STEM education. As a public school, GALA receives public funds every year for its staff and for a minimal amount of supplies and equipment. FoGALA supplements this budget by fundraising from diverse sources. FoGALA consistently raises about half of its budget from the families attending GALA. The other half of its revenue comes from grants, corporate sponsors, fundraising events and class campaigns, passive fundraisers, and sale of GALA merchandise. FoGALA deposits any unused funds into interest-bearing savings and CD accounts.

FoGALA’s volunteer Board and Committees are structured to ensure that these revenue sources continue to flow into the school. An Annual Give team works with FoGALA’s Fundraising Director to orchestrate the 5-month long Annual Give campaign, which raises the biggest chunk of our budget. FoGALA’s Grants Director, along with her 10-person volunteer Committee, identifies grant opportunities, and applies for and manages grants. The Development Director oversees fundraising efforts via sponsorships from corporations and philanthropic organizations, and the Fundraising Director manages all scheduled fundraising events.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

As GALA’s student body has grown every year, so too has the revenue that FoGALA has generated. Except during the 2020-2021 school year, when the pandemic shutdown adversely affected fundraising efforts within our GALA community, the Annual Give campaign increases the amount of money it raises every year. This fiscal year, the Grants Team has secured more grant funds than it did the previous years, receiving both new grants (e.g., Calley Foundation; Joseph Drown Foundation; Play Equity Fund) and grants from repeat funders (e.g., Norris Foundation; Chuck Lorre Family Foundation). With the addition of the Development Director position on the FoGALA Board in 2021, FoGALA has been able to outreach to the Los Angeles community and to corporate donors, which has resulted in sponsorships from Verizon, LADWP, tech companies, and professional organizations. FoGALA continues to increase its fundraising potential by building a more prominent social media presence, and engaging the local technology and philanthropic community through events and newsletters.

FoGALA also maintains a reserve in a CD and stock portfolio to cover emergency expenses or unexpected shortfalls. The reserve will cover about 5-6 months of FoGALA’s expenses.

Solution Team

  • TH TH
  • John Landa High School Teacher, Friends of Girls Academic Leadership Academy (FoGALA)
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