Presenting the STEAM Certified Badge

By Lilly Kam on 06/10/2014 @ 09:30 AM

Tags: STEAM, Boyle Heights

Get STEAM Certified! This summer, we are partnering with the L.A. Summer of Learning initiative to offer a digital badge that recognizes and celebrates students who are working on STEAM projects!

The L.A. Summer of Learning program is a new initiative by the city of Los Angeles that offers free classes and activities to youth over the summer break, as well as job-readiness training. It encourages students to keep learning year-round. Those who participate can earn digital "badges" that they can use to prove the skills they have built over the summer.

The STEAM Certified Badge will recognize students working on STEAM projects. To earn this badge, participants need to submit evidence of a STEAM project they worked on (such as a science experiment, designing a website, building a robot, making an app, or composing a piece of digital music), including pictures or videos of their projects.

We will feature the most outstanding projects on the Foundation Facebook and Twitter accounts! STEAM Certified badge earners may also unlock special opportunities from the Foundation.

And you don't need to be in Los Angeles to earn this badge. Our online application is open to all STEAM students around the world!

To get STEAM Certified, start here: Students Demo Apps to Mayor Eric Garcetti at Hack for L.A.

By Lilly Kam on 06/03/2014 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: STEAM, Boyle Heights, hackathons

The Foundation was proud to help bring Hack for L.A. to City Hall for this year's National Day of Civic Hacking! Over 500 hackers descended upon historic Los Angeles City Hall this past weekend to make apps for social good, including over 150 middle and high school students. students who were hackathon veterans and winners of last year's hackathon had the special opportunity to present their app to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Cynthia Erenas, Edgar Gutierrez, and Mariano Bonilla are all sophomores at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, and part of our College Track program. Their award-winning app is a mobile payment platform that will help raise money for college scholarships for students in need.

The students came up with the idea a year ago, at the first Hack for LA. At the 2-day event, they put together a simple prototype and business plan for their app, and ended up winning the top prize at the competition -- $5,000.

The students soon caught the attention of Tango Systems, a Los Angeles-based mobile company that produces a payment app called Tapdn. They were impressed with the students' initiative to benefit education while supporting local businesses. The company stepped up to mentor the students in coding, design, business development, and to empower them with the back-end technology for their app, to turn their idea into reality. A percentage of transactions made on the students' app will go to an Scholarship Fund to benefit students from underserved communities.

Their story inspired the room full of middle and high school students, most of whom were brand new to coding and making apps. We saw some great ideas come from this year's hackathon, such as apps to circumvent the LAUSD firewall! We also saw another team of high school students take home the top prize, an app that helps bring better resources to homeless shelters. You can see all the hackathon ideas and winners here.

Here are more great pictures of the weekend of tech festivities at City Hall. All photos here are courtesy of the Los Angeles Mayor's Office and photographer Jon Endow. students with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

An student presents her app while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti looks on.

Over 150 middle and high school students participated in the hackathon at Los Angeles City Hall. FIRST Robotics Team Appears on the Queen Latifah Show!

By Lilly Kam on 02/20/2014 @ 08:30 AM

Tags: STEAM, Boyle Heights, FIRST, FIRST Robotics

Photo courtesy of the Queen Latifah Show. is making it loud with robotics on the Queen Latifah Show!

This week appeared on the Queen Latifah Show with students from his FIRST Robotics team. Watch the awesome appearance of our students and robot here: FIRST Robotics Program Launched in Boyle Heights

Posted on 02/06/2014 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: FIRST FIRST robotics team
Raytheon mentors

The Foundation is proud to launch the first-ever competitive robotics team in Boyle Heights at Roosevelt High School. Robotics is one of the best embodiments of STEAM. It's about hands-on, project-based learning, and it combines engineering with coding and design. Robotics is like a varsity sport for the mind!

Our team of 20 students has spent the last 5 weeks designing and building a robot from scratch, in order to compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition in St. Louis this April. It's an intensive program -- our robotics students meet every day after school with dedicated STEM professionals who offer valuable instruction and mentorship in creating sophisticated robots. is a long-time supporter of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Competition, founded by inventor Dean Kamen to celebrate the engineering prowess of K-12 students. To inspire the next generation of rockstar inventors, produced the TV special " FIRST: Science is Rock and Roll" which aired in primetime on the ABC Network in August 2011.

Starting a robotics team at Roosevelt High School is monumental to the Boyle Heights community, especially to its students who aspire towards careers in STEM. Ismael Soto, one of the student leaders explained, "With this robotics team, we'll be able to bring incredible new spirit to Roosevelt High School and to our community. With's support, we feel like we can do anything."

The team has a strong presence of young women interested in STEM careers. The team captain is 16-year-old Cynthia Erenas, a tech whiz who has already won top prizes at 2 hackathons and dreams of studying at MIT: "I never imagined I could be building a robot at school. Now I want to use my new skills and apply for an internship at NASA this summer."

The Foundation has partnered with leading organizations to make this robotics program possible. Our partners in STEAM include Chase, Dassault Systemes, Raytheon, Google, HP, 3D Systems, and NVIDIA, who have all contributed to the successful creation of this Roosevelt robotics team.

For more photos and updates on our team's progress, check out the Facebook page! Will our students win it all in St.Louis? Stay tuned!

Electrical team
Electrical team
Robot base
Mechanical team

Third Annual TRANS4M Concert Benefiting the Foundation Raises $2.5 Million

Posted on 01/24/2014 @ 08:00 AM

Tags: TRANS4M (Benefit Concert) Joins Busta Rhymes, Chaka Khan, Sergio Mendez, Bell Biv DeVoe, Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, Scarface, Slick Rick, Cody Wise, Leah McFall and We Are The Future on Stage for Grammy Week Fundraising Celebration

TRANS4M Movement Expands to Detroit, Michigan and Midem Conference in Europe

Chaka Khan and

Los Angeles – International recording artist, frontman for The Black Eyed Peas, entrepreneur and philanthropist announced today that his third annual TRANS4M Concert benefiting the Foundation raised more than $2.5 million dollars last night, January 23, 2014. Concert proceeds benefit the Foundation’s mission to continue and accelerate TRANS4Mation in the Boyle Heights community of East Los Angeles, and the promotion and expansion of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education around the world.

The benefit concert featured two hours of hip hop, R&B and the sounds of Brazil on stage at the Avalon Hollywood. Headliners included, Busta Rhymes, Chaka Khan, Sergio Mendez, Bell Biv DeVoe, Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, Scarface, Slick Rick, Cody Wise, Leah McFall and We Are The Future performed on stage to help keep 1,800 guests dancing in the aisles on Thursday night. 
The TRANS4M concert was an evening of celebration, thanks and acknowledgment of many patrons, donors, staff and volunteers who support and manage the Foundation’s programs that are helping to transform and reinvigorate’s hometown neighborhood of Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles. TRANS4M is a movement that seeks out large, chronic problems and leverages collaborative efforts among businesses, non-profits, government, and community volunteers to accelerate new thinking and solutions. and Mayor Garcetti

During the evening, foundation President and TRANS4M Curator and Futurist Brian David Johnson introduced Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and Roosevelt High School Principals Randy Romero and Bruce Bivins on stage to talk about the positive, actionable results that the foundation and its programs are achieving in Boyle Heights. Foundation Program Results

The foundation’s College Track program has raised community expectations, with student attendance now up to 97%, and grade point averages are rising. College Track has relocated from temporary trailer classrooms with a capacity of 60 students to a dedicated and fully renovated building that can serve up to 300 students. College Track is currently working with 120 students, and plans to increase this number in 2014. The program now has a waiting list of 200 students seeking places to attend College Track. With support from the College Track staff, parents, teachers at Roosevelt High School and community volunteers, students in the program are engaging in positive activities including robotics teams, civic hackathons and meaningful summer projects, rather than succumbing to the pressures of gangs, violence and drugs. College Track students are well on their way to finishing high school, and achieving grades required to apply to, and then attend college. 97% of these students will be the first in their family to attend college.

TRANS4M Movement Expands to New Locations

TRANS4M Detroit

Building on the success and positive results being achieved in Boyle Heights, and Brian David Johnson also announced the expansion of the TRANS4M movement that will include a standalone TRANS4M event to take place in Detroit, Michigan and a special panel session that will take place in Europe. Midem, the international music business conference, will host the first-ever European TRANS4M panel event curated by, “Entertainment as a TRANS4Mation Driver.”

TRANS4M Detroit will take place in September, 2014. The Detroit conference and benefit concert will be hosted by Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder, Quicken Loans. foundation Advisory Board member Dennis Archer, Jr. will help shape the conference program as part of the TRANS4M Detroit event leadership committee. The conference will also receive support from Michigan-based businesses and national philanthropic organizations to be announced.

Midem attendees will be introduced to the TRANS4M movement by on February 1, 2014. A TRANS4M-themed panel will immediately follow’s opening keynote remarks to explore how the dynamic of direct artist-fan connections places the entertainment industry in an advantageous position to drive positive social change. The panel discussion will focus on the TRANS4M movement and its mission to help technology innovators, brands and music makers work together more closely to TRANS4M society for the better. Foundation Donor and Partner Recognition

Major foundation donors and partners were recognized during the evening, including: JP Morgan Chase,, Emerson Collective, Rock Ventures, Ron Conway, Silicon Valley Family Foundation, Unite 4: Good, Dassault Systemes, Hertz Lichtenstein & Young LLP, Live Nation, Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, Rocketpop Management, Morgridge Family Foundation,The California Endowment, 3DS, Avi Reichental, Beatris Solis, Bill Price, BMG Chrysalis, Claudio Chiuchiarelli, Creative Artists Agency, David Bolno, Frank Torre, General Electric, Greg Cunningham, Bizzy, Ignition Media, Jackmont Hospitality, Jerry Lundergan, Kathlyn Mead, Ken Hertz, Kind Snacks, Kuji Chahal, Lockheed Martin, Morad Fareed, Noah Goodhart, PayPal, Polo Molina, Radj Fernando, Raytheon, Red Light Management,, Seth Friedman,, Target, Toby Blue, Vincent Pla and Zander Lurie.

About the foundation created the foundation to TRANS4M lives through education, inspiration and opportunity.  The private foundation was launched in 2009 with a mission to provide assistance to needy college-bound students through a program entitled  Since that time, the foundation has grown to offer and operate programs including “” to provide mortgage relief and financial literacy assistance, “ College Track” to work with students from’s home town (Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles) throughout high school to best prepare them for college, and “” to encourage education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math.  The foundation is fortunate to be working with partner organizations to help administer and fund these ambitious programs including College Track, the California Endowment, JP Morgan Chase Global Philanthropy and others.  To learn more about the foundation, please visit


The TRANS4M benefit concert series is part of's larger mission to drive positive transformation in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles where he grew up. Founded in 2013, the number 4 in TRANS4M represents the four pillars and driving forces involved in improving the state of chronic societal problems: business, government, non-profits and community volunteers.

About College Track College Track, an after-school tutoring program that serves 120 college-bound high school students who attend Roosevelt High School. College Track students receive intensive tutoring and instruction that is the equivalent of one extra year of high school. For students in the program, many will be the first in their family to ever apply to and then attend college. Topics of study include robotics, code writing, math, science, and Mandarin Chinese language and culture instruction. Students also participate in enrichment activities and field trips such as summer trips to China to learn Chinese and about the culture of the country; trips to Washington, DC to learn civics and how government operates; invitations to speak and present projects at technology industry conferences such as the ESRI Users Conference; and attending educational workshops at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to learn about the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity.


Midem is the largest annual international b2b event dedicated to the new music ecosystem, with a tradeshow, conferences, competitions, networking events and live performances. Midem brings together more than 6,400 participants from 75 countries. The 48th edition will take place in Cannes, France from 1-4 February, 2014. It’s the place where music makers, cutting-edge technologies, brands & talents come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people & music, transform audience engagement and form new business connections. Visit to learn more.

Rock Hill’s 3D Systems names singer as ‘chief creative officer’

Don Worthington

Herald Online

Jan 10, 2014

Grammy-winning musician, actor, producer and entrepreneur has joined the creative team at Rock Hill’s 3D Systems.

Avi Reichental, 3D Systems’ president and CEO, hired the founder of the hip-hop band The Black Eyed Peas to “inspire, shape and drive all of 3D’s initiatives.”

The recording artist’s official title with 3D Systems is “chief creative officer.”

“3D printing lets you get involved, be a part of the creative process and the story of the items you make,” said in a statement. “For me, it’s a dream come true to work with ... the company that invented 3D printing and launched an entire platform that all other industries depend on.

“I am so thrilled to begin to fuse my creativity and experience with the technology that is poised to change how we create, make and express ourselves.” – pronounced “Will I Am” – was born William James Adams.

The partnership started more than a year ago when approached 3D Systems about a project, said Reichental, who was attending the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

During numerous meetings over a year’s time, Reichental said, he realized the two are kindred spirits.

“After all these talks, I said, ‘Let’s get into action,’ and he responded ‘I’m all in,’ ” Reichental said.

3D Systems said in a statement that it hopes will help “mainstream the use of 3D printing through major collaborations with creative brand partners, innovative global campaigns and educational grand challenges designed to grow the popularity of 3D printing.”

Reichental said has great entrepreneurial instincts, especially in getting consumers interested in new products.

“We’re excited to partner with a pop culture influencer of’s caliber who really gets 3D printing and its potential,” Reichental said.

Reichental expects to expand the company’s efforts in fashion, music, sports and education. Both share a passion for expanding education through technology. is also expected to “influence” the functionality of 3D Systems projects, Reichental said. is best known for his work with The Black Eyed Peas, who have sold 33 million albums and 58 million singles worldwide. His solo album, “#willpower”, was released last year and includes the worldwide platinum hit “This is Love,” featuring Eva Simons, and “Scream & Shout,” featuring Britney Spears.

As a producer, has worked with singers Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Usher, Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears, and film composer Hans Zimmer. is someone who “works 24-7 and brings his passion to everything he does,” Reichental said. “He will fit us into his schedule.”

Hack for LA Engages Students in Coding and Social Innovation

By Lilly Kam on 12/09/2013 @ 08:30 AM

Tags: STEAM, Boyle Heights, hackathons

Team at Hack for LA in Boyle Heights Foundation was proud to support two hackathons last weekend, which served as a fantastic kickoff for Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code campaign, which aimed to get 10 million kids coding over the course of the week.

Hack for LA, sponsored by the Foundation, returned to Boyle Heights on December 7-8 with over 200 coders, designers, entrepreneurs and community hacktivists gathering to make apps for social good. Held at the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Boyle Heights, the 2-day hackathon event drew a colorful crowd that reflected the wide diversity of Los Angeles. 28 apps were submitted for judging, and over $17,000 was awarded in prizes! The judging panel included retired NFL athlete and Boyle Heights native Lynn Cain-- who also happens to be the uncle of!

Students were a big part of the coding weekend. Participants included our very own College Track scholars from Roosevelt High School, who worked on 2 different app projects.

One team was the "Rough Riders Media Center," an app to empower students at Roosevelt High School to be grassroots student journalists, providing a platform for broadcasting news about school issues, or local Boyle Heights news. This student team recently won a $15,000 grant to execute a new media center for Roosevelt High School, and they were eager to incorporate an app into their plans.

Another team created the "Dreamers App," a platform to connect students with mentors who could provide valuable advice on career paths and internships. This team ended up winning the General Assembly Prize for App with Most Potential, which would provide free class credits at General Assembly. This was actually the 2nd hackathon win for the students behind the Dreamers App. At the inaugural Hack for LA event in June, they won the prize for Best App Benefiting Boyle Heights with their app that could crowdfund college scholarships for students in need, which they hope to launch in 2014. Our students are really becoming hackathon pros!

Middle school students learn to code at Hack for LA's kids hack day.

Meanwhile, Foundation also helped to sponsor a "Kids only" hack day for middle and high school students who were beginner coders, at the UCLA Community School in Koreatown. Beginner coders from all over L.A. were taught how to use MIT App Inventor software to build their own app prototypes. Students used a comprehensive curriculum provided by the Technovation Challenge to learn the basics of coding, making business plans, and pitch presentations. App ideas from these grade schoolers included: An app to visualize holiday decorations on your house before you put them up; an app for matching abandoned pets to new owners; an app to prevent procrastination; and even an app for anger management for kids!

We continue to be inspired by the great ideas that students come up with when they are given the skills and opportunity to be social innovators. We're looking forward to many more hackathons to come!

Boyle Heights students working on their app

Hackers pack the house at the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Boyle Heights

Hack for LA organizers with judge Lynn Cain