Would Works

A nonprofit organization

$18,680 raised by 488 donors

75% complete

$25,000 Goal

“I Would Work if I Could”

Would Works is an LA based social enterprise that trains and employs people experiencing homelessness in the craft of woodworking.


We have had a big year! Since relaunching post COVID closure last summer, Would Works has hosted nearly 200 paid woodworking workshops for people experiencing homelessness in LA.  We have employed eleven housing insecure Artisans, three of whom have gone on to secure further employment in the field of woodworking.  We released three new beautiful products handcrafted by our Artisans--the Sierra Madre SetThe Better World Butter Set, and our Wood Utensils.  We launched our new Community Builders Program, where Artisans learned advanced techniques in woodworking and built outdoor seating for the Willowbrook, a permanent supportive housing site in South LA. 

During this fundraiser, join us and help us add fifty more paid workshops to the calendar year, expand our reach to transitional aged youth experiencing homelessness, build out more accessible community spaces and offer more employment opportunities, job training, and community building than ever before! 

Why Would Works?

46% of unsheltered individuals in LA county cite unemployment as a primary cause of their homelessness. Of those, approximately half reported in the 2019 LAHSA homelessness count that they are actively looking for work.  Unhoused folks face multiple barriers to employment including justice involvement, mental or physical health challenges, and institutional factors such as hiring discrimination and systemic racism. For 10 years WW has provided work opportunities for these people who WOULD WORK if they could.  Our workshops cultivate soft job skills, alleviate financial hardship, and provide recent job references.  Our Artisans gain the satisfaction of doing hands-on work with tangible outcomes--building confidence, community and forging a path toward self-sufficiency. 

Would Works hosts over 200 woodworking workshops annually providing paid employment, healing community, and hands on woodworking training for people experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty in Los Angeles.




In the  Beginner Builder Program, Artisans with no previous experience in woodworking receive paid training in sanding, finishing, branding and packaging our line of wood homewares available for purchase on our website, wholesale, at pop-up events, and through partner vendors.

In the Community Builder Program, Artisans who have completed the beginner program receive paid advanced training in woodworking and furniture design.  These Community Builders design and build accessible outdoor furniture for permanent supportive housing sites, shelters, and homeless service centers throughout LA.



Our Story

While working at a homeless shelter in Skid Row in 2012, Would Works founder Connor Johnson began running weekend wood-finishing workshops in church basements and housing site rec rooms throughout Skid Row.  In 2016 he partnered with actor Nick Offerman and his collective shop, Offerman Woodshop, to scale up this program and product line into the thriving social enterprise it is today. Offerman now sits on the Board of Directors and his shop continues to support Would Works by providing product machining ongoing job opportunities to our Artisans. 


The Artisans

A Would Works Artisan is someone who is experiencing housing insecurity or is transitioning out of homelessness. Artisans are referred to our program by employment counselors and housing case managers from various Los Angeles organizations that serve the unhoused population, such as; Chrysalis Employment Services, Skid Row Housing Trust, Downtown Women’s Center, Jovenes, California Job Center, and The People Concern.


“Would Works was so much more than I expected it to be. I felt like I was part of a family. I learned so much more than wood work-- I learned work ethics, responsibility, accountability, and preparation for re-entry into the workforce. Participating in the Would Works program was the very reason I was able to obtain employment and stay employed.”
--Glasha, 2018 Would Works Artisan

 Presently Community Health Worker at UC Irvine




Hear more of our Artisans' stories in their own voices on our Artisan Profiles page


Equity Work 

We believe in a compassionate, equity driven, and trauma informed approach to leadership and program design.

Due to a history of redlining, employment discrimination, and housing discrimination, BIPOC communities are disproportionately represented among people experiencing homelessness in LA. At WW we strive to address racism and sexism by offering workforce development and financial support to this community. 



Would Works thanks the following funders for their financial support:




Would Works thanks the following community partners for their in-kind support:


Organization Data

Summary

Organization name

Would Works

Tax id (EIN)

81-1484179

Categories

Arts & Culture Community Economic Development

Address

2620 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90065

Phone

213-290-2533

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