CORE Recovery & Retraining Endowment Launches to Foster Long-Term, Systemic Economic Benefits for Los Angeles County Residents

NaHCO3, the family office of Ashley and Marc Merrill, today announced the launch of CORE, the COVID-19 Retraining & Recovery Endowment, to provide support through academic and training scholarships to the heavily impacted South Los Angeles residents.

The endowment has been in development since April 2020 and was created by lifelong L.A. residents Ashley and Marc Merrill, who anchored the program with a $300,000 donation. Ashley and Marc Merrill sought out SoLa Impact as their partner in bringing the endowment to life because of the years of systemic change the organization has been able to make in southern Los Angeles communities. 

The foundation and compelling mission of CORE was later bolstered by a $1 million grant from the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation (OWCF) and other philanthropists, such as Jimmy Lovine, as part of the Founder’s Circle of donors and several corporate donors. 

As of today, CORE will immediately start offering scholarships for professional certification and training programs in areas that will be in high demand as our society adapts to a new post-COVID-19 reality, such as healthcare and technology. Academic partners include: Cal State University at Los Angeles (CSULA), Futuro Health, East LA College, Southwest College, and LA Trade-Tech College (LATTC).

“COVID-19 and overall racial injustice are disproportionately affecting underserved communities – both from a health and an economic perspective,” said Ashley Merrill, founder of Lunya and Principal at NaHCO3. “After COVID-19, hit we felt the need to take action to provide long-term, systemic support. We partnered with SoLa because of their proven track record to impart long-term, positive change. Together, we hope to create a silver lining in an otherwise devastating situation and ultimately help make the country stronger in every part of society.” 

“The Merrills’ ‘Social Impact’ approach is centered on giving a hand “up” by addressing the root cause of the challenge to create lasting change, as opposed to a short term hand “out”. NaHCO3 has partnered with SoLa since 2017 to improve the prospects and opportunities for the South LA community, and this new CORE partnership represents an extension of that long-time relationship. We are thrilled to partner with NaHCO3 as our missions continue to align,” said Martin Muoto, Founder and CEO of SoLa Impact. 

In addition to their work with SoLa and through their family office, NaHCO3, Ashley and Marc Merrill have long worked with organizations such as Girls, Inc., City Year, and A Sense of Home, that solve meaningful problems for communities, unlock innovation and efficiency, and overall contribute to a better world.

About NaHCO3

Started by successful entrepreneurs, Ashley and Marc Merrill, NaHCO3 is a single-family office that supports like-minded organizations in their effort to drive humanity forward. The multifaceted organization’s venture, impact, and charitable investments focus on removing obstacles between teams, communities, or individuals and the awesomeness they create. Through these entities, NaHCO3 aims to accelerate change in the country that cultivates more self-actualization and innovation to make for better, stronger communities. Ashley Merrill is the CEO and founder of clothing companies, Lunya and Lahgo, as well as The Deep. Marc Merrill is the co-founder, co-chairman and former co-CEO of Riot Games, the game developer and publisher behind League of Legends. To learn more, please visit: 

About SoLa Impact’s I Can Foundation

The SoLa I CAN Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliate of SoLa Impact, aims to improve the lives of South L.A. residents through affordable housing, education, and economic development.  We strive to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing educational scholarships, mentorship, job readiness and access to development experiences. SoLa Impact’s Beehive campus will house dozens of minority-owned and women-owned entrepreneurs. See www.solaimpact/core-fund.

Media Contact

Holly Hitchcock

Front Lines Media


Source: NaHCO3