Proyecto Pastoral is a social justice, community-building nonprofit in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Our mission is to empower the community of Boyle Heights through grassroots projects in education, leadership, and service. Annually, we reach over 6,000 children and families through early childhood education centers, youth development programming, homeless shelters, community organizing efforts and collective impact work. Through a blend of community services and organizing, Proyecto seeks to build community power so that community residents - those most impacted by these systemic inequities - create transformational change rooted in values of justice, opportunity, and self-determination.
Proyecto was founded in 1986 by Father Greg Boyle, S.J. and by parishioners of Dolores Mission in response to poverty and gang violence, low educational attainment of children and youth, and limited economic and civic engagement opportunities for Boyle Heights residents. At the time, the local neighborhood in Boyle Heights had the highest public housing density west of the Mississippi River. Decades of disinvestment moved residents to take action; all of Proyecto’s services were initiated and founded by residents.
Proyecto’s early learning services started as a childcare cooperative that women set up in order to be able to gain work experience to qualify for amnesty at the time; our youth program was started by mothers who wanted to offer an alternative to gang violence for youth; our organizing initiative began in response to the death of a young girl from a drive-by shooting; and our homeless shelters started because community members wanted to offer a place for refugee families arriving in the neighborhood to stay. In 2010, Proyecto expanded to include Promesa Boyle Heights, a collaborative of 35+ organizations working together towards a shared vision for community transformation in Boyle Heights.