DONNA JONES grew up in South Central Los Angeles in a large apartment complex similar to Nickerson Gardens and Jordan Downs also known as “The Projects.” The complex was called the Ujima Village, located off El Segundo between Avalon Blvd. and Central Avenue. Ujima Village housed approximately 300 black families and a very small number of Hispanic families. Ms. Jones attended 122nd Street Elementary, Gompers Junior High and graduated from Locke High School; class of 1988. Upon graduating from Locke, she matriculated to a historical black college in Louisiana, Grambling State University. Ms. Jones obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science with a minor in Business Management in 1992. After graduation, she ran several successful small businesses and supervised the entire medical billing department for a world renowned dermatologist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Arnold W. Klein. His most famous client was the late Michael Jackson.
After the birth of her first child, Ms. Jones began taking a closer look at the educational system in Los Angeles and all across the world as it relates to students of color. Upon seeing the disparities and the challenges that these students face as a result of their socio-economic backgrounds, she decided, it was time to get involved.
It never made sense to her that if a student wanted to be a doctor or lawyer and attend Stanford or Harvard their dreams should be shattered because of money. Ms. Jones began volunteering and joining the governing boards of her kid's schools. She worked with the parent and teacher associations to build stronger and safer environments. She fundraised and even cleaned classrooms as a parent volunteer. She did whatever it took to make her presence known on the school's campus. She decided early on if she were going to affect change, she had to be the change.
The more Ms. Jones got involved, the more she started thinking about ways to improve the education system in an effort to increase the college admission rate among our minority students. She thought "Why should students of color be forced to attend failing schools? Who said my child has to attend an under-performing institution because it's within my zip code?" She wanted to know who set those standards? It became crystal clear to her that she needed to educate the parents and students in the community about the educational opportunities available to them. Just because you live in a low income underserved area, does not mean that your child should not be afforded the same educational opportunities as his/her counterparts.
Ms. Jones' first born, had the opportunity to attend a wonderful public charter school called KIPP. Upon graduation from KIPP, he matriculated to Vistamar Independent Day School where he has gone on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. As a parent, she refused to send her son to a failing school because it was within their zip code.
As the CEO and Founder of Andern Educational Research, Inc., Donna Jones desires for the students of Los Angeles, the same opportunities, she wants for her children; a top notch education and an opportunity to get a college degree.
Andern Education Research, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established to CREATE PATHWAYS TO AND THROUGH COLLEGE for students of color.