Our Mission:

The Meaning Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to eliminating barriers to meaningful employment for the formerly incarcerated. We believe that an adaptive combination of foundational healing, workforce development and meaningful employment is the most powerful mechanism for enabling long-term human transformation and multigenerational socioeconomic impact.

The Meaning Foundation program model establishes scalable employment pipelines between human service organizations and enterprise employers. Our model is focused on three core areas:

1) Sourcing: We work in partnership with human service organizations that provide foundational healing to identify and source individuals who have overcome adversity and are now ready and able to face the unique challenges and stressors of meaningful employment.

2) Placement: Once sourced, we provide turn-key employment opportunities to our clients by working in partnership with enterprise employers who provide a living wage, a positive work environment, and opportunities for upward mobility.

3) Coaching: We support each participant by coaching them through a 6-month curriculum designed around employability, sustainability, and upward mobility to ensure their success and continued personal development.

Being able to place and support individuals into positions of meaningful employment has a tremendous positive impact not only on the individual, but also their immediate family and the larger community. The lives of the individuals are positively impacted as they are stably employed, able to reunify with their families, and continually engaged with the healing work that they began within their respective human service organizations. The community is positively impacted when its members are gainfully employed as these individuals represent a positive, tangible model of success for others.

Systemic barriers to effective employment and reintegration are associated with increased recidivism, which in turn may further jeopardize public safety, disrupt the financial and overall stability of affected families, and impede communities from achieving their maximum potential of economic growth. The health, safety, and well-being of our communities depends on increasing access to employment for people with prior arrest or conviction records, with the goal of effectively reintegrating individuals into the community and enabling them to provide for their families while working to become the best versions of themselves.

Meet Our Team

The Meaning Foundation is comprised of a dynamic team that has a combined 34 years of experience working with previously incarcerated individuals. We have worked with this population in workforce development, higher education, and mental health. Our team also has a combined 20 years of experience within the context of life coaching, teaching life coaching and building platforms, programs and curriculum for life coaching.

Taylor Adams

Founder

Taylor Adams is the founder of Noname Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, California. A 6th generation Los Angelino, Taylor started his first technology company as an undergrad at the University of Southern California. He now has over ten years of investment experience across private equity, real estate, and venture capital. He teaches entrepreneurship at Harvard-Westlake School and served on the Board of Directors of Homeboy Industries. In his capacity as the Chairman of Noname Ventures, Taylor invests in great humans who are on their journey to greatness. He works closely with entrepreneurs as they bring new technologies to market and supports them as they build visions for the future that have transformational impact and value.

Taylor's passion for human transformation led him to start The Meaning Foundation, a non-profit focused on transforming the lives of marginalized individuals by eliminating barriers to meaningful employment. The Meaning Foundation operates a workforce development, training, and staffing agency called Empowered By.

He believes that the fundamentals of value creation and value capture is the driving force for prosperity and he is committed to supporting humans and organizations as we access visions for the future that we believe in, have value for, and are committed to… Visions for the future that are so meaningful and abundant that we cannot not take action to move towards them. Playing a small role in that journey is what brings Taylor fulfillment. Capturing some of that value is what makes the journey sustainable, scalable and repeatable.

Jose Osuna

Chief Mission Officer

Jose Osuna is the Chief Mission Officer for The Meaning Foundation, Principal Consultant for Osuna Consulting and Co-Founder of Restore INK, a nonprofit in Long Beach, California targeted at serving gang impacted and formerly incarcerated individuals. Prior to founding Osuna Consulting and Restore INK, Jose was the Director of External Affairs at Homeboy Industries, a position he held as part of the executive management team with the organization. Jose led Homeboy’s external advocacy initiatives, such as ‘Banning the Box’ from employment applications. Jose continues to work in partnership with organizations such as Homeboy Industries, Project Kinship, Shields For Families, Homies Unidos and The California Endowment on numerous special projects. Before working in external affairs, Osuna was the Director of Employment Services, as well as the head of the Solar Panel Installation Training and Certification Program – both at Homeboy Industries.

Jose first arrived at Homeboy Industries as a trainee enrolled in the eighteen-month program the organization offers. Prior to this, Jose served thirteen years in prison, and had been involved in gangs since the age of ten. In 2007, Jose’s son Moises was killed as a result of gun violence – he was seventeen years old. Jose uses this experience, among many others, as the strongest motivating factors in his work at The Meaning Foundation and Osuna Consulting. By combining both his personal and professional experience, Jose is able to bring a unique perspective and a fresh approach to his work.

Jose is a current member of L.A. County’s Probation Reform & Implementation Team, appointed by L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

MaryCatherine (MC) McDonald, Ph.D.

Director of Coaching and Research

Dr. McDonald is a research professor who specializes in the psychology and philosophy of trauma. MC has been researching, lecturing, and publishing on the neuroscience, psychology and lived experience of trauma since completing her Ph.D. in 2016. MC’s work focuses on thinking critically about how we understand, define, and heal from traumatic experience. She is passionate about destigmatizing trauma and mental health issues in general, as well as reframing our understanding of the traumatic response as one that is borne of strength and not weakness.

After receiving her master’s degree at The New School, where she researched traumatic loss and mourning from both philosophical and psychological perspectives, she went on to complete her Ph.D. at Boston University. MC has published several research and journal articles, and has just completed her first book, Haunted, which aims to rethink trauma from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In addition to her academic work, MC has been involved in coaching individuals and corporations, teaching courses in prison, as well as consulting on curriculum development.

Cory A. Reich, Ph.D., L.M.F.T.

Chief Strategic Officer

Dr. Reich’s educational goals and aspirations are guided by his interest in understanding the human condition and identifying those aspects of both internal and external factors which contribute to living a whole and abundant life. Cory has always felt compelled by what contributes to wholeness and optimum health and wellness. As a result, his educational pursuits characterized both clinical and didactic processes from some of the top schools in their respective disciplines, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State (1986), a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland (1991), and Doctorate in Child Studies and Human Development from the University of Maryland (1994). He was honored to be the first Graduate Fellow recipient in the College of Education at the University.

Building upon his educational purpose driven by a meaning-based orientation, Cory continues to work with populations from a strength-based approach rather than focusing on weakness. Working in the helping profession in some capacity for 35 years, Cory has been in Private Practice, Life and Corporate Coaching, Residential Programs and in multiple clinical supervisory positions. Cory is a cofounder of the Institute for Addiction Study which was created with the intent to provide instructional material providing understanding and support to those affected by addiction. Cory worked with the Pretty Shield Foundation for 4 years serving the Crow Tribe in Montana providing services for meth impacted families. Cory has also worked in the capacity of chief editor and writer of a news-based internet site (e.g. Masternet) specifically dedicated to the mental, behavioral, and substance abuse industry. Cory has co-authored two books on addiction and continues to exert his influence in purpose driven populations striving to realize the dream of wholeness and meaning fulfillment. Cory is currently the Executive Director of The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers. His research in meaning-based interventions has demonstrated the positive impact in reducing depression, anxiety, and improving attitudes and behaviors oriented around the use of mood-altering substances and behaviors.

Thaddeus Skiles

Director of Workforce Development

Bio forthcoming.

Hugo Gonzalez

Workforce Development Coordinator

Bio forthHugo comes to The Meaning Foundation after serving 18.5 years in prison. His sentence was commuted under Governor Jerry Brown. He was 16 years old when he was sentenced to 75 to life in an adult prison. Hugo is an artist who was a trainee in Homeboy Industries’ 18-month program.

Hugo currently serves as Workforce Development Coordinator for The Meaning Foundation. In this role, Hugo is the initial point of contact for our participants; he works closely with our Human Service Organization partners in identifying and sourcing those that have the potential to be part of The Meaning Foundation’s coaching and workforce development programs.

In his spare time, Hugo goes to public forums, conferences and schools to speak about gang
intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry. Previously, he worked as an Initiate Justice Inside Organizer and a Facilitator for the Success Stories program in Soledad State Prison. He is now a dedicated community advocate who raises awareness about voting disenfranchisement and other issues that affect system impacted and formerly incarcerated men and women.

Hugo has said of his current commitments and work, “I am doing this work because I now recognize that we are all connected as human beings. Giving back is my restitution, it’s a responsibility I know that I have, living in this world.”

Lily Gonzalez

Administrative Coordinator

Lily was born and raised in the community of Florence-Firestone in South Central. She just graduated from California State University Northridge with a master’s degree in Chicana/o Studies. Previous to that she received her bachelor’s degree from CSUN in 2016. Lily’s focus is one that includes the challenges formerly incarcerated and convicted people face.

Lily is involved at the state and national level and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards for her work. She was selected as a fellow by JustLeadershipUSA (2017), she was a Rockwood Fellow (2018), and a Newman Civic Fellow (2018).

Lily comes to this work grounded in lived experience and intimate knowledge of the devastating impacts of criminalization and the carceral system. In 2015 she returned to CSUN to complete her degree, where she co-established Revolutionary Scholars, a student organization that has two goals. First, to help ensure that people do not return to a carceral space or are limited due to their previous involvement with the criminal legal system. Second, to imagine and help create a prison to school pipeline that can develop alternatives and crowd out prison to the point of being obsolete.

Lily continues to be active in her community of South Central, where she enjoys street tacos, and lives with her 6-year-old son Logan and 17-year-old daughter Alyssa Celeste.

Name

Meet Our Board

John Brady

Board Member

Mr. Brady works for Oaktree Capital as a managing director and head of the global Real Estate group. He serves as the portfolio manager for Oaktree’s Real Estate Opportunities, Income and Debt strategies. Prior to this, Mr. Brady was a Principle at Colony Capital, which he initially joined in 1991. He began his career working in various capacities of the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch. Mr. Brady holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A with concentrations in corporate finance and real estate from the University of California, Los Angeles. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Taylor Morrison Home Corporation and was formerly Chairman of the Board of Directors of Homeboy Industries.

Mia Angeli Martinez

Board Member

Mia Angeli Martinez is a born and raised Angelino. At the early age of 16, she began her work with young girls at a local YWCA teaching them various sporting activities as part of an after-school program. After graduating high school, she attended California State Polytechnic University studying Microbiology. Mia always had an affinity for entrepreneurship – something she learned from her father – which led to the development of her first business while she was both in school and working in a clinical laboratory. Having had a background in the family business of furniture manufacturing, she began a furniture resale company.

This led to yet another business where she started Mia Angeli Design which encompasses three branches, interior design/renovation for both residential and commercial spaces, sale of home and office furnishings as well as a video surveillance component. She is a certified vendor of video surveillance products for the Los Angeles Community College District as well as a supplier to Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk.

Mia has helped raise funds for impoverished schools in the East Los Angeles area, as well as raise both funds and awareness for Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission and Impacto, a youth segment of Proyecto Pastoral which provides academic enrichment, sports programs and field trips to children who are at great risk of not completing their education. She has also donated her time and organizational skills in creating community events in the East Los Angeles area.

The endless opportunities to reach several demographics of people struggling to create a better life for themselves, for their families is what drew Mia to the Meaning Foundation. She believes that The Meaning Foundation will give potential employees a sense of self-worth, dignity, a sense of humility, and a sense of pride in what they've been able to accomplish really understanding that they are a person of value. It is in giving that opportunity to people that Mia sees hope for our communities.

Henry Nevins

Board Member

Mr. Nevins has spent the last 32 years acquiring and renovating multifamily properties. He has been a Partner of NALS Apartment Homes and its previous iterations since 1984. To date, he has been the managing Partner in every one of the company's 98 Real Estate partnerships, including 96 in multifamily. Mr. Nevins has an MBA from the University of California at Los Angeles and a BA in History from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Bruce Karatz

Board Member

Born and raised in the Midwest, Bruce Karatz rose from a middle-class family to become chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Through it all, he has consistently contributed with philanthropic effors all over the world. Karatz is now the owner of BK Capital LLC and cofounder of Nafilyan & Partners, a Paris-based real estate development company. Karatz formed this company with Guy Nafilyan, his longtime associate at Kaufman & Broad.

Karatz's story begins in Chicago, Illinois, where he was born to a middle class Jewish family in 1945. The family would relocate to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he would spend his formative years as a son of a movie theater owner. After graduating from high school in 1963, he would head off for a bachelor's degree from Boston University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California. By 1970* his formal education was completed and he began working full-time.

The first major stage of Karatz's professional life began in 1972, when he would become associate general counsel for Kaufman & Broad. From 1972 to 2005, Karatz held numerous positions at the company, including CEO from 1986-2006. He was able to oversee the company during its peak performance, as it grew from a small, Southern California-based home building company to a Fortune 500 company known ail around the world as KB Home.

As enjoyable as his business career has been up to this point in his life, Karatz takes more pride in his philanthropic efforts all over the world. His first major effort centered around the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots in 1992 Karatz and Kaufman & Broad headlined the effort to rebuild Camp Holiywoodland for inner-city children. The rustic canyon retreat was ruined due to a fire during the riot, and thanks to the company's help rebuilding the main camp building, it was up and running soon after.

Many of his philanthropic efforts have taken place in Southern California, but the company also helped out extensively with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans during the mid-2000s, Throughout his tenure, Karatz served on many boards and made sure that the company always helped to improve surrounding areas in their times of needs.

Currently Karatz is married to Lilly Tartikoff, a cancer activist who co-founded the Revlon Run/Walk events in New York and Los Angeles each year. She herself has raised over $80 million for cancer research through her efforts. He has a total of three adult children, two stepchildren and six grandchildren.

Asher Gottesman

Board Member

Asher is a communicative and inventive administrator who has designed and implemented operations for several successful startup companies in the field of healthcare. Specifically, he has co-designing protocol and procedure for transitional living as well as administrative policy. He has also helped plan growth and development of several companies and strategized new revenue streams for relevant and helpful business.

Asher is an ordained Rabbi and the founder and Chief Executive Officer for Transcend Living Inc., Transcend Mentoring, Inc. and Westside Treatment.

David G. Ross, CFA

Board Member

Based in Miami, FL, Dave Ross is Managing Director and Group head of Stifel Nicolaus’ Global Transportation & Logistics Equity Research practice with a focus on the Truckload, Parcel, Air Cargo/Truck Leasing, LTL, and Intermodal sectors. He speaks regularly at industry conferences and advises supply chain leaders and executives of both public and private carriers, shippers, and 3PLs on operations and strategy.

His past awards include ranking #1 in stock picking multiple times in the Wall Street Journal’s Best on the Street Analysts Survey and in Financial Times/StarMine America’s Top Analysts report.

Mr. Ross joined Stifel in 2005. Before joining the firm, he was an analyst with Legg Mason Capital Markets, worked briefly in the industry at RailWorks Corp., and began his career as an analyst in the global investment banking division of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

Mr. Ross received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and is a CFA charterholder. In addition, he is an Advisor to PICKUP Now, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for the Carson Scholars Fund and for The Humane Society of Greater Miami and is a founding partner with SVP Miami.

Sky Kelley

Board Member

Sky Kelley is Founder & CEO of Avisare, a company she began out of a desire to eradicate wealth and income inequality along racial and gender lines. Long an entrepreneur at heart, she held executive-level roles at Disney & ESPN and AT&T after founding her first start-up. Sky began her career on Wall Street, completing a graduate training program with UBS and assumed roles in Derivative Sales and Equity Sales-Trading covering technology, media and telecom in New York and London. Sky sits on the board of the LA Cleantech Incubator Diversity & Inclusion Committee as well as being a part of the Milken Institute’s Partnership for Lending in Underserved Markets (PLUM) Task Force. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied Entrepreneurship.

Rose Shoen

Board Member

Rose Shoen serves on the investment committee of the JPS private office, specializing in analyzing PE and VC projects. Prior to her role at JPS, she owned and operated her own small business in Sparks, Nevada, Soccer Academy LLC, after that Rose briefly managed a soccer arena in Sacramento CA, Estadio Azteca. Additionally, she worked at U-Haul in the sales and translation departments. She also was an assistant coach at Folsom Lake College with the women’s soccer program in 2015 and with the FLC men’s program in 2016. Coaching and mentoring players is one of her passions in life, and she credits the game of soccer for shaping her to be the leader, businesswoman, and mentor she is today.
Rose is actively involved in her community of Sacramento, California, is the director of coaching for Azteca FC, the adult and youth soccer club she founded in 2013. Mrs. Shoen earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of California, Davis, she earned her associate degree in Social Sciences from Sacramento City College. Rose is a nationally licensed soccer coach (National “C”) under US Soccer and is also a licensed personal trainer. Rose is the only female owner and coach managing a franchise in the United Premier Soccer League, a national men’s soccer league with over 100 franchises nationwide. She is also the only female coach, owner, and manager to ever earn promotion to play in the Premier division of the San Francisco Soccer Football League, the longest standing men’s soccer league in the USA, it was founded in 1902. It is the only promotion and relegation men’s league in the USA and is a three-division league, Rose’s team, Azteca FC, earned back to back promotions in 2017 and 2018 and is currently contending for a playoff position in the 2019 season.
Using her unique skill set of fluency in Spanish and English, management skills, and passion for helping others succeed, she focuses on assisting the players and families she works with, mentoring them on and off the field toward success.
Rose is a semi-professional soccer player and competes for the club Primero De Mayo, based out of Sacramento, within the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The WPSL is the longest standing and largest women’s soccer league in the world with over 115 franchises. She was selected to WPSL All star in 2016 and WPSL Pacific North All Conference player in 2018. She helped lead her team to playoffs in 2019 as captain, she started all conference games and the playoff games. Rose is also a current member of Mensa and believes in promoting educational opportunities for students of all social economic backgrounds, through donations of her time and finical resources to local scholarship programs in Sacramento.