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'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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Meet Our Board
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.
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 is an ordained Rabbi and the founder and Chief Executive Officer for Transcend Living Inc., Transcend Mentoring, Inc. and Westside Treatment.
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.
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.