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  • Writer's pictureAdriana Aguilar

Investing in community for long-term impact

Para leer en español, haga clic aquí­.

My hope is to have a beauty supplies store here in Santa Monica to help bridge needs in the community.” Kimberley Herron applied for a  Wellbeing Microgrant with this vision back in 2019. .

Herron understood the need of the African American and mixed culture community in Pico neighborhood to: have a place in their community to buy beauty products specific to their hair identity and not travel far out from home to do so. With the support of the Wellbeing Microgrant Program,  she began to make her vision reality by launching her first and successful pop-up store of beauty products. Her lively pop up event reached community members, university students, city officials, and local agencies.

Herron has since solidified herself as a multi-talented local entrepreneur, piloting her ideas into economic opportunities. She has uplifted her culture through bringing soul food to the Pico Farmers Market. Her business “Queens and Kings” is set to be part of the Pico Roots Marketplace,” a local hub of homegrown, small, and micro businesses supporting local creators and managed by Community Corporation of Santa Monica in collaboration with Pico Neighborhood stakeholders. 

The marketplace will host a range of makers, from fresh pantry staples to sustainable children’s wear. Yet the success of Kimberley and the establishment of Pico Roots Marketplace didn’t happen overnight; It took a community engagement process to identify and create thriving local spaces and opportunities for individuals like Kimberley to develop their leadership. These efforts began in part with the Pico Wellbeing Project, a collaborative effort of the community, Santa Monica’s Office of Civic Wellbeing, the Planning and Community Development Department, and the Santa Monica Public Library.

Community workshops were offered where residents, business owners and other stakeholders in the Pico neighborhood had an opportunity to address the most pressing challenges the community faces. Ideas, such as the Pico Roots Marketplace and the Wellbeing Microgrant Program, now stewarded by the HRC, were generated. By being intentional about hearing and acting to the voices of the most vulnerable and directly affected, investments and creative solutions have been made to improve economic and cultural opportunities in the Pico neighborhood of Santa Monica and beyond.

Through the Wellbeing Microgrant Program, Herron benefitted from a platform that offered to partner with key entities who continued to recognize and lift up her leadership over the years. Herron has strengthened her network, and has been of inspiration for others to continue in creating access and meet the immediate needs of the African American community. Herron’s impact is an example in many forms of how investing in community leaders can create long-term impact not only for the individual but collective.

The HRC is committed to fair treatment, inclusion, and equitable opportunities. We listen and take action by continuing engaging and supporting community members through creative ideas and partnerships

How do you invest in your community?


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