We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Gouché, co-founder of The Gouché Foundation and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
We are constantly inspired by minority, inner-city students who come from less than ideal situations yet push through their circumstances to pursue their dreams. While there are many obstacles in their way, they don’t let it stop them. Plainly put, resilience inspires us at The Gouché Foundation. We know there are students out there doing all they can and all they need is a little bit of support to help them reach their goals. You can help at https://www.
What should our readers know about your business?
My husband and I met in college. Like many of the students we serve, we both come from humble homes and paying for college was not an option our parents could afford. We had to completely rely on financial aid, grants, loans and working several jobs to cover tuition, books and housing. From couch surfing, to dropping classes and eating the same thing for a week, we’ve done it all. Having our first child in college and being married young added a whole other kind of struggle to the already present obstacles. Yet, we kept pressing on. We continued to self educate outside of college through YouTube University lol as well as attend workshops & events locally so that we could network and find opportunities.
Fast forward, by the grace of God, hard work, financial planning, and mentoring we both were able to create successful businesses – My husband in the real estate industry and me in the marketing industry. Looking back on what helped us succeed we realize it was a combination of our education, financial literacy, mentorship, and entrepreneurship. All of those things together were pivotal to us changing our circumstances.
In 2016 after reading several articles about the dropout rates for minority, low-income high school students in the Los Angeles Area (and the stats on those same inner-city youth attending college), we decided to do something about it! We put our heads together and immediately started thinking of ways to support these students on their journey to and through college. We brought on our longtime friend and active community member, Brian Hill as President and together began to spread the word on social media about raising money for their scholarship fund.
Since 2016 we have committed $100,000 to scholarships for inner-city youth through private funding, donors, partnerships with LMU and Bae6 + more, and we won’t stop there! Truly, one of our major goals is to be able to give more than $100,000 in one calendar year! We are currently seeking corporate partnerships so we can achieve this by the end of 2022.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’re based in Inglewood so we have to shout out some of our favorite Inglewood spots! If you’re coming into town and need to do a little bit of work in a quiet, beautiful place, we recommend heading over to LA CREATE SPACE and getting a day office. We are longtime users of their CoWorking space and have hosted scholarship events there. Don’t forget the coffee from HILLTOP COFFEE + KITCHEN while you’re working! And when lunchtime rolls around grab a sandwich from THE SAMMICHE SHOPPE. The Lucy Mae Air Fried Chicken Sammiche is our favorite. Yummy. We can’t forget about JAMZ creamery for dessert. Grab “The Jazz. It’s an Ice Cream Sandwich made with freshly baked cake and delicious JAMZ ice cream. You will absolutely need to work out after that! lol And good thing, because CLAUDINE COOPER has a gym right at LA CREATE SPACE called THE GRACE SPACE where you can work off that indulgent ice cream. You’ve never been to a workout like hers. See, Inglewood has got you covered!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We want to recognize God, our source! And our many donors and partners along the way. We appreciate you!