Residents will teach classes on financial wellness, sell Oaxacan crafts and market small businesses in a “Buy Pico” campaign using $500 grants from the city of Santa Monica.

Six people were selected to create economic development projects through the city’s Wellbeing Microgrants program, which launched last fall with a focus on building community in the historically underserved Pico neighborhood. The second round of projects includes jewelry-making classes, a pop-up beauty supply store and hair parlor, and economic empowerment workshops for middle schoolers.

The six projects were chosen from 14 applications submitted earlier this spring and will take place over the summer, concluding in September.

“There are phenomenal ideas in the Santa Monica community and through the microgrants, the city is able to help residents bring their ideas to life,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “These projects form connections, nurture entrepreneurship, develop business acumen and will ultimately bring residents together.”

Each project takes a different approach to supporting economic opportunity with common themes around financial empowerment, support for small businesses and getting creative start-up businesses off the ground, said city spokesperson Constance Farrell. The leaders of each project will also measure how well they are meeting their goals by surveying participants and tracking progress.

Two of the projects will provide financial education, but grantees Somya Munjal and Linda Myers plan to work with very different populations. While Munjal will run an afterschool workshop at John Adams Middle School, Myers will conduct a 12-session financial improvement class for people on parole and probation and domestic violence victims.

Munjal is the founder of Youthful Savings, which offers online classes in economic empowerment and leadership skills for teenagers. She plans to bring her platform to John Adams, said Catalina Langen, the Office of Civic Wellbeing’s community engagement coordinator.

Myers will hold her classes in partnership with different banks in Santa Monica and the city’s probation office and domestic violence shelter, Langen said.

“She’s really trying to focus on those populations who are the most vulnerable and could use this type of structures as they’re trying to figure out what their next steps are,” Langen said.

Three of the projects aim to launch small businesses.

Inés Garcia is using her $500 grant to set her business selling Oaxacan jewelry, pots, purses and scarves in motion, Monika Armendariz will teach Pico residents how to make and sell jewelry in stores around the city and Kimberley Herron is holding a pop-up beauty supply store and parlor to kick off a business selling Black hair products, which are hard to find in Santa Monica.

Langen said Herron’s one-day event at the Thelma Terry Center will bring in local hairstylists and feature a barbershop section, a kids’ hairstyling station and a braiding station. Herron will also sell her hair products.

“Her long-time vision would be to have permanent space,” Langen said.

Marco Marin’s project will connect the entire Pico business community through a “Buy Pico” campaign. Businesses on the boulevard will be advertised throughout the city, Langen said. Marin also completed a project for the first round of microgrants.

“Marco’s vision is to have big pictures of business owners across town as a way to look at who these people are, how established they are in the community and how you can support them,” Langen said.

Correction: The original version incorrectly stated the Wellbeing Microgrants program is funded by a $1 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies. In fact, Bloomberg gave $1 million to launch the Wellbeing Project.

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