In 1992, while observing the events surrounding the Rodney King civil unrest, founders Gary and Marjorie Krauss (above) conceived of an agency with a unique formula for leadership development that would partner with churches to alleviate poverty and violence.

In discussion with pastors of diverse backgrounds, the Ascending Lights approach was designed to serve the poorest areas of Los Angeles where churches often lacked the educated volunteers necessary to lead community outreach programs.

In these communities, many young people fell into gangs or other criminal activity. However, with trained and effective volunteer leadership, local churches could teach positive social values and encourage higher education. And, through local community colleges, young people could break out of the cycle of poverty and violence and prepare for university studies.

Today, Ascending Lights works with 11 community colleges and 61 partner churches throughout Los Angeles County to educate leaders and support Churches in their effort to end poverty and violence.

Our students choose from a range of options to complete career programs, earn Associate's degrees, and credits to transfer to four-year colleges or universities. Students also receive urban ministry tools and training.