About Us

James Washington, Shelter37 Founder

James Washington, Shelter37 Founder

SHELTER 37, was founded by James Washington in 1993 as a not-for-profit public benefit corporation that provides highly effective life skills, job training and educational programs to youth in southern California.

SHELTER 37, seeks to improve the overall well being of children and young adults whose lives have been affected or disrupted by crime, violence, or abandonment and as a result, are more at-risk of turning to gangs, crime, drugs, or becoming withdrawn, antisocial, or socially inept.

Fundraising events occur throughout the year to support our mission. Popular events, such as the annual Battle of the Greens Golf Classic, are enjoyable ways to spend the day while making an indelible impact on the lives of those served by Shelter 37. Other fundraising events help fund additional programs and community activities such as: Institute for Aspiring Leaders, Champs for Life- Life Skills Program, and Back to the Basics Youth Football Camps in coordination with the UCLA football program, tickets and transportation to UCLA home football games in support of the “I’m Going to College” youth outreach program, Say “Yes” To Life healthy living program, and the annual Holiday Toy Giveaways for children in need.

“James Washington taught me how to think outside the box; beyond football, beyond my culture. Before James entered my life, getting my college degree didn’t cross my mind. Now, I can’t imagine not being able to tell people that I have a degree from UCLA.”

Reggie Carter UCLA Grad 2010, former NFL athlete

Mission & Vision


Welcome to Shelter 37, our organization exists solely to empower the lives of young people so they can fully participate in society, as successful and thoughtful leaders who are socially-conscious contributors of their communities.

The mission of Shelter 37 was inspired by the personal journey of its founder, James Washington, whose life experiences are a story of triumph over adversity. Under James’ leadership, Shelter 37 attempts to address the root cause of school and personal challenges by providing guidance and support that is rooted in compassion and a deep understanding of the difficult environments in which many young Angelenos find themselves.

Shelter 37 does this by implementing a values-based, real-world curriculum that assists students in setting goals that can be immediately applied to their own lives as students, employees, parents, community leaders, and strong, empowered individuals.

“With guidance from Shelter 37’s James Washington, my son has a deeper understanding of how to build a network of support that will help him achieve his goals today, tomorrow, and for future success. I am incredibly grateful for James’ insight and desire to mentor my son, along with so many other young people, who directly benefit from his knowledge and experience. Thank you!”

Lori Barr parent of Anthony Barr, UCLA student-athlete

“When we first met, James saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. He supported me through everything and played a large role in me becoming the man I am today.”

Jonathan Franklin UCLA Grad 2013 & All-time leading rusher Current NFL Athlete

Facts & Figures

Since 1993, Shelter 37 has directly served over 10,000 youth in Southern California.
  • Shelter 37 Founder James Washington has mentored 96 young men, guiding them through their college careers. With James’ personal approach to goal-setting, planning, and education, 90% of the young men graduated with their college degrees!
  • Champs for Life has been taught in the Norwalk-LaMirada School District to elementary school students, and the Youth Authority Facilities in California.
  • Since 2004, Shelter 37 Youth Football Camps has provided 4,500 youth from the inner-city a free opportunity to learn from and train with Division I college coaches.
  • The “I’m Going to College” program has taken 5000 young people to college football games at The Rose Bowl, exposing them to a college atmosphere and experience. For many of the participating youth, this is their first interaction with college life, which affords them a opportunity to start setting goals beyond high school!

Board of Directors

John Manuck
Chairman of the Board, Founder and CEO of Techmer PM, established 1981. Mr. Manuck is also Chairman of Techmer Engineered Solutions (TES), a subsidiary of Techmer PM. John’s professional and philanthropic associations include The Salvation Army Compton Corps Advisory Board member and Chairman; guest lecturer at the UCLA Anderson School of Management; and various presentation at conferences held in North America, South America, and the Middle East.

Greg Geiser
Board Member, Founder, President, and CEO of Wedgewood Enterprise Corporation, a private holding company focusing on the acquisition, rehab and sale of residential real estate in over 10 states.

Terry Donahue
Board Member, former American football player, coach, and executive, and currently a football analyst. He served as head football coach at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1976 to 1995. Mr. Donahue is on the Board of Directors for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is given annually to college football’s defensive IMPACT player.

Myrna Brutti
Board Member, and Principal of Wilmington Middle School in Wilmington, CA, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mrs. Brutti’s commitment to give back to her community led her to become a member of the Chicano Leadership Conference. As a member, she volunteers alongside other educators, members of the community, and college students to support the postsecondary aspirations of Latino high school students attending schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Jennifer Lewis, Esq.
Board Member, and attorney licensed to practice law in the state of California. Lewis is a key synergy partner with Disney business segments, coordinating on talent-related matters, merchandising rights, music licensing issues, trademark registration and administration.

Mark Panfil
Board Member, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor for RBC Wealth Management, and Registered Player Financial Advisor of the NFL Players Association. Provides client education through seminars, monthly periodicals, and monthly market outlook meetings. Mr. Panfil is also a member of the Peterson Automotive Museum and Checkered Flag 200, and is a proud sponsor of the Norris Theater of the Arts and the Palos Verdes Education Foundation.

Yvonne Randle
Board Member, and Executive Vice-President at Management Systems. Ms. Randle’s expertise includes facilitating the strategic planning process, helping companies manage their corporate culture, and developing effective organizational structures and performance management systems. Yvonne is a very experienced and highly effective designer and provider of management and leadership programs.

Our Partners

We are proud to work closely with the following industry leaders, corporations, and small businesses, who believe in Shelter 37’s mission to empower young people so they can fully participate in society as successful, thoughtful, and socially-conscious contributors of their communities

Techmer PM

Eureka! Restaurant

Wedgewood Enterprises

RBC Wealth Management