Our Own is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded on the principle that you can’t solve a problem with a single solution. Our communities have a long history of socioeconomic injustices that have created generational disparities; making it a challenge to advance in society. Our mission is to dismantle these systemic barriers and create the access needed in nutrition, education, entrepreneurship, maternal health, mental and physical fitness to further bridge the gap to ensure racial equity and social justice.
Meet Our Founders
Social Entrepreneurs and Cultural Producers Dustin Young & Lee Johnson founded and have led Our Own since 2018. With a wealth of experience, both are hyper focused on consistent impact for underserved communities.
Our Own has revolutionized the nonprofit sector and refined what wellness, mental health, and entrerpenurialism look like in BIPOC communities by identitfying pressure points and trauma the youth face and implementing solutions that foster a macro impact with a micro approach.
“Our Own is a nonprofit organization where we take a multifaceted approach to focus on the whole body and everything within our community.”
Dustin's commitment to community building was inspired by his grandfather, who taught him the importance of leaving a positive impact on the world and the power of unity. He saw firsthand the impact that one person could have on their community and the difference it could make.
A degree in Psychology and Sociology gives Dustin a unique perspective and insight into the behavioral patterns and traumas that plague inner-city youth. Through his work with various nonprofit organizations, he has gained a deep understanding of the importance of non-traditional engagement strategies that reduce stigmas related to mental, physical, and emotional health. His approach is not only effective but also charismatic, which enables him to inspire and mobilize individuals and organizations towards a common goal.
What sets Dustin and Our Own apart from other community development leaders is his ability to see beyond the current moment and envision a brighter future for the youth. His ultimate goal is to create legacies that sustain success for generations to come by providing access to resources and opportunities that facilitate growth and trajectory shifts in individuals' lives. His passion and drive for this work are infectious.
Dustin believes that creating this ecosystem with Our Own allows him to get into communities, into family's homes, into the schools, and connect directly with the youth to actually help provide solutions. Taking the individualized approach is not just efficient, it’s relatable.
Growing up on the East Coast in areas plagued by violence and poverty led Lee and his family to live in homeless shelters. Lee learned the importance of giving back to the community early. Shortly after he was adopted by his grandparents who helped him understand that giving to those in need was a privilege, never a burden.
As the co-founder of Our Own, Lee continues to work towards developing community programming in Los Angeles and across the country. His background in brand development and marketing has enabled him to use his business experience to positively impact the community and influence the entrepreneurial mindset of his mentees. Lee's unique perspective on life and his understanding of the struggles of living in abhorrent conditions make him a valuable asset to the community. His belief that "you have to be able to see yourself in a space in order to have the confidence to be there." is a driving force behind Our Own's mission.
Lee and Dustin believe that while large nonprofits often do great work, locally-based organizations like Our Own are uniquely capable of building strong, self-sustaining foundations within their communities by working closely with community members and tailoring programs to meet local needs that have a lasting impact on the community.
"We aren't 'making any kid better.' We're giving them the access to do everything that they have ever dreamed. I think those little micro moments, that's where you can really inspire a kid and that's where you can make a difference in their life."
As an entrepreneur and thought leader Lee's story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of restoring communities by laying the foundation brick by brick. Lee's dedication to empowering the youth is reflected in the programs and initiatives offered by Our Own, which aim to promote mental health and wellness, build self-esteem, and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.