USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative

USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative

USC McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI)

What is the Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative?

The NAI is a rigorous, seven-year, pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare students from South and East Los Angeles for admission to a college or university, and to provide support for college academic persistence and efficacy through their first undergraduate degree.


Students participate in a program of after-school tutoring and Saturday morning classes. Parents also regularly attend a Family Development Institute program to create a 360-degree, hands-on approach to reinforce student academic goals and study habits, and to maximize a healthy home environment.

Where are we now?

The 2019-2020 school year marked a pivotal celebration for the NAI. We had the largest class of graduating scholars, a total of 94 high school seniors that included the first cohort from the east area of Los Angeles since our expansion began seven years ago. Every one of these scholars will attend college in the fall, increasing the number of NAI scholars graduating from our program to more than 1,200.

Despite school closures and social distancing, the NAI’s work with our scholars continues. The NAI team has risen to the challenge and developed program-wide remote learning and advisement, working directly with our scholars via Zoom meetings, telephone calls and email. Additionally, through an extremely generous gift from Bill and Leslie McMorrow, our senior scholars received computers to help them finish their last year of high school as successfully as possible.

The NAI is also committed to supporting our scholars, families and partner schools during this very difficult period. Our team is volunteering with LAUSD and neighborhood food distribution efforts. We have joined in collective action with local partners to support ongoing, weekly grocery distribution centers in both South L.A. and the east area of Los Angeles. We have also been able to assist countless families struggling with food insecurity by providing groceries, gift cards for additional food purchases, and vouchers and meals from local small businesses. We will continue to find ways to help our NAI families and local communities through this health and economic crisis.

As our students face even more obstacles on their journey to college, your support of the NAI is more crucial than ever. We recognize that all families are facing challenges during this unprecedented time, but if you can, please consider making a donation, all of which go directly to scholarships, food and resources for NAI students and families.