Innovation Echo Alliance (IEA) is a nonprofit organization that facilitates and strengthens collaboration between community-based causes and institutions..
Formerly known as Kariz Kids Youth Enrichment Services, IEA was created by Marcel “Kariz” Martin as a response to a need for programming in schools that used art, and specifically music, as a creative tool for learning.
Today, IEA has evolved into a provider of services and a facilitator of collaboration for individuals, organizations, and communities by leveraging partnerships across a variety of industries. Our major focus is in simplifying the process through which disadvantaged and low-income populations can access the same resources as their counterparts in other demographics. Presently, IEA is addressing these disparities in the technology field by leveraging the effects that free technology and devices (#ieafreetech!) can have on the DMV’s most at need students via its TECHGAP initiative.
In Marcel’s work as a producer, youth educator, and program facilitator, he noticed a lack of such programming in the communities around him, and took the initiative to build an organization that could address this absence. With funding being the number one issue causing organizations and schools in marginalized areas across the country to not have access to such programming, Marcel saw a gap that need to be filled.
This gap included a lack of access to evidence-based enrichment programs, a lack of connections to resources in the creative industries, and a strong need for the voices of youth to be heard.
IEA operates in three domains: public education, public health, and public justice. IEA is a firm believer in the power of collaboration, and recognizes that anything truly impactful on a broad-scale cannot be done alone. Inspired by its roots in community-driven initiatives, IEA’s approach to addressing the major obstacles within these domains is based on its “Alliance Model”.
The “Alliance” represents a group of like-minded individuals, organizations, nonprofits, companies, and governmental agencies all committed to tackling the disparities present in the above three domains. IEA facilitates and strengthens collaboration between community-based causes and the above-mentioned institutions, while providing services related to said causes.