The Friendship Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2007, which works to transform the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is building out a new $55-million innovative school campus in the South Bay. Currently, the Foundation operates 77 inclusive school-sanctioned Friendship Clubs in 22 school districts, 60+ social, athletic, and life-skills programs a month, and a 6-week summer camp for ages 8-35+.  In Los Angles County alone, approximately 15% of children age 17 and under have some form of special need and accommodation needed. With the need increasingly evident, the Friendship Campus will provide opportunities for all abilities to learn, explore, and find their place.

CourtyardFriendship Foundation / Gensler

The Friendship Campus, now under construction, is rising from a 3.25-acre site at 850 S. Inglewood Avenue which is owned by the Redondo Beach Unified School District and previous location of the Franklin Elementary School. Adjacent to the charming Franklin Park, the design purposely integrates and elevates the neighborhood while striving to transform lives. What is inside matters most. 

Designed by Gensler, the new campus will consist of a 62,000-square-foot building which will serve persons with special needs, while also enriching the lives of their families, volunteers, and eventually society at large. 

“The Foundation wanted a design that embraced the children," said Gensler global co-chair Andy Cohen at the project's topping out ceremony. "It’s about love and warmth. A place of learning and growth, and transformation in a safe and inclusive environment. A life-learning center that embraces the community and all the Los Angeles region."

Reception and cafeFriendship Foundation / Gensler

The campus is thoughtfully designed with two interactive courtyards, unified by a single, upward-sweeping landscaped roof intended to be at one with its surroundings. Inside, the facility will provide learning space for children, a community center, vocational exploration and training, and therapeutic offerings for persons of all ages.

Completion of the campus is expected by Fall 2025.

Project elements include an expansive creative arts studio (providing a digital studio with training in graphic design, coding, game design, visual arts, craftswork, and music), a comprehensive culinary arts academy, an essential life-skills center, a recreation center, a financial empowerment academy, and multigenerational mentoring opportunities. The full list of vocational programs to be provided includes career pathways and work experience programs in the technology, media, hospitality, retail, culinary, office, educational, trades, and financial industries.

Creative studioFriendship Foundation / Gensler

In addition to post-secondary vocational programs, the Campus will be home to  the special needs (18-22 year olds) transition program for Redondo Beach Unified School District (RBUSD) and serve as the new headquarters for the Friendship Foundation.

More information can be found here: