Our Mission

RowLA combines intensive rowing activities with individualized academic support to empower girls in the city of Los Angeles to pursue excellence in all dimensions of their lives. RowLA engages girls from underserved communities in the Los Angeles area, offering them intensive rowing activities, academic tutoring and college counseling as a means of encouraging them to become student-athletes, confident in their abilities to make wise choices for themselves and those they affect.

Our History
The founders of RowLA were all Masters rowers in Marina del Rey. While training, they noticed the lack of diversity among young rowers in the marina waters. At the same time, they became aware of the opportunities for young high school female rowers as they moved toward the college application process.

Knowing that the sport of rowing offered fitness, camaraderie, emotional strength and leadership skills, the founders decided to create RowLA to afford these benefits to young girls in the LA public schools. Modeled after other successful outreach rowing programs, RowLA plans to start with a small but quality program and expand over time.

More Info
Founded in 2009. Mothers Beach – Palawan Way, Marina del Rey, California 90292.

RowLA is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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Awards and Recognition

2012 - US Rowing Anita DeFrantz Award Winner
2012 - Finalist LASVP Social Innovation Fastpitch Competition


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  • Women in Los Angeles County have a 20.3% high school drop-out rate
  • Low income areas provide few sport opportunities for our youth to grow
  • Female dropouts earn less than ¼ of females with Bachelor’s degrees
  • There are more than 2,000 college scholarships available annually for girls who row
  • The non-profit “RowLA” was founded in September 2009
  • RowLA is the only athletic and academic program working with urban high school girls
  • Our program focuses on making a deep impact with the 125 girls we serve annually through our camps and competitive team
  • Three times more girls try out than can be accepted into the program
  • The girls are taught how to row and when they are not on the water, they are provided academic support, college counseling and nutrition awareness sessions
  • The girls have tutoring sessions on Saturdays and rowing instruction Mondays-Thursdays and Saturday mornings
  • RowLA girls race in regattas, visit college campuses and give back to the community by teaching rowing at the Los Angeles Junior Blind Olympics and volunteering at One Voice and the Christmas in July program
  • The RowLA competitive team is comprised mainly of minority students and there are six seniors now being recruited to college crew teams from Seattle to Boston
  • In 2013-14, the RowLA girls will be attending: Smith College, Connecticut College, Cal State Long Beach, UC Merced, Sacramento State College and Loyola Marymount University
  • RowLA provides important life skills including improved nutrition, physical fitness, discipline, determination, teamwork, better grades and maintaining a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-worth
  • Rowing provides girls with exercise, fun, life-long friendships, competition and a chance to get scholarships to competitive colleges
  • 100% of RowLA girls matriculate to four year colleges and most receive full scholarship support
For me, RowLA has not only been a team I am involved with, but a way of living this past 3 years of my life. RowLA is the reason why I am staying in this country for college, because they are the ones who have opened new opportunities to me and my career in the future. RowLA has been my life this past 3 years, from being active and involved in an excellent sport, to my personal life and friendships, to my academics. Being part of RowLA is not only going and doing our best at practice, but keeping good grades and focusing on school as well. In order to be able to race we have to have good grades, and I think this is an excellent way and motivation for us to do well in school and stay organized. This is how RowLA has helped me with time-management skills, because I learned how to work things out before, during, and after practice. As a sport, RowLA has helped me stay fit and healthy, and having a balanced life with the exact amount of sport, social life, and school life. Through RowLA I have met my closest and best friends, which I could not have met if it weren’t for me being part of the team. I realized that the friends I make on this team are my long-lasting friends, since we have been through everything together. I have met the best coaches and mentors, and people who I know will always be proud of me and with me on everything. I believe connections in this world are everything, and through the team I have been able to meet different people, from different backgrounds and places, some of which have been the reason why I am going to college. If it weren’t for me joining the team I would have thought college was not for me, but my coaches on the team helped me open my eyes and see all the opportunities I have, and realize that I am, just like any other citizen, able to go to college and succeed in this country. RowLA has been my “everything” this past 3 years, and I could not see my life without being a part of this family.
Mariana, RowLA Senior
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RowLA has been an excellent opportunity for me and I can only recommend it highly to others. The RowLA program has helped me in every aspect of my life from weight loss, to improved nutrition to developing self-confidence to getting into college. My family has benefitted from being involved in RowLA and they have made improvements in their lifestyles as well. My mother exercises daily now and my younger brother is making efforts to eat better and stay active. Through my four years with RowLA, I have focused on maintaining strong academics and improving my athletic abilities. I have been encouraged to try difficult academic courses and seek highly competitive internship opportunities. I am so blessed to be a part of RowLA and have every intention of helping the nonprofit by giving back to those girls who will be a part of the program after I graduate. I hope more girls join and have the wonderful experience I did!
Michelle, RowLA Senior