ENCOMPASS was founded in 2004 by a small group of experts in the fields of intergroup relations, youth development, and arts education. The mission was to spark compassion, personal responsibility and an appreciation of differences among California teenagers. Founder/Executive Director Lori Nelson and other founding staff and board members designed and implemented youth programs at the National Conference for Community and Justice in Los Angeles for many years before leaving to form the new organization.
In 2014, ENCOMPASS merged with the Western Justice Center, together they offer a range of programs for youth and adults designed to build a more civil, peaceful society where differences are valued.
The extraordinary people who helped develop ENCOMPASS include members of the Board of Directors, Ellyn McCoy, Thomas A. Saenz, Angela Weimer, Steven Jones, Barbara Dunn, Al Hassas, Scott Lee, Zeke Zeidler, Rodney Lazar, Loura Alaverdi, Asha Dhillon, Gotham Chopra and Joe Flannery. Staff members Juliana Serrano, Ben Wright, Lex Steppling, Jenna Delgado, Katherine Murphy. Adjunct Staff, Dani Bedau, Kevin Blake, Lecia Brooks, DeLanna Studi, Bernardo Badillo, Diane Flinn, Sandy Adams, Susan Beaglehole- Goldberg, Peter Howard Rose Portillo, Lloyd Wilke, Yvette Robles, Jose Cano, Anita Jain, David Nevell, Lui Amador, Raquel Bernardo and many others.