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Mayor London Breed Announces Nearly $2 Million in Grants for San Francisco Nonprofit Organizations

All 11 of this year’s NSI grantees provide vital services and resources to low-income residents. Eight of the organizations have Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, or immigrant leadership.

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Eleven organizations have received awards designed to protect and expand essential services for people experiencing mental health challenges and homelessness, provide support for low-income and first-generation college students, and create culturally responsive music, dance, and arts access at an affordable housing site in the Mission.

     Mayor London N. Breed, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and Community Vision made the announcement on Saturday about $1.96 million in transformative awards for San Francisco nonprofit organizations.

    The space acquisition and lease stabilization grants are part of San Francisco’s Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI), which helps stabilize nonprofits that provide services and support to residents as part of the response to COVID-19 and beyond. 

    With these awards, the NSI surpasses a milestone, seeding the acquisition of more than 150,000 square feet of newly nonprofit-owned space for organizations that serve low-income residents and are deeply rooted in historically underserved communities and communities of color. 

    All 11 of this year’s NSI grantees provide vital services and resources to low-income residents. Eight of the organizations have Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, or immigrant leadership.

 

    “This past year has shown us just how important it is that our local San Francisco nonprofit organizations have the tools and resources they need to provide essential services,” said Breed. “The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative has supported the acquisition of critical community spaces throughout San Francisco. This round of funding will help strengthen organizations that are trusted and deeply rooted in their communities so they can recover and emerge even stronger than before the pandemic.”

 

    These funds are especially critical for ensuring San Francisco’s nonprofit organizations are able to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide critical services and resources for San Franciscans. 

    For example, in 2019, NSI funds supported the purchase of the property at 701 Alabama St., which was quickly activated last year by the Latino Task Force to distribute food and COVID-19-related assistance to some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents.

 

    This round of NSI awards includes $1 million for the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation to acquire permanent space that will be shared with organizations doing complementary work for people experiencing homelessness or seeking mental health and substance abuse services. 

    Three past NSI awardees, La Cocina, Planned Parenthood, and Mission Kids, opened new facilities this week. A fourth awardee, Community Youth Center of San Francisco, plans to break ground later this spring.

 

     The underlying objective of all NSI programs is to ensure access to quality-of-life resources as well as education, health, and human services for residents of San Francisco, and real estate assistance is a cornerstone of the program. 

 

2021 Nonprofit Sustainability Awardees

 

     Bayview Hunters Point Foundation will use its $1 million awards to catalyze a capital campaign and purchase space at 5815 3rd Street in the Bayview. The 20,470 square foot space will include shared space for organizations offering complementary services, making it easier for clients and their families to access support.

 

     “Bayview Hunters Point Foundation has provided support and empowerment for San Francisco’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised residents since 1971,” said Bayview Hunters Point Foundation Board President Susan Watson. “The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative acquisition grant will serve as the lead gift for our 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign, making it possible for us to purchase the building we’ve long called home. From this stable base of operations, we will continue to serve those most in need—for the next 50 years and beyond.”

 

     Cultura y Arte Nativa de las Américas was awarded $250,000 to cover renovation costs and $75,000 to pay for architectural and engineering services in support of its new community arts space in the Mission District. 681 Florida Street will be CANA’s first permanent home and will be used for dance rehearsals/performances, recording studio/beat-making lessons, music lessons, marketplace activities, and community events and meetings.

 

     “Funding for our future, permanent art space in the Mission District will bring long-term stability for CANA-Carnaval San Francisco and hundreds of artists, positively impacting our ability to focus on programming and development. This support will help preserve our community and city’s vibrant artistic culture for generations to come,” said Roberto Hernandez, Artistic Director, and Executive Producer.

 

     Japanese Community Youth Council received an award of $83,500 to support the repair and replacement of items required by the relocation of its college access programs to 1710 Octavia Street. The new site will be used to offer academic support and college advising for low-income, first-generation college students. While services are offered onsite at schools throughout San Francisco, the 1710 Octavia site will be used for afterschool, evening, weekend, and summer activities.

 

     “JCYC is extremely pleased to be awarded a relocation grant from the San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative which will make it possible for our organization to move into new, long-term program space.  We are grateful for the opportunity to utilize these resources to create the most welcoming and safest environment for the children and youth we serve,” said Jon Osaki, Executive Director of the Japanese Community Youth Council.

 

     Other 2021 awardees include Bay Area Video Coalition, Charity Cultural Services Center, Children’s Book Project, Chinese Historical Society of America, Kultivate Labs, Larkin Street Youth Services, The Healing Well, and Youth Art Exchange.

 

     Grants are administered by Community Vision, which will announce the next request for acquisition proposals in June 2021 and offer several workshops with more information. Should funding be approved by the Board of Supervisors, the next round of applications for relocation and renovation grants will open in late 2021. Past program guidelines are available at communityvisionca.org/sfsustainability.. Information about past NSI awardees and current resources can be found at oewd.org/nonprofits.

This report is from the Mayor’s Office of Communication.

 

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Why Promoting Private Sector Investment in Electronic Vehicle Charging Market is Key

As Democrats debate their $2 trillion infrastructure package, there has already been a lot of discussion about provisions aimed at promoting EVs. I know Democratic leaders like Speaker Pelosi will ensure that these policies will effectively encourage the adoption of EVs, and one way to do that is to ensure free and fair competition in the EV charger market.

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The Biden Administration has expressed that one of their priorities is to facilitate more use of electric vehicles (EVs). Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said that “to meet the climate crisis, we must put millions of new electric vehicles on America’s roads.”
The Democratic Party is in agreement that EVs are a big part of the future of our transportation system and will be a huge component of their upcoming infrastructure package. But in the rush to move to electric cars, it is critical that Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ensure policies will be effective at aiding in the transition to EVs without putting the burden of this shift on already underserved communities.
One policy to avoid, for example, can be seen right here in California, where the California Public Utilities Commission approved utility companies to increase the rates on current customers to pay for the construction and operation of EV infrastructure.
Given that EVs are also not an economically viable option for most Americans, the people who will benefit most from these charging stations are those who can afford the EVs’ more expensive sticker price – which is wealthier Americans. On average, an EV costs nearly $20,000 more upfront than gas-powered vehicles. Yet the people who will be most burdened by an increase on their monthly electric bill to cover the cost for these EV chargers are already struggling families. Low-income families should not have to shoulder additional burdens for addressing climate change, particularly since wealthier people produce more carbon pollution.
And while utility companies have tried to downplay the increased costs on ratepayers, the utilities’ EV infrastructure projects have already run exceedingly over budget – meaning they have to charge their customers even more. For example, the public utility commission authorized $45 million for the first phase of “Power Your Drive,” which was a program established for utilities to build EV chargers. But by the time phase, one was complete, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) had spent $70.2 million — 55.5 percent more than authorized.
The fact that these utility companies went so over budget highlights another flaw with this policy. Because utilities can pass the costs of building and operating EV chargers onto those who already use their services, it is impossible for the private sector to compete against them. SDG&E running 50 percent over budget would mean lost market share and profits in the private sector. That is why private funds incentivize efficiency and cost savings.
Utilities using their current customers as piggy banks that they can dip into whenever needed removes the incentive to keep costs down, while also making it impossible for the private sector to compete in the EV charging market. And chasing away private sector investment will hamper the development and deployment of charging stations. That can’t be emphasized enough – going the SDG&E route will mean fewer charging stations and fewer EVs on the road, as well as higher costs for low-income consumers. It is truly a lose-lose proposition.
It is obvious that the private sector is key to fueling our current transportation sector, and competition keeps prices as low as possible for consumers. Free market competition and private sector investment would also help the EV charging market thrive if elected officials will let it.
As Democrats debate their $2 trillion infrastructure package, there has already been a lot of discussion about provisions aimed at promoting EVs. I know Democratic leaders like Speaker Pelosi will ensure that these policies will effectively encourage the adoption of EVs, and one way to do that is to ensure free and fair competition in the EV charger market.
Jaime Patino is a city councilman in Union City, CA, and represents the city on the Board of Directors of East Bay Community Energy. 

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TownConnect Initiative Wish Program Downpayment Assistance

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Oakland Program Distributes $500 to Families of Color

The assistance, which targets low-income families of color in the 426,000-population city, will last 18 months. Mayor Schaaf detailed that the money comes with “no-strings attached,” and recipients can use it as they please. “We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” Mayor Schaaf told the local ABC News station.

In the middle of a worldwide awakening to the centuries-old racism and oppression suffered by Black people, some African Americans finally see tangible assistance – even if the help isn’t characterized as reparations.

Oakland, Calif., Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the city would begin a guaranteed income project that would provide $500 per month to Black and Indigenous families.

The assistance, which targets low-income families of color in the 426,000-population city, will last 18 months.

Mayor Schaaf detailed that the money comes with “no-strings attached,” and recipients can use it as they please.

“We have designed this demonstration project to add to the body of evidence and to begin this relentless campaign to adopt a guaranteed income federally,” Mayor Schaaf told the local ABC News station.

The station reported that, for the project, the Oakland Resilient Families program has so far raised $6.75 million from private donors, including Blue Meridian Partners, a national philanthropy group.

The programs require residents have at least one child under 18 and income at or below 50 percent of the area median income – about $59,000 per year for a family of three.

Half the spots are reserved for people who earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty level or about $30,000 per year for a family of three, ABC reported. Participants are randomly selected from a pool of applicants who meet the eligibility requirements.

The report noted that Oakland’s project is significant because it is one of the most outstanding efforts in the U.S. so far, targeting up to 600 families. And it is the first program to limit participation strictly to Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.

Oakland, where 24 percent of the residents are Black, is among a growing list of municipalities providing financial payments to people of color – or reparations.

Evanston, Illinois, a city where 18 percent of its more than 74,500 residents are Black, approved the Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program, which provides up to $25,000 for housing down payments or home repairs to African Americans.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law historic legislation that paves the way for African Americans and descendants of slaves in the Golden State to receive reparations for slavery.

The bill, authored by California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, establishes a nine-person task force that will study the impact of the slave trade on Black people.

It does not commit to any specific payment, but the task force will make recommendations to legislators about what kind of compensation should be provided, who should receive it, and what form it would take.

“After watching [the presidential] debate, this signing can’t come too soon,” Newsom declared during a videoconference with lawmakers and other stakeholders, including the rapper Ice Cube, who championed the bill.

“As a nation, we can only truly thrive when every one of us has the opportunity to thrive. Our painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic institutions,” the governor stated.

Last summer, Asheville, a North Carolina city where Black people make up just 11 percent of the more than 92,000 residents, formally apologized for its role in slavery. The City Council voted unanimously to provide reparations to African American residents and their descendants.

“Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the City Council that voted 7-0 in favor of reparations.

“It is simply not enough to remove statutes. Black people in this country are dealing with systemic issues,” Young declared.

Asheville’s resolution doesn’t include monetary payments to African Americans but promises investments in areas where Black people face disparities.

Earlier this year, Congress debated H.R. 40, a bill that doesn’t place a specific monetary value on reparations but focuses on investigating and presenting the facts and truth about the unprecedented centuries of brutal enslavement of African people, racial healing, and transformation.

The bill would fund a commission to study and develop proposals for providing reparations to African Americans.

The commission’s mission includes identifying the role of federal and state governments in supporting the institution of slavery, forms of discrimination in public and private sectors against freed slaves and their descendants, and lingering adverse effects of slavery on living African Americans and society.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee, who sits on numerous House committees, including the Judiciary, Budget, and Homeland Security, has made the reparations legislation her top priority during the 117th Congress.

“I think if people begin to associate this legislation with what happened to the descendants of enslaved Africans as a human rights violation, the sordid past that violated the human rights of all of us who are descendants of enslaved Africans, I think that we can find common ground to pass this legislation,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee pronounced.

The project in Oakland targets groups with the city’s most significant wealth disparities.

According to CNN and per the Oakland Equality Index, the median income for White households in Oakland to be nearly three times that of Black homes.

“The poverty we all witness today is not a personal failure. It is a systems failure,” Schaaf remarked. “Guaranteed income is one of the most promising tools for systems change, racial equity, and economic mobility we’ve seen in decades.”

Two years ago, 100 residents in Stockton, California, began receiving unconditional $500 payments, CNN reported. Other initiatives in Newark, New Jersey, and Atlanta, Georgia, were launched as recently as 2020.

Former Stockton Mayor, Michael Tubbs, is the founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a network of advocating mayors founded in 2020.

Oakland Mayor Schaaf is also a founding member of the network.

“One of my hopes in testing out a guaranteed income is that other cities would follow suit, and I’m thrilled that Oakland is among the first,” Tubbs told CNN.

“By focusing on BIPOC residents, the Oakland Resilient Families program will provide critical financial support to those hardest hit by systemic inequities, including the pandemic’s disproportionate toll on communities of color.”

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