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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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Bay Area

Dream Fund: Entrepreneurs Can Apply for $10,000 Grants Through $35M State Program

Although a number of reports suggest that the outlook has begun to be more positive as the U.S. economy continues to bounce back defying the odds, and many Black businessowners have also become more optimistic, access to credit and technical support remain a challenge for many who had to dip into their own finances to keep their lights on.

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Everett Sands, CEO Lendistry. Lendistry photo. 
Everett Sands, CEO Lendistry. Lendistry photo. 

By Tanu Henry, California Black Media

Since 2017, there has been a 9.8% increase of new small businesses — firms with less than 500 employees — in the United States. Over the past two years alone, over 10 million applications were submitted to start new small businesses across the country, according to the Small Business Administration.

That growth trend is true for California, too, where there are about 4.1 million small businesses, the most in the country. Those companies make up 99.8% of all business in California and employ about 7.2 million people.

But for Black-owned and other minority owned small businesses across the country, there was a steep decline in numbers, almost 41%, due to the pandemic, a Census Population Survey found in 2020. During that same time, nearly 44% of minority-owned small businesses were at risk of shutting down, a Small Business Majority report found.

Although a number of reports suggest that the outlook has begun to be more positive as the U.S. economy continues to bounce back defying the odds, and many Black businessowners have also become more optimistic, access to credit and technical support remain a challenge for many who had to dip into their own finances to keep their lights on.

Recognizing the outsized contribution small businesses make to the health of the California economy and the hit many of the smallest of small business have taken during the pandemic, the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) has been making grants of up to $25,000 to small business in the state.

In its latest round of funding called the Dream Fund, which is now accepting applications on a rolling basis, CalOSBA has partnered with Lendistry, a Los Angeles-based, minority-led small business and commercial real estate lender to administer the $35 million grant portion of its program. The fund provides $10,000 to each small business that qualifies.

To become eligible, California-based small business owners will have to complete training at one of the centers run by the state’s Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) and receive a certificate.

“For the millions of Californians that have dreams of owning their own business, this grant coupled with one-on-one counseling and business expertise from hundreds of counselors at our eighty-seven Technical Assistance Centers, has the power to jumpstart their dreams,” says Tara Lynn Gray, director of CalOSBA.

Jay King, president and CEO of the Sacramento-based California Black Chamber of Commerce, says he applauds Gov. Gavin Newsom for understanding the historic systemic challenges minority businesses face and for “doing something about it.”

But giving Black businesses grants are not a “cure-all,” he says.

“It is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound if we don’t do more to really fix the problems small businesses face,” King explains. “Ninety-six percent of Black businesses are mini- or micro- that means they make less than $100,000 or less than $35,000 a year, respectively,” King continued. “Only 4% of our businesses earn more than $100,000 annually. We have to put more resources and technical support around these businesses.”

King says informing Black business owners about opportunities like the Dream Fund and making sure they know how to apply for or access the funding is critical to making sure the people who need the help gets it.

“You have to get down into our communities,” he said. “You have to reach people through groups that are plugged into our communities to get the word out. We do not hear about these kinds of programs enough. We definitely don’t benefit from them enough.”

Everett K. Sands, the CEO of Lendistry, says he is excited to help California’s new businesses access the capital they need to “begin on their journeys.

“Over the past two years, almost 10 million new businesses have been created in the U.S.,” he says. “With record numbers of new small businesses entering the marketplace, many of which are owned by women and minorities, programs like California Dream Fund pave the way for a more robust and equitable economy as these new businesses make the leap from employing just their founders to employing their communities.”

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Activism

Biden Administration Invests $145 Million in Re-Entry Programs for Formerly Incarcerated

According to a 2021 Stanford University Study, reentry programs in California have contributed to a 37% decrease in the average re-arrest rate over the period of a year.

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By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

After serving a 22-year sentence in a California prison, James Morgan, 51, found himself facing a world of opportunities that he did not imagine he would have as an ex-convict once sentenced to life for attempted murder.

Morgan, a Carson native, says he is grateful for a second chance at life, and he has taken full advantage of opportunities presented him through California state reentry and rehabilitation programs.

After completing mental health care for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Morgan was released from prison and granted parole in 2018.

“I did not expect what I found when I got out,” Morgan told California Black Media (CBM), explaining that he was fortunate to participate in a program for the formerly incarcerated in San Francisco.

“I was mandated by the courts to spend a year in transitional housing,” said Morgan. “Those guys walked us through everything. They made it really easy. It was all people I could relate to, and they knew how to talk to me because they used to be in the prison population —and they were from where we were from.”

Morgan says he also took lessons on anger management and time management.

Now, he is currently an apprentice in Local 300 Laborers Union, specializing in construction, after he participated in a pre-apprenticeship program through ARC (the Anti-Recidivism Coalition).

“Right now, I’m supporting my family,” Morgan said. “I’d say I’m doing pretty good because I hooked up with the right people.”

Supporters of criminal justice reform say Morgan’s success story in California is particularly encouraging.

Black men in the Golden State are imprisoned nearly 10 times the rate of their white counterparts, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. And just a little over a decade ago in 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States ordered California to reduce the number of inmates in its overcrowded prison system by 33,000. Of that population, nearly 30% were Black men even though they account for about 5% of the state’s population.

To help more formerly incarcerated people like Morgan get back on their feet after paying their debt to society, last month the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the federal government is investing $145 million over the course of the next fiscal year to support reentry programs across the country.

The Biden-Harris Administration also announced plans to expand federal job opportunities and loan programs, expand access to health care and housing, and develop and amplify educational opportunities for the formerly and currently incarcerated.

“It’s not enough to just send someone home, it’s not enough to only help them with a job. There’s got to be a holistic approach,” said Chiraag Bains, deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council on Racial Justice and Equity.

Bains told CBM that that reentry programs help establish an “incarceration-to-employment pipeline.”

The White House announced the programs late last month as President Joe Biden commuted the sentences of 75 people and granted pardons to another three, including Abraham Bolden, the first Black Secret Service agent on White House detail.

Bolden had been sentenced to 39 months in prison in 1964 for allegedly attempting to sell classified Secret Service documents. He has always maintained his innocence.

“Today, I granted pardons to three people and commuted the sentences of 75 people. America is a nation of laws, but we are also a nation of second chances, redemption, and rehabilitation,” Biden tweeted April 26.

According to Bains, about half of the people the President pardoned are Black or Brown.

“The president has spoken repeatedly about the fact that we have too many people serving time in prison for nonviolent drug offenses and too many of those people are Black and Brown,” said Bains. “This is a racial equity issue.”

Both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have faced sharp criticisms in the past for supporting tough-on-crime policies that, as U.S. Senator and California Attorney General respectively, have had disproportionately targeted Blacks and other minorities.

According to a 2021 Stanford University Study, reentry programs in California have contributed to a 37% decrease in the average re-arrest rate over the period of a year.

Over the last decade, California has funded a number of initiatives supporting reentry and rehabilitation. In 2015, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation launched the Male Community Re-Entry Program (MCRP) that provides community-based rehabilitative services in Butte, Kern, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. The Butte program services Tehama, Nevada, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Placer and Yuba counties.

A year later, Gov. Newsom’s office introduced the California Community Reinvestment Grant Program. The initiative funds community groups providing services like job placement, mental health treatment, housing and more to people, including the formerly incarcerated, who were impacted by the War on the Drugs.

Morgan spoke highly of programs that helped him reintegrate into society — both in prison and after he was released.

“In hindsight, I look back at it and I’m blown away by all of the ways that they’ve helped me,” Morgan said.

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Activism

UC Berkeley Students Protest Supreme Court Abortion Decision

Two pro-choice activists, Danielle Roseman and Alisa Steel currently believe the law will be overturned. However, they said, “our voices are our best asset to combat (this) and we will continue to protest.” Both seniors at University of California, Berkeley, they decided to organize a campus protest on Sproul Plaza, which took place May 3. 

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By Sarah Clemens

When it comes to reproductive health, the future looks both unprecedented and regressive.

A Supreme Court draft to overturn Roe v. Wade, the controversial ruling that declared the right to abortion, was leaked on May 2, 2022. In the draft, Justice Alito wrote that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” The very act of leaking a supreme court draft is unprecedented. The last time it occurred was in 1973 with the original Roe v. Wade decision. In a press release the Supreme Court said the leak was authentic, but “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member.” Final or not, thousands have already begun to protest.

Two pro-choice activists, Danielle Roseman and Alisa Steel currently believe the law will be overturned. However, they said, “our voices are our best asset to combat (this) and we will continue to protest.” Both seniors at University of California, Berkeley, they decided to organize a campus protest on Sproul Plaza, which took place May 3.

The Daily Cal newspaper estimated that “hundreds” attended. After contacting Roseman on social media, they both co-wrote answers to questions posed by this reporter.

“We knew the only way for our voices to be heard was to create a peaceful protest,” Roseman and Steel said. They weren’t alone.

NPR documented protesters across the country with similar stances on the issue from Washington to New York. Some states have existing laws in place that protect abortion rights. Others do not.

The original Roe v. Wade court case happened when a Texas woman by the name Jane Roe alleged that Texas’ abortion laws were unconstitutional. Almost 50 years later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supported a law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with no rape or incest exceptions.

When asked by a reporter, “why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?” Abbott responded, “It doesn’t require that at all, because, obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”

Despite overwhelming backlash, abortion becoming illegal appears preordained. Yet, throughout history around the world abortion has never stopped despite its illegality. In the 19th century, a doctor named Ann Lohman was called “the wickedest woman in New York” for her practice of giving women abortions.

When California state Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) made a statement on the new bill, she cited this history. “Unlike women before me, I grew up without having to face the choice of a back-alley abortion…If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Supreme Court will not prevent abortions, instead they will unleash unsafe and often deadly abortions.”

For many years the battle over abortion has been heavily stigmatized. As a result, there is a strong defeatist attitude among many voicing concerns on social media. Roseman and Steel thought otherwise.

“With our voices, we can mobilize, protest, sign petitions, get the word out, and send a shockwave to the politicians who think they have control over our bodies. So get out and get loud!”

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