Community Vision was founded in 1987 by a group of local Bay Area residents who wanted to invest their money in nonprofits and social enterprises that could improve the lives of community members while building equity in historically under-resourced Northern and Central California neighborhoods.

As an ever-developing organization, our commitment to equity has meant proactively addressing systemic oppression in order to ensure fairness in access to opportunities, resources, and rights.

Community Vision's Board in our earlier years. (Left to Right: Scott Sporte, Pamela Merchant, Kirke Wilson, Lydia Tan, Jesse Bean, Susan Vickers, RSM, Walter Monash, and George Williamson)

Since our founding, this commitment has manifested in a number of ways.

Through the provision of financial capital and consulting to organizations sharing a vision of thriving communities and social and economic justice – organizations already working hard to provide service, voice, and enhanced power to overlooked and under-resourced communities – we help create greater stability in an all too often unsteady ecosystem of change-making.

Our resources work as tools to enhance the capacity and longevity of equitable building, contributing to financially strong and culturally vibrant communities where each person has access to:

  • Employment
  • Homes
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Economic opportunities

Working to provide these tools means that we get to say yes when others might say no, and we provide a more comprehensive approach to lending and technical assistance in line with our original founding values.

Some of our community may be familiar with our partnership with the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) – a partnership that has allowed us to help secure new, nonprofit-owned spaces and solutions through the San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative. Ongoing partnership with OEWD, as well as the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development has also allowed us to provide grants, technical assistance and workshop trainings helping nonprofits like the Mission Kids Co-op, Roxie Theatre, At the Crossroads, SF Conservation Corps, Compass Family Services, and San Francisco Achievers understand their organizational and financial capacities for real estate projects and calculate and prioritize their space needs.

Additionally, we’ve helped hundreds of clients:

  • Identify and evaluate potential sites
  • Negotiate leases and purchase agreements
  • Assess business models for operating in a new space
  • Access New Market Tax Credit financing
  • Assemble financing and development team members
  • Identify appropriate funding sources and financing opportunities
  • Refer professional development team members (architects, attorneys, project managers)

Community Vision is experienced with working with smaller organizations that don’t have the capacity to access capital with larger financial institutions. We have the ability to provide free consulting services (paid for by our community funders) to organizations that otherwise couldn’t afford our services. And as an organization, our patience and ability to work with a diverse set of nonprofits – varying by sector, size, geography, and needs – is unmatched.

From our intentional collaborative efforts around affordable housing to our strategic geographical launches, to the development of our consulting team, and movement into food and ecological investments, each of our organizational offerings has been executed with the intention of providing more resources and investment for our communities.

Clients of Compass Family Services, a Community Vision client and recipient of a S.F. Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative facility acquisition grant. Community Vision's consulting and lending teams worked with Compass to plan for and acquire a 18,000-square-foot building in the heart of the city's Mid-Market neighborhood.

If you’re also operating from a place of equitable creation, please consider:

You can also follow the links below to learn more about our past support of community vision:

And learn more about how equity directs our three-year strategic plan HERE.

Thank you for your continued support and allyship in creating more vibrant California communities.

Next in the Series

Embodying Equity: Creating Sustainability through Space

At Community Vision, we believe that Oakland’s strength lies in the incredible network of community-centered nonprofits and small businesses promoting and preserving the city’s unique identity, arts and cultural scene, and political organizing. We partner to create amplified capacity, so that they might continue to be a resource for underserved residents facing the challenges of rapid gentrification and displacement sweeping across the East Bay.

Click here to learn more about our commitment to promoting equitable revitalization that creates a thriving Oakland for all of its residents.