Twelve community-based organizations awarded Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative funding to lease and acquire space and continue connecting residents with critical resources.
Crossposted. Previously released by the City of San Francisco on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, the Office of Economic Workforce Development, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, San Francisco Arts Commission, and Community Vision Capital & Consulting today announced $3.3 million in awards for nonprofit space acquisition and lease stabilization. The San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) provides funding to community organizations, including neighborhood arts and cultural institutions, to protect and expand critical services for residents.
NSI deploys financial assistance, professional services, and training to help mitigate one-time costs and build resources for San Francisco-based nonprofits. The grantees awarded serve neighborhoods citywide, including residents in Chinatown, the Tenderloin, South of Market, the Castro, and the Mission, where they will continue to stay rooted in their communities and contribute to the long-term cultural vitality of San Francisco.
Real estate and occupancy expenses are the second-highest cost for many businesses, and can destabilize nonprofits that provide essential services and resources.
“The pandemic has shown us just how critical the services our nonprofits provide and the important role they play in our communities,” said Mayor Breed. “The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative not only allows organizations to acquire and lease space during a time when it has become increasingly difficult to do so, but it provides them with an opportunity to strengthen their resources and remain deeply rooted in the community.”
Since the NSI announced its first awards five years ago in May 2017, the City has awarded $17.6 million in financial assistance to help community-focused nonprofits acquire permanent space and stabilize leases. Seventeen organizations have been awarded grants for permanent space, including 14 Black, Asian, Latino and Filipino-led organizations, populations that have historically faced disparities in philanthropic giving and barriers to growth.
Overall, the NSI has supported the creation of 161,097 square feet of permanent, newly nonprofit-owned space throughout the City. Furthermore, over 200 nonprofits have received grants or professional services to build resources and support real estate stabilization in addition to overall sustainability.
“San Francisco’s nonprofits are trailblazers and stalwart providers who often bridge the gap between city resources and the communities that need them most. And, they are mission-driven businesses that face barriers to growth and stability. We know the value that trusted providers bring to keep our communities safe, feed hungry families, and shelter unhoused residents. These awards will help nonprofits weather future storms by providing much-needed stability today,” said Kate Sofis, the Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
San Francisco has nearly 7,000 nonprofits, including a workforce that often works in partnership with the City to address complex challenges and the needs of its residents. The underlying objective of NSI 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. For more information, please visit the Office of Economic and Workforce Development at oewd.org/nonprofits.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of the NSI investment to Chinatown CDC. On a pragmatic level, this grant will allow us to consolidate our operations to foster collaboration and efficiencies and expand our program offerings directly to and in the Chinatown community. On a spiritual level, this grant will allow Chinatown CDC to return home on multiple levels, said Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC). “As a place-based organization, the impact of being in the place that you serve is immeasurable. The office we are moving into is also the first office we rented in our formative years back in the 1980’s. So, to now have the opportunity to turn our FIRST home into our PERMANENT home ensures that CCDC will forever be rooted in Chinatown.”
“It takes the hood to save the hood. From the elementaries to the penitentiaries, this center will provide services for literacy and restorative justice. I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in this project and helped to make it happen, and most definitely Mayor London Breed,” said Rudy Corpuz, Jr., Founding Director of United Playaz.
“With this award, we’ll be able to create our vision of a BIPOC Sanctuary, a dance studio dedicated to cultural enrichment, health and wellness for everyone to enjoy. The importance of this project for PUSH Dance Company, was to create an ADA-accessible dance floor that faced many financial obstacles from the recovery and pandemic, but we remained resilient and determined to make an inclusive place for everyone,” said Raissa Simpson, Artistic Director of PUSH Dance Company.
About the Grantees
Real Estate Acquisition Grants
The Chinatown Community Development Center’s (CCDC) mission is to build community and enhance the quality of life for San Francisco residents. The community development organization acts as neighborhood and tenant advocates, organizers and planners, and developers and managers of affordable housing. With the support of NSI, CCDC is purchasing 615 Grant Avenue to provide 18,380 square feet of modern office space for its staff to work more effectively. The organization currently has distributed offices with staffing across seven properties and plans to consolidate most of them into this building. The new location offers space to accommodate a growing staff, new and improved facilities to improve community connections, and a better location that is central to Chinatown CDC’s beneficiaries.
Chinatown Media and Arts Collaborative (CMAC) is a collaborative platform anchored in San Francisco’s Chinatown that celebrates, explores, and supports leading and pioneering creative expressions at the intersection of community, culture, contemporary art, and media. The organization is a coalition of community groups and individual activists seeking to protect and enhance the Chinatown neighborhood: the lives of low-to-moderate income residents, ChineseAmerican and immigrant cultures, artists and arts spaces, community-serving businesses, nonprofits, jobs, and industry spaces. NSI will help provide seed funding for the purchase of 800 Grant Avenue, a 14,158 square foot, three-story masonry building built in 1906 located in the heart of Chinatown. The building will feature an immersive theater space with flexible seating, a dynamic exhibition and meeting space, state-of-the-art multimedia open offices, and maker spaces.
United Playaz (UP) is a San Francisco-based violence prevention and youth development organization. It provides a comprehensive range of services to prepare vulnerable youth for higher education, employment, and healthy living with a safe, nurturing, and collaborative environment. The organization plans to acquire 3,200 square feet of additional space at 1044 Howard to expand its family literacy and adult re-entry programs that connect formerly incarcerated individuals with support, resources, and referrals as they transition back into the community. In addition to these programs, the organization plans to utilize the space for community meetings, special events, and additional requests.
Lease Stabilization Grants
The City Surf Project’s (CSP) mission is to ensure that Bay Area youth have equitable access to the ocean and the benefits of outdoor recreation such as surfing, specifically students who historically have not had access to water sports. CSP recently faced displacement, but through NSI, they were able to identify a new space at 400 Treat Avenue, allowing the organization to remain in the Mission District. The Treat Avenue location contains 3,500 square feet of space, allowing the organization to create a program area separate from staff offices where students can learn about surfing culture and ocean science.
Curry Senior Center provides primary care and healthy meals to low-income older adults in the Tenderloin. Curry Senior Center, in partnership with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), is purchasing the site at 500 Turk/555 Larkin Street to enable older residents and residents from nearby Single Room Occupancy Hotels to benefit from the Curry Senior Center’s drop-in supportive referral services offered at the Turk Street Senior Center and Curry Health Clinic. The Curry Senior Center will make this space available for other community groups and program activities and meetings.
KULARTS’ mission is to inform and expand the understanding of American Pilipino culture through the arts, nurture the artistic development of Pilipino American artists, and preserve the spirit and integrity of ancient Pilipino art forms. NSI will support the design and build-out of a new 6,350 square foot multidisciplinary performance space centered on Pilipino diasporic arts on the ground floor and mezzanine levels of the soon-to-be developed 490 Brannan Street building.
Magic Theatre, Inc. (Magic) supports writers at all stages of the creative process through commissions, residencies, staged readings, workshops, and world premiere productions. Through NSI, Magic Theater will be able to update their electrical grid and HVAC systems and address other improvements. The investment will support Magic Theater in maintaining its art and education programs at full capacity while recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
National AIDS Memorial (NAM) Inc. was founded to remember the lives lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and offer healing and hope to survivors. Through NSI, they will be able to lease office space in the Castro District, the neighborhood where the first panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were sewn together. Through its new location, NAM seeks to engage with members of the community who have been impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The organization will offer workshops in partnership with other community organizations and expand its volunteer programs related to the AIDS Memorial Grove.
PUSH Dance Company (PUSH) empowers Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) contemporary artists to affect social change in diverse communities. Through NSI, PUSH will be entering into a 10-year lease in addition to two three-year lease options for 2,454 square feet of space at 447 Minna Street located at the historic Dempster building. The leasing of space at this building is part of the community benefits agreement for the 5M development being constructed at 5th and Mission streets. NSI funding will support the predevelopment costs for this project.
SFFILM’s mission is to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. The NSI investment will fund a 9th Street location that will include office space for 20 to 30 full-time staff, conference rooms, event areas for festival workshops, masterclasses, receptions, presentations, and panel discussions. The facility will house all of SFFILM’s programs in one accessible and cohesive space within walking distance of partner organizations. The new office space will also be home to a year-long residency, professional development workshops, one-onone mentorship, panels, and networking events.
The Southeast Asian Development Center (SEADC) began in 1981 as the Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC) to support Southeast Asian refugee youth through an academic support program, at a time when thousands of youth arrived and settled in the Tenderloin neighborhood. The program incorporates homework assistance and support from adult staff and volunteers, substance prevention curriculum, social skills development, and parenting classes. NSI funding will support the lease of a 4,425 square foot location at 281 Ellis Street, one block away from its current location. The Ellis location will house SEADC’s economic success, health and wellness, and high school programs.
The Healing WELL offers resources to people in poverty and struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, and addiction in the Tenderloin. The Healing WELL is currently being displaced from a 900 square foot space. The NSI investment will go toward the relocation and renovation costs for a five-year lease in a new, larger location at 376 Ellis Street with 4,500 square feet of facility space. When complete, the new center will include a large reception area that will accommodate up to 12 guests, a multipurpose room, a kitchen, and a conference room. The location is central to their mission, allowing for easier access, proximity to partners, and affordability.