Enabling the preservation of valued community space is central to Community Vision’s work. We mitigate nonprofit displacement and provide stability that build and anchor organizations in communities on the margins of opportunity.
For more than a decade, our consulting team has been a leader in offering innovative real estate and financial guidance to community-based organizations. When the Bay Area began to see rapidly rising rents, communities recognized the real threat of displacement. To mitigate this impact on nonprofits, Community Vision partnered with the City of San Francisco in 2014 and developed the Nonprofit Displacement Mitigation Program, an innovative 3-year intervention, offering resources to organizations who were on the brink of displacement.
Like many other of the city’s nonprofits, San Francisco Achievers felt the pinch of the hot real estate market. Founded more than ten years ago, the community-based nonprofit reduces the achievement gap of African American young men from San Francisco public schools through support, professional development, mentorship, internships, and college scholarships. The founders of the organization developed a holistic approach to address the equity gap faced by young black men, where a small percentage of those graduating from San Francisco public schools were found to have GPAs high enough to be considered eligible for college acceptance.
“Our resilient young men face many barriers to college: challenges in family life, lack of access to financial resources, and under exposed to opportunities and experiences,” said Duane Wilson, SF Achievers’ executive director. “Our goal is not only to get them to college, but to ensure that they thrive and succeed in the experience.” Since its inception, the organization has awarded more than 220 scholarships to its participants.
SF Achievers was uncertain about their ability to remain local, accessible to its students, and financially sustainable. In 2016, the organization was facing displacement from its space in the Financial District and with Community Vision’s support through the NPD program, was able to secure a short-term space in the city’s SoMa neighborhood.
“Our lease expired and we had to move quickly. Our space in SoMa made sense for where we were at that point,” said Wilson. “We were planning for the future and knew this would be a stepping stone to finding a space that would meet our needs long-term.”
The NPD program was developed as an urgent response to the challenges the city’s nonprofits faced in light of rapidly rising rents. At the conclusion of the 3-year program, Community Vision partnered with the City of San Francisco to develop the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI).
“The NPD program was critical in supporting organizations who found themselves facing the possibility of displacement due to expiring leases and high commercial rents,” said Joanne Lee, Community Vision’s director of consulting services. “The NSI program helps create long-term real estate solutions for San Francisco nonprofits and ensures their ability to continue providing critical services in our communities.”
The NSI program, also administered by Community Vision, provides the financial and technical assistance necessary to create nonprofit-owned space and creative solutions for organizations seeking long-term leases and stability.
“We had a great experience with Community Vision and decided to apply to the NSI program,” shared Wilson. “It was the right time for us to think about the sustainability of our organization and how we could find a stable space that would meet our needs.”
Working with Community Vision’s real estate consulting team, SF Achievers found space at the nonprofit-owned Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, another Community Vision client, which met many of the items on the organization’s wish list. The center, located just blocks from Market and Powell in San Francisco, gives SF Achievers the opportunity to grow organically and plan for continued stability.
“It’s always exciting when our clients find a good fit,” said Saul Ettlin, Community Vision’s real estate consultant. “Sharing space provides an incredible opportunity for nonprofits to find stability and create organizational efficiencies through shared services and amenities.”