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Mayor Mark Farrell and City Agencies Announce Funding Efforts to Provide Financial Assistance to Local Nonprofits

$500,000 will support 10 local nonprofit organizations with real estate costs, expansion efforts and other expenses

Mayor Mark Farrell today announced that 10 nonprofits would receive $500,000 in grant funding from the City, assisting the organizations to ensure that they will remain in the communities they serve.

“Our nonprofit organizations are on the frontlines serving our residents every day—when we support them, we ensure that they continue to be the foundations of their neighborhoods,” said Mayor Farrell. “Helping them pay their rent bills or supporting them with their moving expenses can be the difference between these organizations staying in San Francisco or relocating somewhere outside the City. We need them here helping our families.”

The financial assistance has helped the nonprofits secure long-term leases, allowing them to focus on delivering critical services and resources to San Francisco residents. The grants support lease renewals and expansions for organizations that provide legal services to immigrants, workforce programs for seniors and people living with disabilities, youth development and arts programs and employment and entrepreneurship training in low-income and historically under-resourced communities citywide.

Mayor Farrell made the announcement alongside the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Northern California Community Loan Fund, which all help oversee the program, called the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative.

The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative has awarded $6 million over the past two years. The initiative is a community-driven response to key challenges facing the nonprofit sector, such as real estate costs, financial constraints and adaptability.

“We believe that nonprofits do their best work when they focus on services and programs for residents, not when they’re worrying about real estate and displacement,” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “That’s why in 2015 at the direction of then Mayor Lee, OEWD created the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative to make smart investments that enable local organizations to stay, grow and transform their community spaces with an eye towards long term stability and impact.”

The 10 awardees in this round of funding are:

  • ArtSpan
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
  • Breast Cancer Action
  • Community Living Campaign
  • Creativity Explored
  • First Exposures
  • PRC - Positive Resource Center
  • The Roxie Theatre
  • SFMade
  • Sunset Youth Services

Additional details on three of the nonprofits that have secured space with help from the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative:

  • Creativity Explored: Gives artists with developmental disabilities the means to create and share their work with the community. Creativity Explored has occupied its current location at 3245 16th Street since 1987 and secured a 7-year lease with two 5-year extension options in January 2017. Per the lease, the organization is required to fund all interior renovation and maintenance. This award will help Creativity Explored make much-needed updates to its longtime space, creating more efficient administrative space alongside its gallery.
  • Positives Resource Center (PRC): Helps people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use, or mental health issues better realize opportunities by providing integrated legal, social, and health services that address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness and limit potential. The PRC recently began the merger process with AIDS Emergency Fund and Baker Places. To facilitate the merger, the three organizations are consolidating their space by moving to a new location at 170 9th Street. The award will assist PRC with professional services and moving expenses.
  • Sunset Youth Services (SYS): Fosters long-term stability and growth for high-risk youth, young adults, and their families. SYS uses digital arts and technology projects to build job-readiness and provide hands-on job experience, employment opportunities and services that meet critical needs. Last fiscal year, SYS served 500 unduplicated individuals and families. SYS extended its lease at 3918 Judah Street for five years and will use this award for tenant improvements, furnishings, fixtures and equipment.  

“We are jumping for joy,” said Linda Johnson, Executive Director of Creativity Explored. “A new kitchen, respite area and conference area at Creativity Explored is going to mean so much—a quiet place for our artists to retreat to, a real kitchen and break area for our hardworking staff, and our first ever space dedicated to private meetings. Because of OEWD’s Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, we’ll even be able to add more workstations for our growing staff.”

In order to expedite the technical and financial assistance for organizations in need, the City selected the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) through a competitive process. NCCLF issued a request for proposals and worked with OEWD to conduct extensive citywide outreach.

“Stabilizing real estate and mitigating the costs of a relocation, expansion or lease renewal remains one of the most effective ways we can address cost pressures facing neighborhood-serving nonprofits,” said Joanne Lee, Director of Consulting Services and Program Development for the Northern California Community Loan Fund. “It can be daunting for any business to navigate real estate decisions and we continue to see a need for real estate services as well as financial assistance.”