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Mayor London Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu Announce $1.5 Million in Funding for Neighborhood Improvement Projects

Community Challenge Grant awards funding for 19 community-led beautification and greening projects in neighborhoods across San Francisco

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu today announced $1.5 million in grants to fund community-driven beautification and greening projects through the Community Challenge Grant Program (CCG).

“The pandemic showed us just how important access to beautiful public space is for the development of our diverse communities,” said Mayor Breed. “The Community Challenge Grant ensures that neighborhoods across our city are provided with the resources they need to serve all San Franciscans. I look forward to seeing the amazing work of each of the grantees.”

Since 1991, CCG has partnered with hundreds of local organizations, including community benefit districts, businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations, to improve community spaces throughout the City and engage residents and businesses. Over the years, the program has brought approximately $26 million to various neighborhoods, such as the Bayview, Civic Center, the Mission, the Sunset, the Tenderloin, and Visitacion Valley.

“The Community Challenge Grant Program helps make a community’s vision come true. From streetscaping, to community gardens, to installing public art, each of these neighborhood projects creates opportunities for people to come together, to strengthen community relations and to support our local business corridors,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu, who oversees CCG. “I want to thank all the grantees for sharing their vision and I look forward to seeing each of them come alive.”

This year’s funded projects make physical improvements to public spaces and create welcoming places for residents to build community. They include:

  • Installation of public art, seating, and children’s garden and play area at 2504 Ocean Avenue in Lakeside Village;
  • Ledyard Alley Restoration Project, which includes the installation of public art, greening, and lighting, in Silver Terrace;
  • Community activation initiative through a series of artists-in-residence at 41 Ross Alley in Chinatown;
  • Installation of lighting at the Goettingen Tiled Stairs in the Portola neighborhood;
  • Ceramic art installation at the Louis Sutter Roundhouse in McLaren Park;
  • Robin Williams “Beloved” mural at 1055 Market Street in Mid-Market;
  • “Fairy Tree Garden Project,” which includes a free library and a community gathering place, in the Lower Haight;
  • Para las Rosas mural restoration on the San Francisco Mime Troupe Building in the Outer Mission;
  • Habitat restoration along the Quarry Trail on Mount Sutro;
  • Streetscapes project featuring a garden and public art on Virginia Avenue in Bernal Heights;
  • Augmented reality exhibition paying tribute to Ohlone Indians at Yerba Buena Gardens.

In addition to financial support, CCG also provides technical assistance and coaching to help groups implement their community projects and initiatives. Grantees are organizations situated in the community and can identify and address issues of importance and foster neighborhood participation and stewardship.

“We are inspired by the nineteen projects awarded this cycle. The Community Challenge Grant Program continues to promote innovation in our neighborhoods, encouraging residents to work together and take pride in their communities,” said Lanita Henriquez, Director of the Community Challenge Grant Program.

“The Chinese Culture Center is deeply grateful for support from CCG to uplift community-led gathering in Chinatown,” said Jenny Leung, Executive Director of the Chinese Culture Center and the Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, which will implement a year-long art and community activation initiative in Ross Alley. “This funding will be immensely critical to offer a safe, artistic space for community members to be curious, think freely, and cherish our collective joy, which is extremely critical during this time of anti-Asian hate.”

“Receiving the CCG award is going to make it possible to create a green community space for our neighborhood, as well as a play area for the adjacent day care center,” said Jorge Romero-Lozano, Project Representative for Odgen Avenue Gardens, which will transform an underutilized street in Bernal Heights into a park. “The grant will help us realize the decade-long efforts and wishes of our neighborhood. We hope this will start a trend City-wide and beyond.”

“Since Tunnel Top Park’s inception 8 years ago, the Community Challenge Grant Program has been a vital source of funding and community support,” said Bonnie Bergeron, Project Manager for Tunnel Top Park, a neighborhood-initiated park and community space serving the Potrero Hill and Dogpatch neighborhoods. “These funds will ensure the continuation of the Tunnel Top Park Garden and Stewardship Program, a program that has proven to be crucial to keeping our urban habitat gardens alive and thriving and the community engaged, while also providing hands-on education and training to student gardeners.”

The total funding amount includes two grants dedicated to support community-led green infrastructure projects through the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant Program, a partnership between CCG and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). These grants will fund rainwater garden projects in Potrero Hill and Lakeside Village to help manage stormwater and green the neighborhoods.

A complete list of funded projects can be found on CCG’s website here. Funding for CCG comes from businesses designating a percentage of their gross receipts tax or other business taxes to the program. Learn more about CCG here.