Monday, January 26, 2009

Bayview community-building network reinvented


From Bayview Footprints' organizers and friends

Bayview Footprints did something you don’t see very often: a public review of what we do and how we do it. Even a collaboration fueled by volunteers, residents, and small organization staffers should be transparent, responsive and open to change.

In October, Footprints leaders and allies asked the Haas Business School to send a team of advanced students to facilitate public meetings, interview member group representatives, and present feedback and recommendations. We also administered two surveys, one for our member groups, and another for the broader community that was sent out online and published in the last Footprints News edition.

Bayview Footprints is respected and appreciated, according to the review findings, and accomplishing things that the community wants to see more of. On the other hand, most folks had trouble saying what, exactly, “Bayview Footprints” is!

Communications turned out to be the critical challenge: communicating Footprints’ mission and structure, communicating member benefits and responsibilities, and communicating what the group actually does.

Footprints first met, and continues to meet at the Bayview Branch Library
What is “Footprints” anyway? The question came up often during the intensive public review process that Bayview Footprints just concluded. The Haas Business School volunteers said, in their final recommendations, that “Member groups interviewed were proud of their membership,” but that “Footprints’ main focus should be on networking the member groups.”

And so, Footprints is no longer a Collaboration of Community-Building Groups.” Welcome to the Bayview Footprints Network of Community-Building Groups!

Changes at a glance:
  • Look for a new focus on “networking.”

  • Look for the prioritizing of informal, small groups as members, with larger, more established organizations as supporters.

  • Instead of monthly social gatherings, look for periodic “issue forums” on subjects of interest to member groups.

  • Look for the network and its resources to be “open for adoption” for specific periods and for specific projects that member groups or other organizations need community support for.

Now, Bayview Footprints is a network of informal BVHP Member Groups building community, supporting resident leadership, and contributing to a balanced story about our beloved neighborhood. The “walking footprints” graphic represents the strength of diversity and the recognition that our past, present and future are inseparable.

Footprints’ focus is on shared values and a belief that every conversation and handshake is shaping our community whether it occurs in a meeting room or on the street. While member groups may play advocacy roles, the network as a whole is non-governmental, nonpolitical, and entirely supportive of established policymaking and advisory structures.

The network advances BVHP groups that typically don’t have a place elsewhere: social clubs, neighborhood associations, families, new projects, small organizations, projects without funding or sponsorship, independent businesses, and the like.

Member Groups benefit from mutual support and assistance, communications opportunities, and forums for the discussion of issues important to them. Membership is free; however groups are required to participate in the life of the network to retain membership. Member Groups each have a vote in any question affecting Footprints such as new member applications.

Supporting Organizations are larger and more established groups and institutions from within and outside the community that commit to contributions in support of the network. These organizations also receive benefits, such as being listed in materials, and are invited to participate in events. They are non-voting allies of Footprints.

Bayview Footprints Network of Community-Building Groups encourages the spirit and energy of community cohesion so that each footprint we leave today builds on the last, and leads to a future that includes everyone.


Footprints is proud of its long list of accomplishments, all the more because it’s only been eighteen months since the first groups got together and defined a focus on positive strategies that build community and tell a balanced story of our neighborhood’s strengths.

  • 7 social gatherings attracting hundreds of residents to the library, Upper Crust Deli, Roadhouse Café, Webspot, Javalencia Café and Gallery 94124, and the Quesada Garden.

  • 6 Footprints News print editions, and dozens of e-news briefs.

  • 4 issue forums, at the library and the Southeast Community Facility, on subjects including sidewalk and streets improvements, community responses to violence, history and culture, and arts funding to BVHP.

  • “Bayview Is…” campaign launched so all individuals and affinity groups can share their own experience of their neighborhood through photographs, videos, public art, and more.

  • Community calendar launched and paid for as a donation to collaborative work in the neighborhood.

  • 1 portal website including a social networking component so that online resources for the neighborhood can be found and shared easily.

Accomplishments are the result of pro bono contributions aside from a $3,000 contribution from Wells Fargo Bank for the reproduction of the Footprints News, and a $3,000 contribution from Zellerbach Family Foundation for the “Bayview Is…” mural. We are grateful to all.

Bayview Footprints member groups are: ART 94124, Arthur H. Coleman Medical Center, Bayview Business Resource Center, Bayview History Preservation Project, Bayview Safe Haven, Bayview YMCA, Better Bayview Group, Blue Dolphin Youth Swim Team, BVHP Foundation for Community Improvement, Community Arts Center Working Group, Hunters Point Family, India Basin Neighborhood Association, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Old Skool Café, Pathlight Productions – Infinity Gospel Ministries, Public Glass, Quesada Gardens Initiative (including Bridgeview Garden and Latona Garden), Reachout for the Rainbow After School, Renaissance Parents of Success, Shipyard Trust for the Arts, Think Round, Inc./Children’s Mural Program, Third Street Youth Center.

For more information, call 415.822.0800 or email

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