Thursday, September 20, 2012 grants $10

Sue Amar, Foundation, and
Neil Passero pause during a volunteer
day at McLaren Park last Tuesday.
As part of its Dreamforce conference, announced $10 million in grants to five organizations.

According to a Foundation press release, the grants are intended to bring a focus to San Francisco's District 10, the political district which includes the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, by funding "anchor institutions,” and accelerating the District’s transformation. Foundation Executive Director Suzanne DiBianca was quoted in a press release as saying the intent of's model of philanthropy is "to improve the lives of people in our backyard."

While sorely needed funding will benefit a range of issues and San Francisco organizations, the backyard connection hopes for may not be clear to District 10 residents who are unlikely to recognize some of the recipient organizations. The Bayview YMCA, which has carried the moniker "anchor institution" for years, did not make the list, and organizations usually associated with transformation in the Southeast were not mentioned.

The recipients:

Perhaps the least surprising recipient is the Southeast Health Center which is located in Bayview and serves residents here. The Center’s history of service to the community is widely-known, as is the need for massive improvement to the aging building.

San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and the hospital itself are located on the western edge of District 10. The hospital sees large numbers of District 10 residents along with patients from throughout the City. The grant builds on an extraordinary gift from founder Marc and Lynne Benioff to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, under construction in Mission Bay, just north of the District.

The website for a more mysterious recipient, Campaign for Hope SF, proves to be that of the Hope SF program from the Mayor's Office of Housing. Some residents will remember the program by the older name, but may have thought that program had vanished in a cloud of public housing construction dust.

Locals can probably name several youth skills training organizations in the area, but will not recognize Year Up, a national organization with local offices downtown.

The Exploratorium, a well-known San Francisco brand, is also a grant recipient. The organization is moving to Pier 15, on the Embarcadero at the end of Green Street.

While’s grantmaking and rhetoric may not perfectly align, the corporation seems to be showing it wants to be a good corporate citizen in San Francisco. $10 million sure is a great start, and builds on previous gifts.

What may ultimately prove more valuable to and the Southeast Sector of San Francisco is a related pledge the corporation has made to deliver 100,000 hours of employee community service to District 10.

If successful, the philanthropists may become better acquainted with the District’s organizations that are contributing to the transformation of the Southeast Sector, and Southeast Sector change-makers may yet receive a practical contribution.

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