Save the Date: Bay Area LISC Turns 25!
Save the Date: Bay Area LISC Turns 25!
Come celebrate our Birthday October 25th. Bay Area LISC will mark its 25th anniversary with a gala at the beautiful Asian Art Museum of San Francisco on Wednesday, October 25, 2006, from 6:00 to 8:30pm. The event will celebrate a quarter century of successes building healthy communities for all. The gala promises to be a fabulous evening with hundreds of attendees, prominent speakers, dinner, awards, and more. For more information regarding the gala or other opportunities, please contact Margaret Gee, Fund Development Director, at (415) 397-7322, extension 25, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
- Connecting Housing and Schools
- New Study on CDCs
- Funder Spotlight: Bank of America
- Local Businesses Win Big
Investing Where It Matters: Community Development Corporations Building A Better Bay Area
Few people know much about community development corporations, but the work they do is all around us. Housing, parks, daycares, community centers, shopping districts, schools—these are some of the many things community development corporations, or “CDCs,” provide. An important new Bay Area LISC study confirms what many insiders have long known: CDCs play a critical role in meeting community needs. They are often the primary—and in many instances, the only—effective agents of revitalization in low-income neighborhoods across the region.
The study, State of the CDCs 2005: An Assessment of Community Development in the Bay Area, surveys the work of 45 Bay Area CDCs over the lifetimes of the organizations and makes recommendations for funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to support CDCs as a vital force in the Bay Area. All told, over the last thirty years nonprofit developers have produced more than 60,000 units of affordable housing in almost every community in the Bay Area, with 25% added in the past five years alone. They also produced over 500,000 square feet of commercial and retail space from 2000 to 2005 and some 275,000 square feet of community facilities including senior centers, recreation facilities, and charter schools. CDCs are a major catalyst for positive change in communities across the region.
Housing and Schools: Two Sides of the Same Coin?
The high cost of housing and the quality of education at local public schools are of top concern to most Bay Area residents, yet rarely are the critical connections between the two discussed or addressed together in planning decisions. This past spring, Bay Area LISC co-hosted a symposium at U.C. Berkeley to stimulate public policy discussion, academic research, and coordinated action to promote mutually beneficial housing development and education programming in pilot cities.
Entitled “Connecting Housing & Education in the Bay Area: Examining the Relationship Between Healthy, Vibrant Communities and High Quality Schools,” the symposium brought together leading researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and funders. Bay Area LISC and our symposium co-host, the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, will continue to conduct research on the topic; promote better integration of these two key facets of creating smart, workable communities; and select pilot areas where we can better integrate housing and school planning decisions.
Speakers addressed the current divide between the two fields and discussed new avenues of research to connect housing and education issues and ideas for building a unified policy agenda. Already, the wheels have started turning on a number of ideas that emerged from the symposium:
- the Fannie Mae Foundation has funded a paper on the best practices for achieving both high quality schools and housing;
- the Center for Cities and Schools is working with Bruce Fuller, UC Berkeley Professor and Director of PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education), to develop a research study on parental preferences in housing and education;
- Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has set about finding ways to better integrate the City’s housing and education policies; and
- in Richmond’s Nystrom neighborhood, the Richmond Housing Authority and West Contra Costa County Unified School District are joining Bay Area LISC and the other partners in the Nystrom United Revitalization Effort to rebuild public housing, schools, parks, community facilities, and other amenities at the heart of the community.
These efforts are only the beginning of what we hope will become a new paradigm for how we, as a society, make the crucial policy decisions that affect our cities, our communities, and our lives.
Bank of America: Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities
Two days after the 1906 earthquake struck San Francisco, A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of America's predecessor, Bank of Italy, set up shop on the city's devastated waterfront and made loans to anyone who would rebuild. The experience left him with a deep impression of the power of capital to improve people's lives and led him to dedicate his bank to that mission. Bank of America has been a leader in community development lending and investment ever since, and an able partner with LISC in expanding housing choices and strengthening communities. In 1981, Bank of America committed $500,000 to help LISC open its first West Coast office right here in the Bay Area; in 1984, the bank provided LISC with an interest-free $10 million revolving loan fund, enabling the organization to drive down the cost of financing housing construction and commercial development in distressed urban neighborhoods.
As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we note with gratitude that Bank of America has provided more than $1.6 million in grants to support LISC programs for affordable housing development, commercial corridor revitalization, capacity-building training and more. As a founding and steadfast partner with Bay Area LISC throughout our 25 years, Bank of America has helped us build strong neighborhoods—good places to live, work and play.
Local Businesses Make Big Impact
Bay Area LISC congratulates the owners of San Francisco’s Terrificuts salon and Joe Leland café for their recent awards and for helping to effect change in their communities, one business at a time. They are proving that small businesses can make a big positive impact. Terrificuts, a mother-daughter-owned salon on Ocean Avenue, won an Extreme Salon Makeover featuring free design consultation and $25,000 worth of furniture and equipment.
Joe Leland, a one-year-old café in Visitacion Valley, was named the 12th Assembly District Business of the Year by Assemblymember and Speaker pro Tempore Leland Yee. “The Joe Leland Café,” said Yee, “is a shining example of the revitalization that many Visitacion Valley community groups have been working towards.” Bay Area LISC supports commercial revitalization in both communities as part of its Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative. This program coordinates community-planning efforts to bring jobs, investments, and vitality to low-income neighborhoods.