Off-site Sessions Highlights
Visits to Bay Area Venues Highlight Work of Local Foundations
What do you get when a group of community foundation professionals takes a chartered bus trip around the city? Open eyes, keen interest, and a whole lot of opportunity for discussion. Conference-goers rode to far-flung parts of San Francisco for firsthand glimpses into some of the activism and change community foundations are spurring.
A visit to coastal and agricultural areas just south of San Francisco highlighted the challenges the local farming community is tackling through conservation efforts. “Creativity” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when rural philanthropy is the subject, but attendees saw how changing environmental dynamics and safety-net issues are forcing farmers and migrant workers to innovate. And over at Mission Bay, visitors hopped off the bus and onto the 57-acre campus of the University of California, San Francisco to witness how biotechnology is changing community health and well-being for the better.
Other attendees spent a few hours visiting a day-workers center in the Mission District, where they learned how the San Francisco Day Labor Program has pushed past the politics of immigration to focus on the people behind the laws and controversy. More than 200 men and women—and ultimately, the families they care for—are members of the program and hold one another accountable in a family system that’s proving effective. A second stop took the group to meet with Chinese for Affirmative Action, where a panel encouraged the audience to look beyond the touristy façade of Chinatown to see and understand the needs of a proud community.
Two more off-site sessions gave conference-goers an opportunity to experience the city. A visit to Youth Uprising in neighboring Oakland spotlighted ways a youth development center is transforming the city’s education landscape, and the Bay View Hunters Point Community of San Francisco showed how, despite state and federal cutbacks, the organization serves some of the most vulnerable families.
Passion is the common denominator for all of these off-site visits—passion for the work, passion for the constituents, and a passion for the community—even though the visitors are in the Bay Area for only a short while. Conference-goers learned more about the needs of citizens the area’s community foundations serve, and they came away with good ideas of ways their foundations back home can partner with the foundations here to share missions, long after these visits are over.