Bay Area residents issue clear call for greater prosperity and opportunity for all

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Jen Thom, jthom@sff.org

Bay Area residents issue clear call for greater prosperity and opportunity for all

In new survey, public sees need for greater opportunity, and a majority is willing to take action to address issues facing the region

San Francisco, CA –  At a time when cynicism about politics and the political process seems to be at an all-time high, a new five-county survey from the San Francisco Foundation reveals that Bay Area residents still have hope for greater racial and economic inclusion.

Respondents overwhelmingly acknowledged the shared role that government, business, and the nonprofit community can play in addressing issues like quality jobs, affordable housing, public transportation, and ensuring opportunity for people regardless of their race. However, a significant majority called on political leaders to show results, even if it means making compromises.

The survey was released as the San Francisco Foundation announced its commitment to focus its activities on expanding racial and economic inclusion for all people in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The rising tide is not lifting all boats,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. “Despite historic levels of prosperity, we are seeing widening inequality, increasing poverty, and declines in upward economic mobility. As a region we cannot afford to continue to leave so many people behind if we hope to achieve sustainable prosperity. The good news is that Bay Area residents understand how important racial and economic inclusion is as a core value of our region, and also as an economic and social engine for our long-term success.”

Judith Bell, the San Francisco Foundation’s Vice President for Programs, added, “Across the region, we need to ensure that everyone has a chance to get a good job, live in a safe and affordable home, can be part of a truly inclusive democracy, and can live in a community that provides real access to opportunity. The residents of the Bay Area were quite clear that these are high priorities. They recognize that government, business, and community groups can make a big difference, but they acknowledge that we are all in this together, with many indicating that they are willing to do their part to help.

Highlights from the survey

Bay Area residents overwhelming want political leaders to look past their differences and get things done.

  • 70% agree that our political leaders should focus on getting things done, even if that means making compromises about their beliefs.

Willingness to contribute to quality of life improvements exceeds two-thirds.

  • Almost seven in ten (69%) agree that we need to enhance our quality of life in the Bay Area with investment in transportation, affordable housing and other infrastructure, even if it means raising taxes.

Racial inclusion is a core value of our region.

  • More than three out of four respondents (77%) agree that having people from different races and income levels is part of what makes the Bay Area a great place to live.
  • Almost seven in ten (68%) say they currently, or are willing to vote for candidates and issues that specifically address income and racial inequality.
  • 62% agree that greater racial inclusion will enhance the Bay Area’s economy and quality of life.

Everyone has a role to play in making things better.

  • Respondents indicated that government, business, and nonprofit organizations all have important roles to play in solving the critical problems facing people in the Bay Area, including protecting racial and cultural diversity, addressing income inequality, and ensuring opportunity for people regardless of race.
  • A majority express willingness to do their part to address issues facing the Bay Area, including contributing to non-profits and foundations, becoming active in their neighborhood, or volunteering.

Bay Area residents believe that we have not achieved racial and economic equality.

  • One half of all respondents indicated that people of different races or income are not treated equally in the Bay Area, versus 42% who think that they are.

The Bay Area is at a crossroads – residents are conflicted about the future of our region.

  • Nearly three in five (57%) are worried about changes happening in the Bay Area.
  • At the same time, more than half (54%) are excited about the future of the Bay Area.

The web panel survey was conducted by EMC Research from May 11-19, 2016, and included 800 residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.

View the complete poll, crosstabs of data, and infographic of the results.

About The San Francisco Foundation
With more than $1.3 billion in assets, The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the country.  The foundation is committed to expanding opportunity and ensuring a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area, and working with its donors, it distributed nearly $100 million a year to nonprofit organizations last year. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

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