Once a month, we highlight a grantee that we have recently funded through our Equity Grants Program, which advances racial and economic inclusion in the Bay Area.
Excelsior Works! helps provide opportunities in San Francisco’s Excelsior district, one of the city’s last affordable neighborhoods that is home to a high concentration of Latino and Chinese immigrants. Launched in 2015 by the foundation’s Excelsior Koshland Fellows, Excelsior Works! is a workforce hub that connects local, multilingual non-profits providing workforce development to help strengthen the Excelsior community.
Earlier this fall, Excelsior resident XiaoLan Tan contacted Excelsior Works! She spoke with one of the organization’s program associates, Linda Lee, and was comforted by the opportunity to share her struggles in her native language. XiaoLan was terrified – she and her husband were raising two young children, but she was unable to find work, and her husband had injured his back while on the job. Unable to pay their rent, the family was at risk of losing their apartment.
Through Excelsior Works! many local employer partnerships, Linda identified a job opportunity for XiaoLan at See Candies’ nearby distribution center. Linda helped XiaoLan apply for the job, prepare for the interview, and navigate public transportation to get to the interview. Within a week, See’s Candies hired her.
But Linda knew that both parents needed to find work right away. Through another employer partnership, Linda was able to help XiaoLan’s husband, Cong, secure an interview with the house-cleaning company, Merry Maids. Cong was hired right away, and Merry Maids is thrilled to have him on its team.
XiaoLan and Cong’s struggles are far too common among Excelsior Works! families. The organization’s holistic approach begins with listening to each client’s story, and tailoring its employment strategy to suit each individual. By supporting Excelsior Works!, The San Francisco Foundation strengthens our capacity to offer equitable opportunities to immigrants and low-wage workers in the Bay Area.