Your Voice, Your Influence, and Your Heart in Service

Your Voice, Your Influence, and Your Heart in Service

Like many of you, I have felt waves of emotions during the past few months. Together, with my family and with foundation staff, I have taken time to reflect, recharge and regroup.

Now, we are in a new year and it is time to get focused. In this new year, we at The San Francisco Foundation, will be getting back to basics. We will continue to listen. We will be intentional about our decisions, actions and words. Now is the time to put what we have learned through reflection into practice. To take meaningful, incremental steps with our partners and when we have the momentum, take giant leaps.

While we took time to reflect and recharge, we did not lose that sense of “the fierce urgency of now.” Nine days after the election, we launched the Rapid Response Fund for Movement Building to provide fast resources for communities to respond to unanticipated, but critical opportunities or challenges to advance racial and economic equity in the Bay Area. Our donors — seeing the urgent need — have supported the Fund. We’ve already responded to more than 60 requests to provide know your rights sessions for immigrant students and families, LGBTQ youth, and to build bridges across differences of race, culture and religion.

We began the new year with the launch of our equity grants program. We are committed to working with our partners to increase the number of Bay Area residents that have a chance at full employment at an affordable wage, a safe and affordable home, a strong political voice, and can live in a community that provides real access to opportunity. And in our role as civic leaders, I have agreed to co-chair an effort — working with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bay Area leaders — to identify and implement regional solutions to the Bay Area’s affordability housing crisis.

We recognize the position we are in at the foundation, working with community leaders, sector influencers, policy makers and donors. I recognize the integrity and responsibility we must uphold in this position. In this year, and perhaps more than ever, we must firmly commit to stand with the communities we serve. We have a duty to neighborhoods and families on the brink, to truly act as the community’s foundation.

It is our responsibility to amplify community voices — the voices they have been using to speak out and hold strong in these turbulent times. We must truly listen, open the lines of communications, open doors to opportunity, and create space at the table for all Bay Area residents.

I ask you to join me, our staff and board, and our growing network of partners. Join us in this commitment and in action. I ask you to use your voice, your influence, and your heart in service and solidarity with the people of the Bay Area in the year ahead. At the foundation, it is our responsibility and our privilege to do the same.


Fred Blackwell
CEO, The San Francisco Foundation