| Program: || San Francisco Organizing Project, San Francisco, CA |
| Contact(s): || Denise Collazo, Executive Director: (415) 995-9898 |
| Purpose: || To empower churches and community members to work together to address local, citywide and statewide issues of common concern |
The San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP) was founded in 1983 by a coalition of labor groups, neighborhood groups and low-income housing organizations. It is affiliated with the Pacific Institute for Community Organization (PICO). The organizers working for SFOP have been trained by PICO to empower local residents to take action and create safer, cleaner and prosperous communities. SFOP focuses on bridging cultural, ethnic and racial differences by having people build multiracial organizing coalitions. By working collectively, SFOP organizers believe that people will learn to appreciate the richness of each other's cultural heritage.
SFOP builds new relationships throughout a community. Organizers first meet with local church leaders to determine the needs of the community. Based on these meetings, SFOP creates local committees comprised of members from different churches. Working together to promote interracial dialogue, these committees determine a course of action to solve problems specific to communities which tend to be multiracial and multiethnic.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
In the Portola District of San Francisco, SFOP was instrumental in creating neighborhood citizen patrols. SFOP united the Chinese, the Hispanic and other communities. This has reduced crime and improved relationships. The program has been replicated throughout the city. In September 1997, SFOP gathered 1,000 people to meet with the mayor, four area state legislators, school district officials and local municipal transit officials at St. Mary's Cathedral. The issues addressed included more school crossing guards, after school homework centers, and community job training. At the same meeting, SFOP was instrumental in convincing the municipal transit system to reevaluate its security measures. As a result of SFOP's advocacy, more crossing guards were hired and more than $17 million have been allocated for bus safety. Leaders of the safety campaign were black, Hispanic, Asian and white.