What's Happening at RCF    August 2016
Together. Shaping the Future. 
Social Impact Bond Program

The most recent property aquired through the Richmond Housing Renovation Program.

The Richmond Housing Renovation Program is an innovative intervention to renovate abandoned and blighted properties in vulnerable neighborhoods which have experienced housing and economic divestment. The program uses social impact bonds as a funding source to purchase and renovate blighted housing stock. Once the homes are renovated, they are resold with top priority given to graduates of the First Time Homebuyer Program through SparkPoint.

Mechanics Bank purchased the entire bond series in December, 2015.  The program used the bond funds to acquire and rehab its first two properties in February of 2016.  We have acquired two additional properties, and are working with the probate process to acquire an additional 15 properties.  We are also working with the County Tax Collector, Russell Watts, and his staff to move a number of properties to tax sale.

We are excited to announce that the program is working as it was designed.  The first property has been sold to a first time homebuyer.  The second property will be finished this month and several SparkPoint first time homebuyers are ready to purchase this home.

For more information about the Social Bond Program, contact Shabnaz Yousefia at 

New Grant Expands Services to 
Community Colleges

RCF received a Workforce Accelerator 3.0 Grant in early June from the California Workforce Development Board that will build on SparkPoint Contra Costa's existing partnership with Contra Costa College. A network consisting of SparkPoint, The Stride Center, Contra Costa College, and the Peralta Colleges will replicate a successful Job-Seeker-Designed Pathway Program to help students earn Career Technical Education (CTE) certificates. The goal is to establish a robust, sustainable program that drives retention and helps participants develop self-sufficient careers. By enrolling 40 low-income or long-term unemployed students in CTE programs and supporting them in overcoming barriers, the program expects at least 80% to persist through completion or to enter related employment. Partners will also be deepening the resources and training materials to help replicate the program at additional sites in the future.

To help make that happen, RCF recently hired Bill Bankhead as the SparkPoint Coordinator for Contra Costa College. His mission is to establish a strong presence on campus and to deeply engage participants by coordinating support services. Bill has over 15 years of related experience, having previously worked as a career coach and as both a college academic advisor and a financial aid representative. He also served 4 years on the board of directors for the local chapter of the Association for Training & Development (ATD Golden Gate). 

Ensuring Opportunity

Making Housing a Priority

After celebrating its minimum wage victory, the Ensuring Opportunity Campaign is now focusing on ensuring that all Contra Costa residents have access to housing that is safe and affordable.  With Bay Area rents increasing an average of 34% over the past five years, a growing number of residents are finding it impossible to pay for housing. Potential strategies to address the crisis include expanding the stock of low- and moderate-income housing, and helping existing residents via rent control and other tenant protections.  Housing must be affordable not just for the wealthiest among us, but also for the schoolteachers, store clerks, janitors, senior citizens and other residents who form the fabric of our community.
Ensuring Opportunity is engaged in several local housing efforts, including the Zero 2016 initiative to end homelessness and the Raise the Roof campaign in Concord (see below). Over the coming months, EO will bring together stakeholders from throughout the county to explore solutions to our community's growing housing crisis.

Raising the Roof housing campaign gains traction in 

Concord Mayor Laura Hoffmeister participated in the Raising the Roof forum on June 25. (Photo: David Blankenhorn, See360studios)

On June 25, Ensuring Opportunity joined a diverse coalition of local residents, faith communities and worker organizations to sponsor a  f ree community for um on the local  housing crisi s. More t han 150 residents , elected officials and advocates attended the event at St. Bonaventure Church, in Concord. The Concord City Council held a special study session on the housing crisis on July 26, and may  consider a number of policies to keep housing affordable.

Welcome to our new Policy Coordinator!
Zuleika Godinez joins the Ensuring Opportunity team on August 1 in the newly  created  position of Policy Coordinator.   Zuleika earned her Master's in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and B.A. in Public Policy from Pomona College, where she wrote her senior thesis on the day labor social movement. She has a vast range of work experience including advocacy, public outreach and teaching.  To view her full bio, visit the RCF website..    Welcome, Zuleika!

For more information about Ensuring Opportunity, visit our website or contact campaign director Mariana Moore, (510) 234-1200, ext. 311, mmoore@richmondcf.org
Campaign for Grade Level Reading

Family Reading Celebrations

The West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition, in partnership with the Hellman Foundation and TJ Long Foundation, has issued small grants to direct service providers to create educational and engaging summer Family Reading Celebrations for children and their parents. Over 22 direct service providers  and community-based organizations in West County received these small grants, and many will be working in collaboration with public housing communities to reach a large number of young children and their caretakers.
Summer Family Reading Celebrations build literacy-rich environments, create interactive experiences for children and their families, and remove barriers to reading by providing access to books over the summer. These grants will empower direct service providers, librarians and the community to engage parents and help them access literacy resources in order to foster the love of reading in their children.

Resource Mapping
The West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition, in collaboration with the Education Fund, wrapped up a county-wide asset map of afterschool and summer literacy programs this week. The Coalition collected data from the West Contra Costa Unified School District and over 60 community based organizations and service providers about early literacy opportunities offered to children and their families in our community. All information collected will be mapped and shared with the public in September 2016. The data collected will inform a community-wide Needs Assessment and will be used to bring more resources and funding to out-of-school time programs and services in West County.  

For more information contact Shabnaz Yousefia at syousefia@richmondcf.org or (51) 234-1200 x 305.
Summer Mini Grants Awarded to Programs Serving Youth

The Richmond Community Foundation in partnership with The California Endowment was able to provide mini-grants to engage young people in safe and meaningful activities during the summer, when traditional schools are not in session. These mini-grants were designed to give local kids the opportunity to acquire new skills, participate in enrichment activities and education outings, participate in civic engagement projects, improve their health and become more physically active.

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of our 
2016 Summer Mini-Grants 
  • Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK)
  • Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB)
  • City of Richmond Public Library
  • Community Housing Development Corporation of North Richmond (CHDC)
  • Community Resident Services (CRS)
  • Community Violence Solutions (CVS)
  • Contra Costa ARC/George Miller After School Program 
  • East Bay Center for the Performing Arts Center
  • Girls of Incorporated of West Contra Costa County
  • Multicultural Institute (MI)
  • Richmond Art Center (RAC)
  • Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI)
  • Rising Sun Energy Center
  • Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church
For detailed information on the grantees and their programs click here

Nearly 500 Community Leaders and Youth Attend
7th Annual Northern California Summit  on Children and Youth:  Building the Next Generation Workforce
Richmond Community Foundation (RCF) partnered with the West Contra Costa Unified School District and dozens of nonprofit, government and business leaders to present Building the Next Generation Workforce, held on May 17th for the first time at the beautiful Craneway Pavilion. The event featured an exciting new element, a career fair for 225 students and teachers, with presentations from businesses, community leaders and entrepreneurs, and opportunities for students and teachers to interact directly with them. This was an ideal way to incorporate participation from the target population, underserved youth and students of color. Assemblymember Tony Thurmond kicked off the day; other highlights included an inspiring opening speech from Joseph Fortuno, Director of Programs for Gladeo, and a rousing keynote from Devin Lars, CEO/Co-Founder of Doing Everything Different and D&D Designs & Screen Printing, LLC.

During the Summit, attendees broke into discussion groups to focus on key questions related to the topic.  Click here for the summary of all the recommendations.  Though there were many great action items, there were recommendations that resonated through all the groups including:
  • The importance of parent engagement
  • The importance of business partnerships in linked learning
  • The need to highlight and support "non-traditional" career pathways
As we start preparing for next year's Summit, a further exploration of the theme, we will be highlighting one of these topics in each successive newsletter.  We look forward to your continued participation in this conversation!

To see photos from the Summit click here,

Contact Stacey Street at sstreet@richmondcf.org with any questions or for more information.