What's Happening at RCF    November 2015
Together. Shaping the Future. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

During this season of giving, Richmond Community Foundation is deeply grateful to all of  you for the many ways you support the community! Thank you for the important contributions you make every day through the services you provide, your participation in capacity-building and collective impact programs, and through your generous financial support.  You truly make a difference every day, and we celebrate you this Thanksgiving!
Welcome New Members of the RCF Family!

Richard Hong, Board Member

Richmond Community Foundation is delighted to welcome Richard Hong as a new member of the Board of Directors.  Richard has over thirty years in the financial services industry with experience in branch management, marketing management, sales and service management, portfolio management and commercial banking.  He has been with California Bank and Trust since 1991, where is currently First Vice President and Albany Branch Manager, having previously served as Vice President in Hayward and for the San Francisco Region.  Prior to joining California Bank and Trust, Richard was Vice President, Branch manager and Cluster Manager for Citibank, overseeing six branch offices in San Francissco/East Bay.  

Richard is an active community volunteer with extensive experience on nonprofit boards of directors.  He served two  terms as Chairperson of the Chabot  Colleg Foundation, is a past  Board Member of Spectrum  Community  Services, and was a past Board member of the Solano Avenue Merchants Association, among others.   He graduated with a B .B.A. in Marketin g , from San Franc isco State Univers it y , and studied Business at the undergraduate and graduate level at Un ivers ity of Ca l iforn ia , Berke le y.

Richard says: "I'm excited to join the RCF Board because of the positive impact the organization makes in the Richmond community and surrounding areas. It's an effective organization that addresses the critical issues that matter the most in the community.  California Bank and Trust is a leader in community development and by sharing resources, it will enable us to participate in the enrichment of lives in the Richmond community."

For more information about Richard Hong and the RCF Board, click  here.

Meet Our Youngest Member!

The newest member of the RCF Family is  Gael Arturo Lazo , born November 13, 2015!  Gael was a healthy 8 pounds, 1 ounce and over 20 inches long, and mom
Mónica  Lazo, RCF's Director of Grants Management, is greatly enjoying her new responsibilities. She looks forward to seeing everyone in January, 2016. Congratulations  Mónica !!

Social Impact Bond Program

Housing Blight Strategy is Launched!

The Richmond Community Foundation and the City of Richmond are partners in a program to combat housing blight in the City of Richmond.  The revolutionary aspect of the program is how it is to be financed: with Social Impact Bonds.  The City issued $3 million in revenue bonds, all of which were purchased on November 20th by a local community bank, Mechanics Bank.  The revenue will be used to purchase and rehabilitate boarded-up, abandoned houses, which, in turn, will be sold to first-time homebuyers, with first opportunity going to low-income Richmond residents who have participated in the SparkPoint program.  For more details, here's a short video of the Chair of the Board of the Richmond Community Foundation, Joshua Genser, recorded at SOCAP15 (the premier international conference on social capital markets) in October.
Abandoned homes like this one  will be 
fixed up and sold to  first-time homebuyers.

Historic Legislative Visit

On November 10 , 2015, members of the California Legislative Staff Education Institute in Sacramento visited the Richmond Community Foundation for an introduction to the Social Impact Bond Program, otherwise known as the Richmond Housing Renovation Program. The Social Impact Bond Program is a housing blight reduction program that will rehabilitate, repair and restore single-family homes that are otherwise inhabitable.  These abandoned homes cause significant criminal and code enforcement problems for the City of Richmond and depress home values in the neighborhood. Once these homes are rehabilitated, they will become available for purchase by first-time home buyers.
Social Impact Bond Finance Team 
Presents to Legislative Staff.

Legislative Staff learns about the 
Social Impact Bond Program.

During the legislative visit, RCF staff took the visitors on a tour of an abandoned home. Visitors also had an opportunity to visit RichmondBuild, a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares Richmond residents for rewarding careers in the construction trades, energy efficiency, hazardous materials handling & solar installation industries. RichmondBuild graduates will work on repairing and rehabilitating homes that will be part of the Bond program. 

For more information about the Social Bond Program, contact Shabnaz Yousefia at syousefia@richmondcf.org

Ensuring Opportunity

Victory! El Cerrito Becomes First Contra Costa City to Set $15 Minimum Wage

El Cerrito residents and advocates speak at the
El Cerrito City Council meeting.
On Nov. 3, with strong support from Ensuring Opportunity Campaign partners and allies, the El Cerrito City Council voted unanimously to adopt a citywide minimum wage of $15 per hour by 2019. California's current minimum wage is $9.00/hour.
For the past year, a working group chaired by Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia explored the feasibility and benefits of increasing local wages. The group included representatives from a diverse array of stakeholders, including East Bay Leadership Council, Contra Costa Central Labor Council, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, United Way of the Bay Area, Richmond Community Foundation, First 5 Contra Costa, Family Economic Security Partnership, East Bay Economic Development Alliance and Multi Faith ACTION Coalition.

To read more and find out how you can help increase the minimum wage in your community, click here

Community Programs

Salute's Day of Thanksgiving: 
Celebrate the Holiday Season by Giving to Those Who Need it Most

To Menbere Aklilu, Richmond Community Foundation Board member and owner of Saluté e Vita Ristorante, giving back to her community is an essential part of who she is.  In fact, she recently established the Menbe's Way Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by RCF that will support many important nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area. This inspiring business leader was recently honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for her outstanding achievements in public service, in part for her annual Thanksgiving Dinners for the Needy.

Menbe knows firsthand that a helping hand can make a dramatic difference in a person's life. Although she's now a successful business woman, Menbe suffered unspeakable hardships in the past and in fact, was once homeless herself.

Each year, Menbe invites struggling veterans and others in need to her elegant restaurant for a free fine-dining meal. Guests are seated at tables set with china and crystal on white tablecloths, and served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with dignity and love.

Menbe, her staff, and community volunteers including the Richmond Mayor, Chief of Police, and Fire Chief, have served more than 3,000 people over the past four years. In 2013, Menbe also gave a coupon to each family, good for 10 meals throughout the holiday season. In 2014, she added a Health Fair and provided flu shots and "goody bags" filled with personal items for everyone in attendance.  RCF salutes Menbe for her generosity and community spirit.

Donations are greatly appreciated! To support the event, click  here. and select "Menbe's Way Fund" on the dropdown menu. For information on establishing a donor-advised fund at RCF, contact Stacey Street at sstreet@richmondcf.org.

Ways to Work - A New Offering through
 SparkPoint Contra Costa

In today's economic environment, many local residents are challenged to obtain the basic necessities of life, such as reliable transportation.  One common challenge is the inability to obtain a reliable used vehicle at competitive interest rates, especially for families with poor or no credit.  The inability to obtain reliable transportation creates significant daily challenges, such as: 
  •  How long does it take to ride a bus, or several, to and from work?
  • What if public transportation isn't an option? Could a spouse, friend or family member provide transportation every day?
  • How to do weekly grocery shopping?
  • How would they get your children to and from day care?
  • If a child/children gets in an accident, is it possible to get to the doctor without a car?
The Solution
SparkPoint Contra Costa recommends the Ways to Work car purchase program as the solution for many low-to-moderate income families who are credit-challenged and have difficulties obtaining an affordable auto loan. Potential borrowers can access a loan of up to $8,000 at an 8% interest rate, which is much better than the 20-25% interest typically charged by used car dealers.  The eligibility requirements of the loan program are as follows:
  • Resident of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz or Solano Counties within specified zip code (provided at intake)
  • Valid CA Driver's License
  • 18+ Years Old with Challenged Credit
  • Ability to Repay Loan and Cover Expenses Related to Car Ownership and Insurance
  • Employed at Least 6 Months, Working 40+ Hours
To learn more or to download a brochure, click  here.
Community Support

December 1 is #GivingTuesday!

Richmond Community Foundation is proud to be a participating organization in the worldwide day of giving.  Immediately following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season and celebrates philanthropy as the calendar year comes to an end. Join RCF on December 1 for a day of giving .  All online fees for donations will be waived that day!  Click here to learn more or to donate.

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