45 years. Four-and-a-half decades. Almost half a century.
No matter how you say it, I stand here tonight humbled by the legacy MEDA has built since 1973.
And we could never have reached this point without each and every one of you. ¡VIVA MEDA! is truly a celebration of all of our collective work.
Thank you to each and everyone of you for joining us tonight. Again, thank you to our generous sponsors (see sponsors list). We really value your support. Thank you to all our elected and City officials who are here tonight.
I also want to recognize our community partners who are working hard to keep the Mission District a community of opportunity for all.
Additionally, I want to recognize the families we serve. You truly are MEDA’s reason for being.
I want to thank our Board of Directors. The MEDA Board of Directors steadily guide us, while giving us the room to experiment.
And finally, I want to thank my family who is here tonight, especially my wife Joanne and my daughter Anna. Anna has been attending this event for 17 years, and she will likely take a break from this event for a few years, as she is getting ready to head to college next year.
Many of us go through a midlife crisis in our 40s. For MEDA, it was the crisis of inequity in the Mission District — with 8,000 Latinos being displaced from our community — that prompted us to ask:
Who are we?
What are doing here?
What’s our contribution to the solution?
Coming up with our solutions, started by shaping our behavior and actions based on our core values: focusing on the needs of our community first and foremost, and problem-solving leading to the development of relevant and innovative solutions. And always, always acting with a strong sense of urgency.
In the last couple of years, the racist, demeaning rhetoric and policies coming out of Washington, DC has only increased our resolve. We are not turning back!
As a result, MEDA reinvented itself to become:
- The service organization that yearly improves the financial standing of over 7,500 families.
- The backbone organization for the Mission Promise Neighborhood, which achieved a 26 percent increase in the Latino graduation rate at our high school.
- An affordable-housing developer that now counts 1,174 units, and by 2020 will: have 2,000 units; house 20 community partners in our buildings; and house 150 local-serving businesses.
- A Community Development Financial Institution, Fondo Adelante, that in its first 18 months will have $25 million dollars in investments to create more affordable housing and small businesses. By 2020, this amount will grow to $100 million dollars.
- The institution that engages our constituents in the organizing and political process. Our constituents need to elect individuals who are fully accountable and aligned with their priorities.
Along the way, as we implement these strategies, we get lots of lots and lots of noes:
“No relevant policies.”
You name it and we have gotten those noes. But to our staff, those noes are temporary.
Our staff knows that we can come up with better, more creative solutions.
Our staff knows that we will try again, and again,
Our staff works so hard to turn those noes into yeses.
Our staff knows that, ultimately, we can and will persevere.
For their dedication, perseverance and results-driven work, I would like for all of us to recognize and thank the MEDA team.
Make no mistake about it. Through service, collective impact, affordable housing, access to capital and civic engagement, the MEDA team is betting that we can reverse displacement!
Not contain. Not mitigate. Not accommodate. But reverse displacement
I am proud to say that at 45 years old, MEDA is 100 percent in the business of reversing displacement and in the business of ensuring that low-income families can have the choice to call San Francisco their permanent home.
Please watch this video — unveiled at !VIVA MEDA! 45 last night — about MEDA’s five results.