Noticias de MEDA 2013 is Here!

U.S. Department Of Education Awards 2012 $30M Promise Neighborhoods Grant

SOn December 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement announced that the Mission Promise Neighborhood was selected to receive a five-year, $30 million Promise Neighborhoods implementation grant, one of the highest amounts granted of only six other selected communities in the nation.

In December 2011, MEDA received a $500,000 Promise Neighborhoods planning grant to carry out a community-wide planning process to create an evidence-based continuum of services that would meet the Mission District’s needs, with a focus on low-income Latino students and their families at  César Chávez  Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Everett Middle School, and John O’Connell High School. Throughout 2012, MEDA worked the Office of Mayor Ed Lee, numerous community based organizations, city agencies, colleges and universities, and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and others to complete a comprehensive planning initiative that resulted in a 5-year implementation plan and a successful proposal to the Department of Education. The plan addresses student and family needs in a comprehensive, integrated manner, focusing on: student achievement and school improvement, college and career readiness, early learning and development, family economic success, technology access and training, health, housing, community safety and other areas.

“The Promise Neighborhoods grants will not only help our children succeed in school, but these grants will lift up families and whole communities,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “I thank President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan for choosing the Mission community as one of seven recipients of the Promise Neighborhoods implementation grants so that we can continue to prepare our youth for the 21st Century workforce.”

“By delivering support holistically in a linguistically- and culturally-competent manner, this grant will bridge together successful local nonprofits and public and private partners to work with kids and families: empowering the community, breaking cycles of poverty, and ensuring every child can reach their full potential, from cradle to college to career,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The Promise Neighborhood implementation grant will leverage SFUSD’s three-year $45 million School Improvement Grant (SIG) to support the transformation of student outcomes at state-identified “persistently lowest-achieving schools.” Mission area schools are demonstrating improvement by incorporating a deep focus on literacy instruction, professional development for teachers, additional support staff, and a community schools approach, all work that will be built upon at target schools through the Mission Promise Neighborhood. The Mission Promise Neighborhood also builds on the San Francisco SparkPoint at Plaza Adelante, an initiative of United Way of the Bay Area to bundle services of multiple partner agencies to achieve family economic stability. MEDA will work in close partnership with the John W. Gardner Center for Youth & Their Communities at Stanford University to evaluate the Mission Promise Neighborhood implementation over the next five years.

Promise Neighborhoods is one of the signature programs of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which supports innovative and inclusive strategies that bring public and private partners together to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. It encourages collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services to support local solutions for sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with affordable housing, safe streets and good schools.

MEDA would also like to thank JPMorgan Chase & Co., First Republic Bank, the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and Citi for their support of the Mission Promise Neighborhood.

For more information on our Mission Promise Neighborhood Initiative, please contact Victor Corral at 415-282-3334 ext. 134 or at or visit



MEDA Launches Lead Free LLC to Create Jobs and Fight against Lead Poisoning

Last month, MEDA was thrilled to launch our new social enterprise, Lead Free LLC, dedicated to creating jobs while working to end childhood lead poisoning in San Francisco.  Supervisor David Campos and Rhapsody Green Center Founder and CEO, Joseph Ruiz, joined us in introducing Lead Free to community members, building professionals, and non-profit leaders at Plaza Adelante on February 20th. Read below for highlights from the event and for more information on how Lead Free will serve the Mission and other San Francisco communities.

 “We in the Mission have a long history of innovation”
Supervisor David Campos kicked off the event by praising MEDA’s innovative approach to both job creation and lead poisoning prevention through the launch of Lead Free, adding that the project builds upon MEDA’s long history of forward-thinking, socially responsible initiatives.

Campos stressed the deep need for lead poisoning prevention services like those offered by Lead Free. Pointing to the fact that 94% of San Francisco homes were constructed before the 1978 residential ban on lead-based paint, he cautioned that the city is in “a very precarious position relative to our infrastructure because of that history.”

Lead Free currently addresses lead poisoning concerns in these pre-1978 buildings by performing special cleanings that remove all lead particles and dust created by home renovation and repair activities, as well as everyday wear and tear.  

“As a parent…this is a real concern”
Malea Chavez, Director of Plaza Adelante Sparkpoint and Special Projects at MEDA, also spoke about lead poisoning concerns within the city.  Highlighting the need for greater lead poisoning awareness, she said that both MEDA and Lead Free will work with families and schools to, “provide lead poisoning education and make sure people get the protection they need.”

Empathizing with parents concerned about the threat of lead poisoning within their homes, she stated, “this is a real concern, and a near and dear issue to my heart.”

“A great idea” for San Francisco contractors
MEDA was also honored to have Joseph Ruiz speak on behalf of Lead Free.  Ruiz heralded the benefits of Lead Free’s services for contractors, sharing that, “any time you do any type of remodel or rehab in San Francisco, you’re going to be doing lead work.”

Referring to Lead Free’s lead cleaning, post-construction cleaning, and post-remodeling cleaning services, he exclaimed, “You can be lead free of the problem!…They’ll take care of it.  They’ll do the clean-up, and they’ll guarantee the results.”

“A one-stop shop…we’ll have it all”
Ginny Fontenot, Lead Free Social Enterprise Program Manager, ended the program by sharing Lead Free’s holistic approach to lead hazard removal.  In addition to lead cleanings and lead poisoning awareness efforts, Lead Free currently offers EPA RRP trainings and lead abatement referrals. 

Perhaps most importantly, however, she highlighted that Lead Free creates jobs right here in the Mission. Lead Free’s staff, who are fully-trained and certified, are all local residents working to support their families while also protecting other San Francisco families from the dangers of lead poisoning.

You can read more about the event in Mission Local’s excellent coverage here.  Stay updated on all things Lead Free by connecting with Lead Free on Twitter for organization updates, lead prevention and home safety tips, and featured guest blogs!  Be sure to tell other San Francisco families and residents to get connected too! 



Client Success Story: Business Development Client Fredy Gamez

For many years, Salvadorian businessman Fredy Gamez aspired to open his own oyster bar. After working for a well-known restaurant for 15 years, he felt confident he had the knowledge needed to successfully follow his dreams. With the skills he gained in his previous job and previous entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Gamez felt ready to make his dream into a reality and he secured a 10-year lease for his new restaurant in the Mission District. Mr. Gamez approached MEDA in October 2012 to help him with the necessary steps for his lifelong ambition. After a thorough analysis of his business plan by a MEDA business coach he was advised he would need additional start-up capital to start his oyster bar. He was initially denied a loan by conventional lenders so MEDA helped him obtain a $25,000 loan from Working Solutions.  Working Solutions manages a loan fund created by the city of San Francisco to support small businesses and job creation.  Mission Street Oyster Bar opened up in January 2013 and has since received great reviews!

Access to capital is one of the many services offered at Plaza Adelante through AccelerateSF and MEDA’s Business Development Program. For more information about AccelerateSF please call 415-282-3334 ext 123 or visit You are all invited to support Fredy by enjoying some savory sea food at the Mission Street Oyster Bar.

Visit Mission Street Oyster Bar: 2282 Mission Street, between 18th and 19th Street.

Click here to learn more about MEDA’s Business Development Program and Accelerate SF at: (LIST WEBSITES)

Click here to learn more about Working Solutions.

MercaditoPProgram Highlight: El Mercadito

As commercial rents continue to rise in the Mission District, Latino-owned businesses are struggling to survive and it is even more difficult to launch a business in such a highly competitive area. MEDA’s business incubator, El Mercadito, is giving Latino micro-entrepreneurs the chance to live their dreams of owning a business at an affordable price.

Launched in October 2010, El Mercadito is a 1,800 square foot space Mission Street retail space that can house up to 14 businesses in Plaza Adelante on the corner of Mission and 19th Street. El Mercadito business owners are also assisted in making their businesses successful with free comprehensive business coaching from MEDA business counselors. MEDA is expanding the El Mercadito incubator model, and has opened a second location in the Tenderloin neighborhood on 335 Jones Street. The Tenderloin “Mercado” will include a fresh food market , a café, and additional retail space for two businesses.

As an economic empowerment strategy, micro-enterprise development is ideal for many immigrant families. Micro-enterprises give people the opportunity to apply skills they have acquired at their home countries to create income, start businesses and build assets over the long term. El Mercadito helps MEDA’s clients create jobs and improve our community’s economic well-being.

Click here to visit El Mercadito Website. To learn more about  opportunites at El Mercadito contact MEDA’s business department:




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