Partnering with UC Berkeley on Equitable Recovery

by Chief Strategy Officer Richard Raya

I’m excited to announce that we have entered into a partnership with a team at UC Berkeley to help develop our new Institute for Equitable Recovery. 

At Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), we are being called upon to provide equitable development training and technical assistance to communities in San Francisco and across the country. This is because of the success that we and our network of partners have had in building and preserving affordable housing, providing small business loans in cultural corridors, working with early learning centers and schools to improve long-term learning outcomes, and responding to the COVID crisis with emergency income relief for families.

The UC Berkeley team will work with us to develop a business plan for this new, growing function, to be named the Institute for Equitable Recovery at MEDA.

The team is part of a Haas School of Business program called Social Sector Solutions, which is an experiential learning course where student consulting teams tackle complex problems for social enterprise organizations. The course is taught in partnership with instructors and coaches from McKinsey & Company. 

As a UC Berkeley alum, I’m excited to be connected to students at my alma mater in this important work. The final deliverables for this project will include an assessment of and marketing kit for our current curriculum and technical assistance services, a revenue model, and a staffing and organizational design. 

The Institute will share best practices with other community based organizations — as we are currently doing with National Association of Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) — and partner with groups working toward an equitable recovery through place-based investments, as we are doing with End Child Poverty California and the It Takes a Village Act, and as we did with PolicyLink and the Urban Institute on the recent report: A Blueprint for the Next Generation of Federal Place-Based Policy

Our Institute will share curriculum and technical assistance on the following topics:

  • Developing a Community Backbone Agency & CBO Partnerships
  • Affordable Housing Preservation & Development 
  • Small Business Lending & Development; Business Corridors as Community Anchors 
  • Schools as Centers of Community, Cradle-to-Career Alignment  
  • Engaging Resident and Client Leadership
  • Workforce/Jobs/Asset Building/Income Supports 
  • Health Outreach: Establishing a Medical Home for Clients, Vaccines & Testing
  • Data collection and sharing

Why we are doing this now
MEDA used its federal Promise Neighborhood grant to become a community backbone agency with robust Evaluation, Real Estate, Community Lending and Policy departments. With this infrastructure and a cadre of Family Success Coaches, it was able to provide wraparound, two-generation services at schools and early learning centers in the Mission District, partnering closely with 15 agencies, aligning city and school systems, organizing community voice to inform policy, and developing resident leadership to drive change. To resist the tidal wave of gentrification in San Francisco, MEDA moved beyond providing direct services and added an equity framework that focused on placekeeping for a community of color.

Since our Promise Neighborhood began, the kinder-readiness rate for our students increased to 71%, compared to the neighborhood average of 41%, the graduation rate at our target high school increased from 68% to 86% and we became an affordable housing developer with 1,400 units developed or in the pipeline.

When COVID arrived, it hit our community the hardest. Although Latinos only made up 15% of the city’s population, they were 50% of the COVID-positive cases, because of their crowded living conditions and service sector jobs that could not be done from home. The trust that our Promise Neighborhood built with the community, and the networked approach we had developed with other agencies, put us in a position to reach these families, and to work with the city to play a central role in distributing emergency resources to these hard-to-reach families, including $8M in income replacement funds to 6,000 families — allowing residents to quarantine at home when needed – and $9M in relief funds for nearly 300 small business owners.

This type of transformational, community-led initiative should not be a boutique one-off, but rather the normal way that we come together as a society to align systems, fight poverty and reverse legacies of inequity. This will be the goal of the Institute for Equitable Recovery.

Are you a funder, community-based organization or elected official interested in partnering with MEDA on this exciting new project?
Contact me:

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