Promise City Initiative Launched, Joint Effort by City, SFUSD and Community Organizations

Christopher Gil
Associate Director of Marketing and Communications
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
(415) 282-3334 ext. 152


Promise City Initiative Launched, Joint Effort by City, SFUSD and Community Organizations
 Investing in neighborhood-based partnerships to address the needs of families and improve student learning outcomes

SAN FRANCISCO, OCT. 19, 2022The City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and a cross-section of community-based organizations have announced the launch of a new initiative to revitalize partnerships, called “Promise City.” This initiative will use tools from the Mission District’s successful Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) to create plans for new Promise Neighborhoods in diverse San Francisco geographies such as Chinatown, with Community Youth Center leading the planning processes in that neighborhood, and in District 11. MEDA is identifying and confirming a third community that the initiative will serve. Promise City will focus on San Francisco’s hardest-hit communities, creating the first Promise City in the nation.  

This networked, all-hands-on-deck approach between the City, School District and community will aim to improve student learning outcomes and support the implementation of the Mayor’s Children & Family Recovery Plan.  

Mayor London Breed and School Board President Jenny Lam will join President Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone to launch the initiative on Oct. 20 at 12 p.m., at the SPUR Urban Center. The federal Promise Neighborhoods program, which originally funded MPN, is based on New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, where children and their families receive wraparound supports from cradle to career.

“Promise Neighborhoods are a vivid example that it does take a village to raise our children. When we offer resources to children and youth and connect families to services while addressing inequities, then we make good on our promise to help all of our communities thrive,” said Mayor London Breed. “I am excited about our collective work to better the lives of San Francisco residents, regardless of their ethnicity or where they live.” 

“We are thrilled about this expanded partnership,” said Jenny Lam, President at SFUSD. “Promise City weaves together the diverse tapestry of San Francisco so that our students and families furthest from opportunity can thrive. We are grateful for the investment, which revitalizes partnerships across the School District, the City and the community. For our students, the classroom experience is closely connected to the home and community experience, which is why being in service to the whole child advances our North Star of improving student outcomes.”

“The School District sees the Promise City initiative as an opportunity to revitalize partnerships between community, schools and the City to address the needs of families and improve student learning outcomes. We are proud to partner and align with the Mission Promise Neighborhood’s model to harness the power of our community based-organizations as they support our children, youth and families in the City,” said Maria Su, Executive Director at SF Department of Children, Youth and their Families. “DCYF’s investment of over $12.3M has funded programs and services located at 28 schools and community sites across the Mission District. This expands the opportunities for our partners across the City, School District and the community to meet the needs of the youth and families so that they can thrive.”

“Promise City is a perfect example of the positive collective impact we can have when we weave together family, community and systems,” said Ingrid Mezquita, Director at the Department of Early Childhood. “The City’s new Department of Early Childhood is proud to partner with MEDA, the School District, and the families and communities across our great city to ensure all children have a strong foundation of early learning, health and family support.”

Place-based, cradle-to-career collaboratives are the future of government,” said Richard Raya, Chief Strategy Officer at MEDA. “These community-led collaboratives, accountable to results, have an aligned mission to reduce disparities.” 

MPN consists of a network of 20 community organizations coordinating services at nine schools and three early learning centers in the Mission District. The network connects low-income children and their families to academic enrichment, housing, income assistance, mental health counseling and other essential services, and saw increases in kinder-readiness and graduation rates over its 10 years of implementation. 

The City also tapped this network to distribute emergency resources to the community at scale during the height of the pandemic. The network of neighborhood-based community organizations and the number of schools involved will grow as Promise Neighborhoods are planned in the three new communities. 

This initiative is being funded by a Blue Meridian Partners grant awarded to the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), which is the backbone agency for the MPN collaborative. MEDA is an investee of Blue Meridian Partners’ Place Matters portfolio, which aims to improve economic and social mobility in communities across the U.S. through investments both in place-based partnerships and catalytic supports.

“We are proud to partner with MEDA. They are data driven, think systemically and center residents in decision-making,” said Othello Meadows, Managing Director of Portfolio Strategy & Management at Blue Meridian Partners. “MEDA’s ability to simultaneously address the immediate needs of residents while working to dismantle systemic inequities is unique in the field. They do this while maintaining an unwavering focus on how their everyday work impacts families  living in the Mission.”

A three-person team at MEDA’s new Equitable Recovery Institute will support the planning processes using templates, tools and lessons learned from MPN.


About Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
Rooted in San Francisco’s Mission District, MEDA is advancing a national equity movement by building Latino prosperity, community ownership and civic power. We envision generations of Latino families choosing where to call home, thriving economically, succeeding in learning opportunities, and leading policy and social change toward a more equitable society.

About Blue Meridian Partners
Blue Meridian’s Place Matters portfolio aims to improve economic and social mobility of young people and families in communities across the US. To break the seemingly inextricable link between a person’s ZIP code and their life chances, Blue Meridian believes in the power of communities to come together across sectors, identifying shared goals, and creating interventions specific to their needs. Through a comprehensive strategy, this portfolio invests in both place-based partnerships – a community-driven, outcomes-focused approach – and the necessary ecosystem of supports to catalyze the success of each partnership. Core to Blue Meridian’s overall investing strategy, Place Matters reflects its long-held belief in place-based work as a powerful avenue for progress towards its mission of improving the life trajectories of young people and families in poverty. Ultimately, Blue Meridian aims to leave communities in control to shape their own destinies and amplify the array of solutions they can scale to achieve lasting impact.



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