¡VIVA MEDA! 50 Spotlights MEDA’s Half-Century Milestone

by Philanthropic Engagement Manager Akemi Chan-Imai

(Learn more about the Golden Anniversary Campaign)

It was a truly memorable evening October 12, when nearly 420 community members, funders and supporters celebrated in-person at the iconic San Francisco City Hall Rotunda and North Light Court ballroom. United under the theme of “Mission Roots, National Legacy”, we celebrated MEDA’s 50 years of service to the community and the exciting launch of our ambitious Golden Anniversary Fundraising Campaign. 

San Francisco City Hall’s historic building was spectacularly uplit in MEDA colors, as the grand Rotunda came to life with the warm energy, buzz and excitement of guests reconnecting with familiar faces and forging new friendships. ¡VIVA MEDA! is an annual celebration of our ongoing work and the many successes of the 17,000 families we engage and serve annually. MEDA’s 50th anniversary milestone is made all the more meaningful with three major accomplishments this year: 

  1. The groundbreaking of 2205 Mission scheduled for the year-end marks the long-awaited start of construction of local affordable housing for our educators
  2. This year marks the one-year anniversary of Fondo Adelante’s Racial Equity Lens loan program, which has disbursed $1 million in capital as of this September with ZERO defaults to date
  3. 2023 also marks one year since MEDA’s Equitable Recovery Institute was established with CSO Richard Raya at the helm. Now a team of five, ERI is busy sharing MEDA’s model nationwide!

Popular Univision 14 News reporter María Antonietta Mejía served as our emcee for the first time. Kicking off the festivities, we welcomed a Mission District local artist Mariachi Nueva Generación.

The night began with our annual awards presentation hosted during our private reception attended by local officials and other notable figures in our community. This year, we recognized two outstanding MEDA clients and one audacious leader. The three awardees were:

  • “MEDA 2023 Community Impact Award”

Awarded to: Marco Senghor

Owner of Bissap Baobab restaurant, Marco Senghor wasted no time in making the Mission District his home after arriving in San Francisco from Senegal in the late eighties. From his initial ginger juice stand to the most recent and expanded version of his restaurant, Marco’s endeavors have contributed significantly to enriching the cultural tapestry of the Mission Corridor.

  • “MEDA 2023 Client of the Year Award” 

Awarded to: Alicia Venegas and Raúl Altamirano

This immigrant couple, parents of three children, has benefited from MEDA’s support for nearly eight years, initially entering through our tax preparation program, a cornerstone of our multifaceted community resources. Alicia and Raúl exemplify how MEDA’s interconnected programs empower immigrant families on their path to prosperity. ¡Felicidades! 

  • “Legacy Award”

Awarded to: Jabari Herbert

Jabari Herbert boasts a remarkable 25-year career in the real estate development industry, marked by his expertise in identifying capital investment opportunities and overseeing the development of asset portfolios for various real estate firms, both in the United States and internationally. Herbert has been a steadfast ally in MEDA’s mission to combat displacement in the Mission District while preserving its rich cultural heritage. His unwavering support and commitment to MEDA’s cultural placekeeping initiatives underscore his dedication to ensuring that the vibrant soul of the Mission District thrives.

Echoing the welcoming remarks by MEDA CEO Luis Granados, a highlight of the evening was the powerful keynote address by Janet Murguía, President of UnidosUS. 

The evening also featured a video by Collabyrnith Creative that captured 50 years’ worth of MEDA’s tenacity, spirit, and community power. Following this inspiring video, the powerhouse duo of MEDA’s very own Vice President of Development and Communications Lucy Porras and Vice President of Asset Building Programs Ernesto Martinez inspired guests to become kick-off supporters of the newly announced Golden Anniversary fundraising campaign. Together, $503,685 was raised in sponsorships and individual contributions — a testament of the community’s power.

The night drew to a close with the vivacious sounds of Colombian salsa band Vilma Diaz y La Sonora as we reveled in community, our glasses raised to MEDA’s Mission Roots and National Legacy.

Thank you to all who took part in our milestone gala. We look forward to celebrating with you next year as we forge fearlessly into our second half-century!


Inspired to give? Make a gift today here.

Feedback or Inquiries? Please contact Akemi Chan-Imai: akemi@medasf.org

Thank you to all of our ¡VIVA MEDA! 50 sponsors



U.S. Bank




PNC Bank



JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Wells Fargo



Bank of San Francisco

Cahill Contractors

Silicon Valley Community Foundation








Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance

Goldfarb & Lipman LLP


San Francisco Electrical Construction Industry

Kaiser Permanente



Ally Bank

Carpenters Local Union No. 22

Guzman Construction Group

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Low Income Investment Fund

Mission National Bank



Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation


Abanico Coffee Roasters


Berlina Ceguerra

Bissap Baobab

Cale De Olla

Casa Lumbre

Cindy Clements

Concannon Vineyard


Edible Excursions

Efrain Barrera

Elaine Yee

El Buen Comer

El Pipila

Ernesto Martinez

Flor de Oaxaca

Gus’s Community Market

Jillian Spindle

Laura Ornelas


Luis Granados

Lus de Luna

Lucy Porras

Martha Stoumen

Maya Gonzalez

Mission Cliffs

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Mission Lotería

Oakland Athletics

Oakland Roots SC

Pablo Solares

Precita Eyes Muralist

Proper Hotels and Residence

Rajni Banthia

San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Opera

Soulful Photography

Golden State Warriors

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Civic Kitchen

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