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Thursday, January 31, 2013

SF DA George Gascón Announces Neighborhood Justice Fund Awardees

Today at a press conference at the District Attorney's offices, San Francisco DA George Gascón announced the names of the organizations that have won the first Neighborhood Justice Fund awards.  They include many doing work in District 10, as well as two organizations that are based here, the Quesada Gardens Initiative and the Visitacion Valley Business ImprovementGroup (formerly VVBOOM).  A full list of all the awardees is at the SF DA's website.

From the QGI Grant Proposal:

SF DA Gascón flanked by QGI board members
Leah Pimentel and Chris Waddling, and
QGI Executive Director Jeffrey Betcher
c) What are you proposing to do with these funds?
We will build a new mixed-use community-serving space on a formerly weedy, junk-strewn empty lot.  With your support, we will move the Palou Community Garden (located near 1838 Palou St and Dunshee St) from its current state (improved but empty and unproductive) to a showcase community space worthy of the excitement and support we have built up among neighbors in the area. It will be a safe and beautiful place and an unmistakable evidence of boot- straps community-involvement, mutual respect amidst diversity, individual wellness and environmental sustainability.

d) How does the proposed project enhance public safety, livability and/or unity in the identified Neighborhood Court district?
All elements of NJF’s Neighborhood Safety and Livability list are also key elements of the proposed Palou Community Garden project, and Neighborhood Cohesion is what this project is really all about. The Palou project will become a setting for informal peer-to-peer education, community tours and group volunteer days. . We will create a defensible space, bring eyes and ears to the site, improve lighting, and enhance the sense of active community engagement ... all of which will improve safety and wellbeing. We believe that community-based education, residents’ modeling of constructive behavior, repurposing land as a statement of a positive change in Bayview, expanding the social safety net, and creating a hub for communication for this hyper- local community are all elements of crime prevention at its best.

e) What is the long-term benefit of the proposed project to the identified San Francisco district?
The heart of Bayview gets another showcase urban treasure -- where before there was crime, toxicity and blight -- and a community-serving project instead of a source of public complaint. Quesada Gardens Initiative has been stewarding public space for ten years, and is proven to be a responsible community partner with the public sector. Like each of QGI’s projects, the most important benefit will be the more socially-cohesive community our process incorporates, fundamentally, through neighbors working toward consensus and lending a hand toward a common goal. We expect the most visible benefits to include decreased crime, increased sense of well-being and pride of place for neighbors, increased positive neighbor-neighbor interactions, beautification of a blighted public space, and a model for future endeavors.


VVBIG (formerly VVBOOM, the group that produces the annual street fair) was awarded a small grant through the San Francisco District Attorney Office Neighborhood Justice Fund to organize and promote 2-3 outdoor movie nights in our community’s parks with an emphasis on family-centric films.

SF DA Gascón and Russel Morine
of the Visitacion Valley
Business Improvement Group
This will be an entirely new effort for VVBOOM and we’d like as much input and help as possible. As a community we need to determine Where, When, and What movies to screen.

This is part of what we wrote in our grant request:

“Why an outdoor movie night in our community? Because always coming together around violence or tragedy drains the community’s spirit and skews our internal and external identity. Because our residents should not have to leave the neighborhood to feel safe in a public space. Because we believe that being able to interact and meet your neighbors in a positive social environment builds neighborhood cohesion. But most importantly, because Visitacion Valley needs to have a little fun in our own backyard!”

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