San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu today announced up to $3 million in grants to fund community-driven beautification and greening projects through the Community Challenge Grant Program (CCG). Funding for this year’s grants was included in the Mayor’s Budget from fiscal year 2022-2023.
Founded in 1991, the City’s CCG Program partners with San Francisco nonprofits, community benefit districts, schools, neighborhood groups, and businesses to provide funding and technical assistance for community-led neighborhood improvement projects. The program has brought approximately $30 million of project funds to neighborhoods across the City.
"There’s a long list of reasons to love San Francisco and our beautiful outdoor public spaces and parks have an unrivaled spot at the top of that list,” said Mayor London Breed. “Community-based organizations are vital to the work we are doing to create public spaces that are accessible for all to enjoy. I want to thank the grantees for their commitment to keep San Francisco’s many outdoor areas welcoming and thriving, and I look forward to seeing their work.”
“For over 30 years, the Community Challenge Grant Program has empowered and supported neighborhoods to design and create spaces they want to see in their communities,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu, who oversees the Community Challenge Grant Program. “This year’s grantees continue that tradition of building inviting and creative neighborhood-driven community spaces that enrich the experience of residents, visitors, and businesses who live in, work in, and visit San Francisco. I am grateful to each of the grantees for their vision and commitment to strengthening our communities.”
This year’s 26 grantees will make physical improvements to public spaces, create welcoming places for residents to build community, and engage residents and businesses in beautifying neighborhoods. The funded projects include:
- Installation of three community gardens at the Potrero Hill Housing Development (Community Awareness Resource Entity – C.A.R.E.)
- Community activation initiative and public art at Union Square Plaza (Union Square Foundation)
- “Folsom Stroll” neighborhood activation project with mural installation, mosaic stairway, and lighting in East Cut (East Cut Community Benefits District)
- Installation of seven “shared spaces” in Japantown (Japantown Community Benefits District)
- “Cesar Chavez Greenway” community open space project, converting a vacant lot at 2829 Cesar Chavez Street into a community gathering space in Peralta Heights (Peralta Heights Neighborhood Group)
- Sidewalk garden and internship program in North Beach (Climate Action Now!)
- Street maintenance and graffiti removal on Ocean Avenue between 19th Avenue and Junipero Serra Boulevard in Lakeside Village (Friends of Lakeside Village)
- Community garden and gathering space on Prospect Avenue between Cortland Avenue and Santa Marina Street in Bernal Heights (Good Prospect Neighborhood Group)
- Mosaic tile stairway in Glen Park (Burnside Mural+)
"CCG is proud to award over $2.5 million to 23 neighborhood improvement projects,” said Lanita Henriquez, Director of the Community Challenge Grant Program. “These awards empower community groups and residents to work collaboratively to make positive changes to their neighborhoods. This year’s innovative projects help build strong, connected neighborhoods and create a cleaner, greener, and more vibrant San Francisco.”
In addition to the 23 CCG-funded projects, this year’s projects also include three grants totaling $450,000 dedicated to supporting community-led green infrastructure projects through the Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant Program, a partnership between CCG and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. These grants will fund rainwater harvesting and rain garden projects in College Hill and Bernal Heights to help manage stormwater and educate residents about the City’s watersheds.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Community Challenge Grant Program again this year to support more neighborhood-driven green infrastructure projects across the City,” said SFPUC General Manager Dennis Herrera. “The awardees from this year’s grant cycle will better manage local stormwater runoff, beautify our communities, and educate residents about our City’s water and wastewater systems. Through these grants we are building a more sustainable and resilient San Francisco, one project at a time.”
“The Union Square Alliance is a proud recipient of the Community Challenge Grant 2023! This important grant empowers the Alliance to create more inclusive spaces, promote creativity, and ensure that the heart of San Francisco is alive and thriving again,” says Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance. “We share the Community Challenge Grant Program’s vision of fostering innovation and engagement in our neighborhoods and look forward to making a lasting impact on our community.”
CCG also provides grantees technical assistance and coaching to support project implementation and community engagement. Throughout their projects, grantees help foster neighborhood participation and stewardship by engaging community members, including youth and young adults.
"The Friends of Alemany Farm is very grateful to receive this CCG grant for the coming year,” said Abby Bell, Farm Director. “CCG funding has been critical for us over the years and has allowed us to grow and distribute over 20,000 lbs. of food in 2022 and to develop and maintain paid urban agroecology apprentice programming. This grant will enable further growth in workforce development in southeast San Francisco and continue our free production and distribution of fresh organic food, school garden support, youth outdoor experiences, and stewardship of a unique community greenspace.”
“The C.A.R.E. leadership is ecstatic to be awarded this amazing grant from CCG,” said Uzuri Pease-Greene, Executive Director of C.A.R.E., a non-profit created and staffed by neighbors in the Potrero Hill community. “The expansion of our garden project is a huge opportunity for healing and transformation for the residents of Potrero Hill. These much-needed resources will create transitional work as well as facilitate environmental and sustainability education.”
A complete list of funded projects can be found on CCG’s website. Funding for CCG comes from businesses designating a percentage of their gross receipts tax or other business taxes to the program. Learn more about CCG here.