Community Living Campaign: 2021 Year in Review
Good people doing good things is at the heart of strong age- and disability-friendly neighborhoods. We are so thankful to all of you—our neighbors, community partners, donors, and funders—for all you do to make this possible. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been inspired by one example after another of neighbors and partners sharing their ideas, time, talents, and interests to meet unprecedented challenges.
Over the past year, Community Living Campaign continued our focus on the whole person. As a result, we’ve built stronger ties across our program to better support participants.
We listened and responded to needs as they arose. Community Connector Networks added frozen meal delivery; the Food Networks and SF ReServe promoted more tech training, devices, and Internet access; and we expanded transportation support across multiple programs.
We’ve gotten creative to meet people where they are most comfortable: online, outdoors, or indoors. Staff and volunteers are working together to create opportunities to learn, exercise, create, work, and make friends.
This year we looked inward as well, with a particular focus on examining and improving our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion. We believe that this work not only supports and empowers staff, it also enables us to better identify and understand our neighbors’ needs and increase the impact of our efforts.
Your generous support enabled us to try creative approaches as we all faced this unprecedented environment. Read on to learn more about how your support improved lives for neighbors across the city.
We look forward to 2022 and beyond, working in concert to build on the skills and connections we’ve all made over the past several years. Please join us in supporting this important work. Together, we can meet challenges and continue to bring about the changes and funding needed to make San Francisco a place where we can all age and thrive in community.
Community Building. We build programs that connect neighbors throughout San Francisco. Together, we are cultivating the friendships needed to age and thrive at home.
“…your online activities have kept me ‘sane’ during the Pandemic. Something to look forward to every day.”
Community Connector Networks build strong relationships among neighbors and friends who can be there for each other. Whether meeting online or in person, participants build connections and have fun.
Over 850 seniors and people with disabilities joined in 1,410 hours of activities such as exercise, writing, emergency preparedness, and outdoor events.
To support pandemic-related needs, staff and volunteers also made nearly 800 hours of wellness calls, visits, and meal deliveries this year.
Neighbors helping neighbors are at the heart of our work.
Neighbors in Food Delivery Networks bring groceries and human connection to seniors and people with disabilities who can’t travel to food pantries on their own.
“The staff and volunteers do a great job, very caring all the time, a pleasure to see every week.”
These dedicated teams of staff and volunteers overcame pandemic challenges—even moving operations outdoors— to continue delivering over 11,740 bags of healthy foods and making more than 10,600 visits.
To keep participants safe, we shifted to mostly virtual activities and provided 3,200 hours of phone calls and assistance (more than double pre-pandemic levels).
We turn strangers into neighbors, and neighbors into friends.
Writing Groups. Our four weekly writing groups moved online in March 2020. They’re thriving! Writers share their work in monthly virtual showcases and at pop-up events. With the support of our lead writing facilitator and a volunteer graphic designer, they have published their first writing anthology. We’re now raising funds for the next one!
Aging While Black: Digital Inclusion & Community Events. This year, our Food Networks reimagined our annual Aging While Black forum as a focused effort to get African American neighbors online for two virtual events. The team worked closely with our tech staff and Network for Elders to hold classes on tech and Zoom basics. Over 70 neighbors then gathered virtually in June and October for Aging While Black events that combined healthy aging experts, line dancing, and time for social mingling. We’re now planning our next classes.
Transportation Support.With SF Muni’s pandemic service cuts still in effect, helping neighbors with transportation was more essential than ever. Working with the SF Essential Trip Card and Lyft, we provided nearly 330 transportation subsidies, totaling over $30,100 in rides. In the new year, we’ll work to ensure the City’s Essential Trip Card continues and that we’re able to keep assisting those who need help getting to essential appointments.
Chinese Singing Classes & Celebrations. Our Chinese-language tech classes have grown rapidly throughout the pandemic. Led by our dedicated Chinese-Language Training Manager, the students came together for a virtual Chinese New Year celebration with song and dance performances from their homes. This was such a hit that we’ve held three more bilingual celebrations and added Cantonese singing classes, which have over 150 participants. We’re raising funds for more classes,
Empowerment. We grow the skills and tools needed to live a good life, whether that’s learning how to use technology, finding employment, or advocating for yourself and others.
With most computer labs still closed, we expanded our virtual training and introduced in-person tutoring where we could. This year, staff and volunteers taught over 500 neighbors. We provided 86 tablets, 13 laptops, and 49 GrandPads, along with free or low-cost Internet as needed.
Neighborhood Tech Connect Increases Tech Access and Confidence
Before joining this program, 37% were new to the Internet, and 47% hadn’t used Zoom. Five months after getting tablets and training, participants are more confident connecting to people and resources online.
The ideas, talents, and energies of older adults and people with disabilities are a resource for our communities.
Our SF ReServe Job Program helps seniors and adults with disabilities earn income and contribute to their communities. During the past year, 49 ReServists provided almost 18,900 hours of expertise at local nonprofits and community-focused businesses. During the height of the pandemic, our ReServe team shifted participants to at-home work, providing laptops, Internet, and training. As our partner organizations increase in-person options, ReServists are shifting back as well.
Work Matters Coalition. To increase senior and disability employment opportunities, SF ReServe partners with other organizations including Felton Institute, PRC, and JobsNow. Together, we’re able to offer a continuum of options from training to part- and full-time work.
SF Senior Beat began with one neighbor’s desire to write the stories about older San Franciscans that she wasn’t seeing in local papers. Led by a veteran editor, the online news magazine now employs multiple ReServists to “smash aging stereotypes” by sharing stories about our city’s vibrant and diverse older adults. Over the past year, ReServists have published over 55 stories. Read their work at sfseniorbeat.com.
Advocacy. We build coalitions that fight for the policies, services, and supports needed to make San Francisco a place where we can all age and thrive.
We help individuals speak out, and we bring together diverse coalitions to work toward a more aging and disability-friendly city.
The Sidewalk Search Party addresses hazardous sidewalks throughout the city. The group meets regularly on Zoom and has celebrated successes from their campaign to encourage neighbors to report hazards to 311. The group is now gathering videos for a Sidewalk Search Party Newscast, and recently brought their concerns to a Board of Supervisors hearing.
Transportation Access. Based on what we’ve learned through our Transportation Support, we’ve worked with neighbors, community organizations, Supervisors, and others to increase transportation access. We continue to hold workshops, share information, help people speak at hearings, and support neighborhood campaigns.
We continue to coordinate the SF Tech Council, a unique multi-sector effort to tackle digital inclusivity in San Francisco. In addition to regularly bringing stakeholders together to share ideas and learn, the Tech Council supports initiatives to close the digital divide. Find out more and join in at sftechcouncil.org.
Over the past year, the SF Tech Council, with the support of the Metta Fund, provided $50,000 in Equity & Innovation grants to five organizations focused on closing the digital divide for Vietnamese, Spanish, and Chinese-speaking participants, as well as people with behavioral health challenges.
The Tech Council is also leading the evaluation of the Adult Day Services Digital Connections Pilot, which pairs participants with GrandPads in partnership with our Neighborhood Tech Connect program and a number of Adult Day Health Centers.
And most recently, the Tech Council, in partnership with Blissen, has launched the Kickstart Your Business at 50+ Pilot, which will guide aspiring older adult entrepreneurs through the step-by-step process of bringing their business ideas to life.
The Dignity Fund Coalition continues to meet monthly to preserve and expand funding, as well as advocate for emerging needs. This year, the Dignity Fund Coalition successfully advocated to restore $750,000 in funds in the city budget and co-sponsored the Master Plan for Aging forum on homelessness. Find out more and join in at sfdignityfund.org.
Help Us to Make San Francisco a Great Place to Grow Older
Our Heartfelt Thanks. Your generous and flexible support enabled us to try creative approaches as we all faced unprecedented and ever-changing needs and challenges. With your support, we’ve been able to work closely with our neighbors to continue reducing isolation, building community, and empowering participants in the ways that work best right now.
Together, we can create an inclusive San Francisco where people of all ages and abilities can truly live “in community”—with all the rich relationships and opportunities that are part of a good life.
Bring greater joy, health, and connectedness to San Francisco seniors and people with disabilities through community-building, empowerment, and advocacy. There are many ways to help: donate online , explore other ways to donate, or volunteer your time and expertise.
From the beginning, we’ve seen how one person’s idea can transform a community. Your donation nurtures these efforts so that neighborhood-based solutions can really take off. Together, we can face whatever challenges come next.