SVCF Awards Nearly $1.4 Million in Grants for Housing, Transportation Solutions from San Jose to San Francisco
MOUNTAIN VIEW— In an expansion that reflects the vast scope of the chronic traffic congestion and affordable-housing crunch for Silicon Valley residents, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has awarded nearly $1.4 million to support initiatives aimed at easing housing and transit problems from San Francisco to San Jose.
In the past, SVCF has provided grants that support affordable housing and transit programs in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the traditional boundaries of Silicon Valley. But thanks to SVCF’s launch of the Silicon Valley Regional Fund, this latest round of grants expands to include projects that serve residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
“The housing, land-use and transportation problems we aim to solve can be tackled more effectively using a regional approach,” said Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO and president of SVCF. “These issues don’t stop and start at county lines. We are confident that expanding our grantmaking will have benefits for all Silicon Valley residents and commuters.”
The Silicon Valley Regional Fund supports innovative regional solutions to creating more affordable housing opportunities and transportation options throughout Silicon Valley, including San Francisco. For example, one of the new grants, which were recently approved by SVCF’s board of directors, will provide $150,000 to the San Mateo County Transit District to complete a feasibility study for a network of express buses on the congested U.S.-101 freeway corridor between San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. These areas are more interconnected than ever. Data from Joint Venture’s Silicon Valley Index, for example, show that more than 16,000 commuters travel daily from Santa Clara county into San Francisco (up by 23 percent from 2011) and more than 27,000 from San Francisco into Santa Clara county (up by 28 percent).
Meanwhile, the median price of single-family homes in the Bay Area rose to a record $750,000 in the summer of 2016, up 7 percent from the previous year, according to research firm CoreLogic. These trends have exacerbated the need for regional affordable housing and transit solutions to accommodate everyone from those employed in technology companies to the lower-income workers who are being displaced by demand-driven housing cost increases.
“Silicon Valley is the envy of the nation for our region’s strong job growth, but the problems faced by our most vulnerable residents are worsening rapidly, including traffic congestion and insufficient public transit, and a dearth of affordable low-income housing investment,” said Vu-Bang Nguyen, program officer for the building strong communities grantmaking strategy at SVCF.
The 20 new grants range in amount from $10,000 to $180,000, and will fund nonprofit organizations’ activities including advocacy for housing and transit, communications and outreach efforts, leadership-building for those affected by displacement and studies or projects to improve public transit options.
Four of the grants, totaling $320,000, come from SVCF’s year-old Silicon Valley Regional Fund. The remaining 16 grants, totaling $1,035,000, have been awarded as part of SVCF’s building strong communities grantmaking strategy. Under this strategy, SVCF has awarded almost $7 million since 2009 to nonprofit organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that advocate for and promote affordable housing and transit-oriented development, as well as greater civic engagement in regional planning issues.
Among the other grantees:
- Faith in Action has been awarded $75,000 to train and empower low-income residents and residents of color to engage in finding long-term solutions to housing displacement and housing affordability. The primary goal of this project is to develop the leadership capacity of those who are most affected by the housing crisis so they can participate in the policy-making decisions that will improve their housing stability.
- Youth Leadership Institute will receive $70,000 to lead the Transportation Justice Alliance, a three-organization effort to build the capacity of San Mateo County residents, transit operators, low wage workers and community-based organizations serving marginalized communities to advocate for equitable transportation plans and policy efforts.
- Law Foundation of Silicon Valley will receive a grant of $50,000 to prevent the displacement of low-income people and advocate for safe, fair and affordable housing.
About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.