Press Release - September 5, 2017

On The Table: Event Will Bring People Together Over A Meal To Discuss Local Housing Issues

Hundreds of small-scale conversations about Bay Area housing challenges will take place Nov. 15

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – On Nov. 15, thousands of Bay Area residents will participate in small gatherings designed to let people air their concerns about the Bay Area’s housing challenges – all while sharing a meal.

The one-day event, called On the Table, is sponsored by Silicon Valley Community Foundation. As part of a national community-building initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, SVCF has been working for months to identify hundreds of individuals and organizations to host meal-time discussions about the serious housing challenges affecting all Bay Area residents. 

Hosts will provide the venue, the food – from a potluck dinner at home to a pizza lunch at the office, or any meal of their choice – and invite about eight to people to attend. On the Table lets people get to know neighbors and colleagues, make new connections and inspire action regarding the housing challenges facing our region.

“On the Table is a chance for people to get together over a bite to eat and talk about how they are affected by this region’s ongoing problem of hyper-expensive home prices and rents – and then think about ways that we as a community could make the situation better,” said Manuel Santamaría, vice president, strategic initiatives and grantmaking for SVCF.  

SVCF expects that 3,000 people or more will gather in homes, coffee shops, offices, churches etc. on Nov. 15. More than 200 nonprofit organizations have already registered to host public On the Table discussions.

“Engaging our diverse communities to address local challenges is vital to creating an equitable and vibrant future for Silicon Valley. On the Table aims to advance these goals by providing people with an open forum to connect and problem-solve over a meal. At the same time, its national focus makes room for sharing lessons between cities,” said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose.

The intent of On the Table is to foster a greater sense of community engagement and to spur conversations that might lead to greater civic involvement by participants. Following On the Table, each host will be asked to answer a survey and to report on the ideas that were raised during the discussions they hosted. SVCF will compile this information into a post-event report that will be widely shared.

To read more about hosting an On the Table discussion, visit siliconvalleycf.org/onthetable. The site allows individuals to sign up as hosts of private or public events. In coming weeks, it will be updated to allow people to sign up as attendees at public conversations being held by nonprofit organizations.

The On the Table project is part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s national replication of the On the Table civic engagement initiative pioneered by The Chicago Community Trust. Nine other U.S. cities have held or will hold On the Table events in 2017 with funding from the Knight Foundation.

Media sponsors and partners that will assist in getting the word out about the event include the San Francisco Chronicle and NBC Bay Area.

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.