The SFPUC’s Social Impact Partners are leading the way to support community resiliency against the COVID-19 pandemic beyond San Francisco. As the SFPUC’s infrastructure and restoration projects continue amidst shelter-in-place, the agency’s private contractors are stepping up to address emerging needs in East Bay communities surrounding the regional water system through the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership Program.
AECOM and Avila & Associates, two environmental management firms preserving the natural habitat of SFPUC lands in the Alameda Creek Watershed, are partnering with non-profits based in nearby Union City to provide emergency financial assistance and virtual college counseling for Southern Alameda County communities most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
With funding from the firms, Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ)—a non-profit leader in community organizing, economic justice, and mental health for immigrants, workers, and youth—has launched the Bayanihan Relief Fund to offer emergency financial assistance to Alameda County residents facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Relief Fund will provide up to $500 in financial assistance for individuals and up to $1000 for households to support essential needs including food, housing, distance learning, and medical expenses.
Many in the Filipino community that FAJ serves are particularly vulnerable, especially in-home care providers and nannies. FAJ Executive Director Geraldine Alcid shared why these workers will be priorities for receiving assistance: “Domestic workers and caregivers have the most pressing needs, both as front-line workers and as elderly workers who are having to choose between lost wages and their own health.”
Students are another population disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis due to school closures. To minimize disruption in youth education and college pathways, the Social Impact Firms are partnering with The Village Method to provide free virtual one-on-one college counseling for low-income African-American high school students.
Named after the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” The Village Method is a grassroots non-profit focused on youth education, family engagement, and community outreach. The organization launched its Virtual College Pathways Summit and College Counseling Fund to close the gap in access to and affordability of college readiness resources for African American students, a gap that’s widened amidst the current pandemic.
AECOM and Avila & Associates are proud to financially support these community-led initiatives in Southern Alameda County where they are performing contract work. As they enhance the natural environment of Southern Alameda County, AECOM and Avila & Associates are committed to building long-term relationships with non-profit organizations that promote the health and well-being of local communities. They hope to expand these partnerships to integrate environmental education and career exposure into existing youth programs.
These partnerships are part of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership Program, which invites private sector firm partners to give back locally to the communities in which they are performing work on behalf of the SFPUC. The SFPUC is the first public utility in the country to implement a social impact program that advances corporate social responsibility as a part of its competitive bidding process for professional services, alternative delivery and energy contracts. Other examples of SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership program include the Dinner with a Scientist, Bayview Small Business Phoenix Fund, and CityWorks.