Community Investments Committee - February 10, 2015 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
February 10, 2015 - 1:00pm
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70
San Francisco, CA 94102


Tuesday, February 10, 2015
1:00 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70


The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m.

1. Roll Call
Commissioners Present:
Charles Collins
Sherene Melania, Chair
Janine Shiota
Marcus Shelby

Commissioners Absent:
Abby Sadin-Schnair

Staff Present: Tom DeCaigny, Judy Nemzoff, Barbara Mumby, Robynn Takayama, Cristal Fiel

2. Public Comment
There was none made.

3. Community Investments Director Report
Community Investments Program Director Judy Nemzoff updated the committee on the continued research of American Council for Learned Societies (“ACLS”) Public Fellow in Policy and Evaluation, Dr. Anh Thang Dao-Shah. Dr. Dao-Shah has scheduled a series of upcoming focus groups with individual artists, grantees and other stakeholders where she will present her findings. As of the committee meeting, she had conducted one focus group with the fourteen nonprofit arts organizations who have received the largest amount of funding over the course of the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund’s nineteen-year existence. Staff was not present at this meeting, and Dr. Dao-Shah asked a series of questions with the focus group following the presentation of her findings. Ms. Nemzoff said that Dr. Dao-Shah’s upcoming focus groups, which would be limited to no more than ten individuals at a time, included two with individual artists; and two with past recipients of the Cultural Equity Initiatives (“CEI”) Level 1 and 2, as well as past recipients of Organization Project Grants (“OPG”). She would also conduct a focus group with individuals representing the Native American and indigenous communities.

Following the focus groups, Dr. Dao-Shah would synthesize the information and present a series of recommendations based on the responses from the focus groups. After that, Dr. Dao-Shah would present her findings and recommendations to the broader community, which would be at the inaugural annual San Francisco Arts Commission (“SFAC”) grants community convening which had been proposed in the SFAC’s strategic plan. Ms. Nemzoff said that staff had invited over 70 individuals to participate in the focus groups, and the broader community would have an opportunity to review the process and recommendations at this grants community convening.

Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny added that the idea of the broad, annual meeting would be for past grantees, but also prospective grantees to learn more about the historical data of SFAC’s granting opportunities, the results of the focus groups, and a presentation of draft recommendations from staff about potential changes to the grant guidelines. He said that the meeting has not been designed yet, but the goal was to look for innovative ways to receive real time feedback at this meeting, which was tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 2. Staff would then put forward final feedback and recommendations to the committee in April or May, and come up with recommendations for SFAC’s grant strategy for the upcoming fiscal year.

The committee discussed the possibility of designing a portion of the meeting for networking. Commissioner Collins asked whether the data would be available to the public in advance of the meeting. Ms. Nemzoff stated that it might be best to present the data and make it available following the meeting. She added that there would be another focus group with colleagues from the philanthropic community that would take place before the community meeting on April 2. She said it was an opportunity to look at some of the things we have learned through Dr. Dao-Shah’s research and see if it was in alignment with other private funders.

Ms. Nemzoff said that Dr. Dao-Shah was in the process of collecting data and research around the Cultural Centers, and that there would be an opportunity for the Center directors, staff, board, and other stakeholders to be interviewed in the coming weeks.

Commissioner Melania called for public comment. There was none made.

4. Jazz Mural Restoration in District 3
Mr. DeCaigny stated that the allocation of the funds toward this project was the result of the City’s new participatory budget process that allowed residents in neighborhoods and supervisorial districts to rank their interests in how City funding should be spent. He said that the Arts Commission was navigating a new City process and the Arts Commission had to issue a competitive request for proposals to award the funds. This project was to restore the historical jazz mural at 606 Broadway Street, which was a privately owned building. He added that this was an exciting project because of the collaboration between staff of the Civic Art Collection and Community Investments programs. Senior Registrar Allison Cummings would be working on this project to assure proper, historical restoration.

Ms. Nemzoff stated that another request for proposals would be rolling out in the coming weeks and the committee would see more mural restorations, street fairs, and arts festivals.

Commissioner Shiota asks for a clarification on where the funding for these grants was coming from. Mr. DeCaigny clarified that these were not funds from the Cultural Equity Endowment Fund, but were one-time add-back funds from the district supervisors that were driven specifically by constituents within those districts. Mr. DeCaigny said the source of the funds was from the City’s general fund.

Commissioner Melania gave the following motion:

Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a grant agreement with North Beach Neighbors in an amount not to exceed $15,000 for the restoration of the "Jazz Mural" by artist Bill Weber on 606 Broadway Street (at Columbus Avenue) in District 3.

Moved: Shelby/Shiota
Public Comment: None.
The motion was unanimously approved.

5. Arts for Neighborhood Vitality Grants
Senior Program Officer Barbara Mumby said that based on Dr. Dao-Shah’s research, the staff has seen an increase in applicants for the Arts for Neighborhood Vitality (“ANV”) grant. There was an internal staff review of applications, and the review panel was able to recommend an additional applicant for funding due to contingency funding from the previous fiscal year.

Mr. DeCaigny said that funding for the ANV grant was a work order from San Francisco Grants for the Arts (“SFGTA”), and that the intent of this grant was to support neighborhood festivals with a smaller budget.

Commissioner Melania gave the following motion:

Motion: Motion to approve recommendations to award eleven grants totaling $33,000 in the 2014-2015 cycle of Arts for Neighborhood Vitality (“ANV”) grants to the following organizations, and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into grant agreements with each organization for the amounts listed:
Brava Theater Center/Brava! For Women in the Arts, $3,000
Precita Eyes Muralists Association, Inc., $3,000
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema, $3,000
Excelsior Action Group, $3,000
Richmond District Neighborhood Center, $3,000
Chinese Historical Society of America, $3,000
Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, $3,000
Marigold Project, $3,000
Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center, $3,000
Galería de la Raza, $3,000
The Village Project, $3,000

Moved: Collins/Shiota
Public Comment: None
The motion was unanimously approved.

6. Creative Space Grants
Ms. Mumby said that the Creative Space (“CRSP”) grant provided funds to support the enhancement of cultural facilities in San Francisco through the areas of capital improvements, planning, and major code and safety. Program Officer Robynn Takayama supported Ms. Mumby in organizing the panel, which recommended a total of seven applicants for funding over these three program areas. Ms. Mumby stated that the total ask of the twenty applicants was $653,100. Ms. Mumby added that there was some contingency funding to allow the recommendation of one additional applicant.

Commissioner Melania asked whether organizations with existing spaces were prioritized. Ms. Mumby said that it depended on which program area the applicant fell under and that for this grant category, a 501(c)(3) status was required of all applicants. Ms. Takayama added that there were two applicants recommended for planning and noted that although the scores for the planning applicants were lower, it was because there were fewer criteria in the program area than capital improvements and major code and safety.

Mr. DeCaigny said that the CRSP grants had been historically smaller in prior years, but due to the rise in cost of construction, the SFAC decided to increase the grant amounts in the last grants cycle. He said that the budget allocation that the agency had been awarding in prior years was no longer enough to complete a project.

Commissioner Shiota asked how staff would follow up with these grant projects. Ms. Mumby said that there would be ongoing site visits and that staff would work with the grantees to ensure that they complete their work. Ms. Takayama added that because of the larger grant amounts, the grantees would be required to give interim reports so that staff could track the project along the way. Ms. Mumby said that Ms. Takayama was very thoughtful in choosing a set of panelists who had specialized knowledge of the different program areas in CRSP. Ms. Takayama said that the panelists recommended the applicants based on their proposal and whether the quotes they submitted seemed realistic. Mr. DeCaigny said that the Department of Building Inspection would also be involved in making sure that these projects were up to building and construction code.

The committee discussed the possibility of having a policy discussion around assessing the risk of investment in regards to the CRSP planning grants. Mr. DeCaigny said that for the planning process there was a level of risk assessment in investment for any business. Ms. Takayama commented that for CRSP, planning was especially important and many of the recommended applications had been noted for their strong planning components which brought them to this point in making the request.

Ms. Nemzoff said that the agency had been in conversation with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (“OEWD”) and SFGFTA for the past three to five years around an investment in the Central Market neighborhood. She said there has been deep investment by the Northern California Community Loan Fund (“NCCLF”) to do feasibility studies for nonprofits who wanted to move into Central Market and that all of those early assessments and conversations have led to a better strategy moving forward.

Commissioner Collins commented that he would want to be in the position to speak intelligently about and defend the decisions and investments the Commission made. He said that there needed to be greater clarity on how and why City agencies were investing and supporting sustainability for certain organizations, and that collecting data would help make a case for these investments.

Commissioner Melania gave the following motion:

Motion: Motion to approve recommendations to award seven grants totaling $255,000 in the 2014-2015 cycle of Creative Space (“CRSP”) grants to the following organizations, and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into grant agreements with each organization for the amounts listed:
Women’s Audio Mission, $25,000
CounterPULSE, $25,000
Croatian American Cultural Center, $25,000
509 Cultural Center / the luggage store, $50,000
Z Space Studio, $40,000
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus / Golden Gate Performing Arts, $40,000
Root Division, $50,000

Moved: Shiota/Collins
Public Comment: None
The motion was unanimously approved.

7. New Business and Announcements
Commissioner Collins expressed his excitement for the arts activation happening in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, including a partnership between the Bayview Opera House and the American Conservatory Theater, as well as a the work of former SFAC staffer Tyra Fennell. Ms. Nemzoff said that Ms. Fennell was now on contract to support wrapping up the mural projects in this year’s StreetSmARTS program, and that Ms. Fennell was working to establish some exciting new arts and music opportunities for the Bayview community in a personal capacity.

Commissioner Melania called for public comment. There was none made.

8. Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:01 p.m.

* Please note that due to technical difficulties beyond our control, audio recording for this meeting is unavailable.

CF 2/24/15 – draft minutes posted

CF 3/2/15 - minutes adopted


Language Accessibility

Translated written materials and interpretation services are available to you at no cost. For assistance, please notify Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-3145,

我們將為閣下提供免費的書面翻譯資料和口譯服務。如需協助,Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-3145,

Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-3145,

Ang mga materyales na nakasalin sa ibang wika at ang mga serbisyong tagapagsalin sa wika ay walang bayad. Para sa tulong, maaring i-contact si Program Associate Cristal Fiel, 415-252-3145,