The Power of Partnerships
The pandemic left our communities reeling, highlighting and exacerbating existing challenges, polarizations and inequities, that many people were facing. From food insecurity to joblessness, truancy in education, the housing crisis, and so much more, the YMCA of San Francisco recognized the necessity to step in and help. We quickly adapted operations to navigate the different challenges to ensure our communities’ needs were being addressed.
In April 2020, our long-time partner, Dome Construction Foundation, and their Senior Leadership recognized our urgent need for support. They saw how impacted our most vulnerable community members were and the need to expand vital safety net support systems. While many other social service organizations were closing their doors and ceasing operations, the Y, with the financial help of the Dome Construction Foundation, managed to increase service to those more in need.
Mark Bley, former President and CEO of Dome Construction – and current Chairman of the Dome Construction Foundation – along with his wife, Peggy Bley, committed personally and through the foundation to a financial gift of $500,000 to provide urgent funding support during the pandemic as well as future capacity-building. This gift allowed us to keep core programs like food panties and youth education accessible and catalyzed our efforts to build YSF’s 2030 Vision, which is grounded in community need and input, focusing on uplifting the voices and perspectives of our diverse branches across San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties.
This is important as the funding will go towards supporting implementation efforts, continued community dialogue towards relevance, and measurable impact over the next year in 2024.
This generous gift has been foundational in enabling YSF to implement our vision that our programs and spaces invite people to BE their most authentic selves, BELONG to something greater, and BECOME the best version of themselves.
Our vision positions us to elevate voices such as James Padilla, who is the site coordinator at Jean Parker Elementary and shared his story about Finding Belonging at the Y. James states, "This organization has allowed me to grow not only as a leader in the community but also as a leader in my own life. [...]I was on the search for something or somewhere that made me feel welcomed and appreciated...but then I found Chinatown Y. From the first day, I felt welcomed."
And, Noe Salazar, who is the family engagement coordinator at Dolores Huerta Elementary and has also shared his story about how important Giving Back at the Y is. "...as an immigrant, I understand the difficulties of feeling like you're alone with no support. My parents migrated from Mexico when I was two years old. It was difficult to adapt since they didn't speak English or have any family in this country. I am grateful for the various resources that were provided to us through the help of programs located here in San Francisco. Joining the YMCA has given me the opportunity to give back and provide that help to families here in my community,” says Noe.
Both stories reflect what we envision as we build strong, healthy and equitable communities for all generations. This is neither the beginning nor the end of Dome Construction Foundation and YSF’s story as our partnership has been standing strong for over 30 years! Partnerships like this are what keep our Y relevant and sustainable, and we welcome any ideas on who we should be working with and supporting us to help us build community. Thank you so much to the Dome Construction Foundation for demonstrating a commitment to helping our communities find a place at the Y where they can Be, Belong, Become.