In December, the board of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation awarded nearly $570,000 in grants to 12 Bay Area organizations. Ten grants went to programs working to increase access to transit opportunities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and two went to organizations ensuring the safety and security of Bay Area immigrants and their communities. Below are a few of the organizations receiving grants. You can find a complete list of SVCF’s grantmaking here.
Housing and Transportation Program Officer Vinita Goyal explains the critical nature of Silicon Valley’s transportation challenges:
“In Silicon Valley, we are faced with a double edge sword. Our transportation challenges are directly related to our housing crisis, with both burdening low-income communities and communities of color the most. However, our transportation policies and investments continue to prioritize the needs of higher income residents and workers. Through our Increasing Access to Public Transit grantmaking strategy, SVCF has prioritized investments that we believe have the most potential to increase opportunities for underserved communities.”
The 10 programs supported by grants to increase transit opportunities include:
Prospect Silicon Valley: Grant supports analyzing social and environmental impacts of automated shuttles as first and last mile solutions that target low income communities in San Mateo County. The project aligns with the Valley Transportation Authority’s interest in autonomous technology and presents a counter model to bottom line profit margins of transportation network companies.
TransForm: Grant supports community engagement and coalition-building in Silicon Valley for more equitable transportation outcomes especially around San Mateo County’s Measure W implementation and the Mobility Action Plan (MAP). The latter optimizes express lanes to reduce solo driving on Highway 101 and expands transit and new mobility options that serve low-income communities.
Urban Habitat: Grant supports increasing funding and service levels to support the needs of transit dependent communities locally and regionally through a successful Regional Measure in 2020 and an engaged Community Based Transportation Plan in San Mateo. The project also supports the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy update and strengthens community stabilization policies through the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) process.
Youth Leadership Institute: Grant to this project supports leveraging funding and expanding access to transportation at the local and regional levels through continued engagement of the Transportation Equity Allied Movement Coalition (TEAM-C) towards implementation of Measure W spending, passage of the Regional Measure in 2020, and advancement of the Youth Mobility Plan in partnership with SamTrans and youth in Daly City.
“Supporting immigration has been one of SVCF’s highest priorities since its founding,” said Immigration Program Officer Anne Im. “Our strategy includes legal services, assistance with naturalization, and English language acquisition. In an increasingly anti-immigrant federal policy environment, we remain committed to ensuring that immigrants are safe and have opportunities to thrive.”
One of the immigration programs supported by grants is:
Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto: Grant supports services to immigrants through a family advocate in the East Palo Alto/Belle Haven and Redwood City communities. The family advocate will help immigrants navigate challenging situations from access to legal services to housing issues, among others. This project was funded through SVCF’s Ensuring the Safety and Security of Immigrants strategy, which aims to meet the most pressing needs of immigrants and their families.