Promoting Equity and Economic Inclusion in San Francisco

Posted January 9, 2022
A group of Black and Brown youth gather peacefully outside of a building. Several young men and women hold signs advocating for better treatment of minorities.

Photo courtesy of Youth Organize! California

One of the nation’s largest com­mu­ni­ty foun­da­tions, the San Fran­cis­co Foun­da­tion (SFF), has been using the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Results Count® lead­er­ship frame­work to accel­er­ate mea­sur­able and equi­table improve­ments in well-being for chil­dren, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties. A Results Count hub, SFF is not only inte­grat­ing a results-dri­ven approach through­out the orga­ni­za­tion, but it’s also shar­ing its tools and skills with part­ners in the Bay-area social sector.

Results Count has been a game chang­er in our efforts to advance racial equi­ty and eco­nom­ic inclu­sion for every­one in the Bay Area, par­tic­u­lar­ly com­mu­ni­ties of col­or fac­ing dis­in­vest­ment and struc­tur­al bar­ri­ers,” says Fred Black­well, CEO of SFF and a mem­ber of the 20072008 class of Casey’s Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship®. Results Count is help­ing our staff under­stand the shared result we are try­ing to achieve and each person’s con­tri­bu­tion to that result.”

Plan­ning for Change

The San Fran­cis­co Foundation’s frame­work includes a long-term pop­u­la­tion-lev­el result: All peo­ple liv­ing in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area are eco­nom­i­cal­ly secure, root­ed in vibrant com­mu­ni­ties and engaged in civic life.” Toward this goal, SFF works with com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, non­prof­its and donors, with a focus on low-income peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties of color.

Per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant exam­ple of embed­ding a results approach in SFF oper­a­tions has been a plan­ning process that pro­vides guid­ance to achieve its long-term result in three-year incre­ments. With rep­re­sen­ta­tion from every depart­ment — includ­ing grant mak­ing, fundrais­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, finance and human resources — the foun­da­tion iden­ti­fied five levers” to advance its equi­ty agenda:

  • uti­liz­ing its grant mak­ing, rela­tion­ships and leadership;
  • rais­ing mon­ey and influ­enc­ing donors and grant mak­ers, such as pri­vate and cor­po­rate foun­da­tions, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and donor-advised funds;
  • enhanc­ing oper­a­tional effec­tive­ness and strength­en­ing finan­cial sustainability;
  • using com­mu­ni­ca­tions to influ­ence pub­lic dis­course and move peo­ple to action; and
  • cre­at­ing a cul­ture that reflects inter­nal equi­ty and an employ­ee expe­ri­ence aligned with the foundation’s exter­nal mission.

For each lever, there are inter­im results that SFF lead­ers believe rep­re­sent tan­gi­ble progress while allow­ing for learn­ing, mea­sure­ment and course cor­rec­tions. For exam­ple, the grant-mak­ing lever includes a short­er-term goal of SFF being a leader in advanc­ing sig­nif­i­cant gains in racial equi­ty and eco­nom­ic inclu­sion across the region.

To accom­plish this inter­im goal, SFF has iden­ti­fied a need to sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase its resources aligned with the equi­ty agen­da, with an empha­sis on civi­cal­ly engag­ing and mobi­liz­ing com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and peo­ple with low incomes. They will mea­sure progress by the amount and per­cent­age of grant-mak­ing dol­lars com­mit­ted to orga­ni­za­tions led by and serv­ing peo­ple of color.

In Octo­ber 2021, SFF announced a $3.4 mil­lion ini­tia­tive respond­ing to the needs of Black-led non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions in the Bay Area. The foun­da­tion will build on this mod­el to sup­port oth­er com­mu­ni­ties of color.

Tools, Skills and Frameworks

The appli­ca­tion of Results Count tools, skills and com­pe­ten­cies is inte­gral to SFF’s plan­ning process and over­all oper­a­tions. As with every results-dri­ven effort, data are cen­tral. For exam­ple, the first step in the plan­ning process was cre­at­ing a data brief­ing book with mul­ti­ple sources of inter­nal and exter­nal data, includ­ing sur­vey data from key exter­nal stake­hold­ers that informed each lever and strategy.

A fun­da­men­tal Results Count skill is Results-Based Facil­i­ta­tion™, which ensures that meet­ings move from talk to action and holds par­tic­i­pants account­able for advanc­ing a body of work. Agen­da items for SFF meet­ings have a desired result and par­tic­i­pants are held account­able for their action com­mit­ments. This has become a com­mon prac­tice,” says Bran­di Howard, SFF’s chief of staff, and it makes meet­ings a lot more productive.”

SFF also relies on a frame­work that guides orga­ni­za­tions and sec­tors to take aligned actions to con­tribute at a scope and scale suf­fi­cient to make mea­sur­able progress toward the result. The foun­da­tion oper­a­tional­ized this frame­work to iden­ti­fy the inter­nal col­lab­o­ra­tion and stream­lin­ing nec­es­sary to bet­ter lever­age its strengths. For exam­ple, the Com­mu­ni­ty Impact team has close rela­tion­ships with the foundation’s grantees, while the Phil­an­thropy and Gift Plan­ning team builds rela­tion­ships with donors. By find­ing ways to bet­ter align the work of the two teams, the foun­da­tion is build­ing a bridge between donors and grantees and improv­ing its over­all fundrais­ing efforts, all in ser­vice of devot­ing more resources to the foundation’s equi­ty agenda.

Break­ing Down Silos

Like oth­er Results Count hubs, SFF seeks not only to embed a results ori­en­ta­tion in its own oper­a­tions, but also to spread this approach to oth­er orga­ni­za­tions in its net­work. When plan­ning meet­ings with exter­nal part­ners, the foun­da­tion uses a results frame. For exam­ple, SFF’s FAITHS (Foun­da­tion Alliance with Inter­faith to Heal Soci­ety) pro­gram, a mul­ti-faith net­work of more than 600 con­gre­ga­tions, faith-based agen­cies and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions in the Bay area, has worked with its mem­ber orga­ni­za­tions to strength­en their pol­i­cy advo­ca­cy for racial and eco­nom­ic equi­ty. By intro­duc­ing Results Count con­cepts, SFF has helped FAITHS part­ner orga­ni­za­tions sharp­en their focus on the pol­i­cy results they seek and make progress toward enhanc­ing their col­lec­tive impact.

Results Count helps break down silos, devel­op a shared result and iden­ti­fy each person’s con­tri­bu­tion to that result,” says Howard. The San Fran­cis­co Foun­da­tion has a pret­ty sol­id body of work, and Results Count has helped us bet­ter under­stand our role in achiev­ing the out­comes we seek.”

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