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Engage San Francisco

Click here to apply for a community engagement grant by June 30.

Engage San Francisco is an intentional, systematic and transformative university-community initiative that will achieve community-identified outcomes supporting children, youth and families in the Western Addition through student learning, research and teaching consistent with University of San Francisco’s mission and vision 2028.

The University of San Francisco is well positioned to contribute directly to a more just San Francisco while advancing USF’s core values of social responsibility and a culture of service that respects and promotes the dignity of every person by thoughtfully preparing students, staff and faculty to work collaboratively with the Western Addition, and employing experiential pedagogy such as service-learning and community-based research. This initiative includes faculty, staff and students from all five colleges at USF, (Management, Nursing and Health Professions, Law, Education, and Arts and Sciences), and the Division of Student Life. Engage San Francisco is hyper-local in its focus, asset-based in its philosophy, and multifaceted in its approach as it builds upon existing community partnerships.

Context: The Western Addition and the University of San Francisco are deeply interconnected, not just geographically, but through history and intergenerational relationships. As the City’s first university we are uniquely situated to address issues related to the poverty and inequality in the Western Addition, and we do this work in partnership with residents and service providers to address a lack of access to high quality, affordable housing, healthcare, and education. This initiative draws upon the history of community engagement at the University of San Francisco and recognizes the unique potential of working with residents to achieve community-identified goals.

Contact Karin Cotterman at and see below for more information on Engage San Francisco. Click here for a PDF of the Working Group involved in the planning process for Engage San Francisco.

Initiative Goals and Strategies

Goal #1: Contribute to and support a vibrant, thriving community for children, youth and families in the Western Addition. To achieve this goal, Engage San Francisco will work in partnership with Western Addition community-based organizations, agencies and offices of the City and County of San Francisco, philanthropists, and community residents to respond to community-identified needs that focus on the strategic areas of emphasis.

  • Strategy #1 Academic Support
    • Outcome 1.1: Western Addition children enter Kindergarten mentally, socially and academically prepared for school
    • Outcome 1.2: Youth residing in Western Addition graduate from high school or receive GEDs and are college or career ready
    • Outcome 1.3: There is an increase in university enrollment and completion for Western Addition residents
    • Outcome 1.4: Western Addition youth become change agents in their own community.
  • Strategy #2 Health Care Delivery
    • Outcome 2.1: Western Addition residents have increased access to preventative health care screening services, including mental health and prenatal care.
    • Outcome 2.2: The chronic health outcomes of Western Addition residents are addressed in an ongoing, systematic manner.
  • Strategy #3 Safe, Affordable Housing
    • Outcome 3.1: More Western Addition Youth reside in safe, affordable housing.
    • Outcome 3.2: Public space in the Western Addition is transformed to reflect the history of the Western Addition.
Goal #2: Enhance student learning and faculty research in the Jesuit tradition with key connections to University of San Francisco’s Mission and Vision 2028. Engage San Francisco is inherently an interdisciplinary initiative that strives to be connected to every school and college at USF and include thoughtful preparation for students and faculty to work collaboratively with the Western Addition.
  • Strategy #4 Engage The University of San Francisco
    • Outcome 4.1: Increase in community-based research by faculty with the Western Addition.
    • Outcome 4.2: Increase in service-learning courses with partnerships in the Western Addition.
    • Outcome 4.3: More tenure track professors and more USF students learning about the Western Addition.

Map of Western Addition And Resources

Where is the Western Addition?

The boundaries of the Western Addition for the purposes of the Engage San Francisco Initiative are informed by those identified by the Western Addition Service Provider Cohort as described in the 2011 report:

  • Van Ness Avenue on the East end of the neighborhood (abuts the Civic Center)
  • Baker Street on the West end of the neighborhood (one block from USF)
  • Sutter Street on the North Side of the neighborhood (abuts Pacific Heights neighborhood)
  • Fulton Street on the South side of the neighborhood (abuts Haight neighborhood)

Western Addition map

Below are links to some web resources that provide an introductory overview of the history of the Western Addition. This list is not complete. For more resources, or to make suggestions, please contact

Chamberland, C. (1997, Spring). The House that Bop Built: Fillmore Cultural Capital. California History Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Fillmore Timeline 1860 - 2001. (n.d.). PBS. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Kamiya, G. (2013) Western Addition: A Basic History - Historical Essay. Originally excerpted from Cool Gray City of Love. New York, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing

Pepin, E. (n.d.). The Fillmore District, San Francisco. The Fillmore District, San Francisco. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Rescuing Black History in the Fillmore. (2012, November 5) Using San Francisco History.

First person Accounts of the Fillmore/ Western Addition:
Frederick, J. (n.d.). What Happened to the Fillmore?. The Bold Italic. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Carlsson, C. (n.d.). Redevelopment and Patronage Politics. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Chen, A & Bass, A (n.d.) Rewriting Fillmore's Development History. Retrieved May 19, 2014.

Close, C. (2008, July 21). How “Urban Renewal” Destroyed San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Cuenod, C. (n.d.). Redevelopment A-1 and Origin of St. Francis Square. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Cuenod, C. (n.d.). The ILWU and Western Addition Redevelopment A-2. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Disconnected Youth in San Francisco: A Roadmap to Improve the Life Chances of San Francisco’s Most Vulnerable Young Adults. (2008, January 1). Retrieved May 19, 2014

Fillmore Redevelopment. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2014

Klein, J. (2008). A Community Lost: Urban Renewal and Displacement in San Francisco’s Western Addition District. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Lai, C. (2012). The Racial Triangulation of Space: The Case of Urban Renewal in San Francisco's Fillmore District. Annals Of The Association Of American Geographers, 102(1), 151-170. doi:10.1080/00045608.2011.583572

Rosen, M., & Sullivan, W.From Urban Renewal and Displacement to Economic Inclusion: San Francisco Affordable Housing Policy 1978-2012. Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Retrieved May 19, 2014

WACO Attacks Redevelopment. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2014

Western Addition A-1. (n.d.). Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure :. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Western Addition A-2. (n.d.). Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure :. Retrieved May 19, 2014

African-American History:
Brahinsky, R. (2011). "Hush Puppies," Communalist Politics, and Demolition Governance: The Rise and Fall of the Black Fillmore. In C. Carlsson & L. Elliott (Eds.) Ten Years That Shook The City: San Francisco 1968-78 (pp. 141-153). San Francisco, CA: City Lights Foundation Books.

Henry, B., & Carlsson, C. (2004). The Race Card. The Political Edge (). San Francisco, CA: City Lights Foundation

Q&A Categories. (n.d.). What's the History of San Francisco's Fillmore Neighborhood?. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Tarwater-Scharp, L. (2011, February 23).The African-American experience in the Bay Area; the postwar years, part one. Retrieved May 19, 2014

Key Components of Engage San Francisco

Guided by the Mission of the University of San Francisco and Vision 2028
Engage San Francisco will contribute to an “Academically rigorous experience” that “cultivates mutually enriching relationships with San Francisco”… and “embraces diversity.”

Embraces an Asset-Based Model of University and Community Partnerships
Engage San Francisco will draw upon what USF already does, including community-based research, service-learning classes, and community involvement programs as well as the vitality of children and youth serving organizations and institutions in the Western Addition and throughout San Francisco.

Works to Achieve Measurable Community-Identified Outcomes for Children and Youth in the Western Addition
Engage San Francisco will support the provision of out of school engagement and wraparound services for children and families in the Western Addition through collaboration with community-based organizations and institutions.

Engages the Entire University in a Multifaceted and Interdisciplinary Manner
Engage San Francisco will include and support faculty, students, and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Nursing and Health Professions, School of Law, and School of Management and Student Life.

Cultivates Transformational Partnerships
Engage San Francisco will foster authentic, democratic, and transformational relationships through long-term commitments and resource sharing, grounded in authentic partnerships.

Thoughtfully Prepares Students for Critical Engagement
Engage San Francisco will embrace a critical approach to student engagement that includes thoughtful, intentional preparation and ongoing reflection to move students from a conception of service as charity to a notion of service as justice.

Incorporates Best Practices in Campus-Community Engagement
Engage San Francisco will draw upon and contribute to nationally recognized models and scholarly literature on best practices in effective engagement with communities.

Assessment and Evaluation
Engage SF will develop outcomes and activities based on community identified needs. Activities will be measurable and assessment and evaluation tools will be used to ensure that strategies are effectively achieving our goals.

Community Engagement Grants RFP

Click HERE to access the online application.

History and Conceptual Framework

Our conceptual framework draws from multiple books and articles focused on community development, asset based partnership, neighborhood focused initiatives, service-learning pedagogy and community-based research methodology. Here are a few key articles the serve as guideposts for our work. A more extensive collection of readings is available at the McCarthy Center, contact for more information.

Partnerships and Transformation

Enos, S., and Morton, K. (2003) Developing a theory and practice of campus-community partnerships. 20-41. in Building Partnerships for Service-Learning. Jossey Bass

Hoyt, L. (2010). A city-campus engagement theory from, and for, practice. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall 2010, 75-88

Partnerships and Assets

Kretzman, J. and McKnight, J. (1993) Building Communities from the Inside Out. The Asset Based Community Development Institute, Chicago Il

Blanchard, A. Building Vibrant Communities: An Appreciative Approach to Working in Neighborhood. (2011). Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

Partnerships and Social Justice

Marullo, S. , & Edwards, B. (2000). From charity to justice: The potential of university-community collaboration for social change. American Behavioral Scientist

Kolvenbach, P. (2000) The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education