Engaged Learning

OneCalifornia Bank and Foundation: 2010 USF California Prize Winner

by Edward Carpenter

The University of San Francisco will award the third annual California Prize for Service and the Common Good to OneCalifornia Bank and Foundation at a gala ceremony Oct. 21, with attendees treated to dinner, live entertainment, and glittering views of St. Ignatius Church from inside a transparent tent installed on campus.

The USF California Prize honors an organization or individual who performs outstanding service in pursuit of the common good, especially the poor or marginalized.

A for-profit bank owned by its nonprofit foundation, OneCalifornia engages in charitable and educational activities, including programs and grants to stimulate community development, encourage affordable housing, alleviate economic distress, and increase financial literacy for disadvantaged communities and organizations in California.

OneCalifornia Bank was chartered in June 2007 by Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor. The couple donates 100 percent of their economic rights in the bank to the OneCalifornia Foundation, which assists the bank with its mission by performing research and development on products, creating social outcome measures, and alliance building.

“OneCalifornia is a great example of an institution with a bottom line that extends beyond dollars and cents,” said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., referring to OneCalifornia’s focus on measuring success through the lens of the so-called triple bottom line – social, environmental, and financial sustainability. “At a time when financial institutions are under fire, it is important to hold up OneCalifornia to our students and the local community as an organization that does it right. OneCalifornia shows us how important values-based, socially responsible businesses are for the overall health of civil society.”

Endowed by USF supporters Susan and Philip Marineau, the USF California Prize not only shines a spotlight on outstanding members of California’s civic community but also supports USF’s mission to educate minds and hearts to change the world by recognizing and promoting the achievements of USF’s students in community-based service-learning programs. Proceeds from California Prize gala go to support student projects such as the design, construction, and maintenance of the Bridgeview Learning Garden in Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco, a library for HIV/AIDS orphans in Zambia, and immersion alongside midwives in impoverished communities in Latin America.