San Francisco, CA – A total of 45 small, locally-owned businesses in the Bayview are set to receive $150,000 in funding as part of a grant program established by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and its social impact partners. The initiative, called the Phoenix Fund, was launched in order to help local entrepreneurs impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic.
“As we begin to emerge from shelter-in-place restrictions, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we know that it will still take some time for our local businesses to recover from this devastating pandemic,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “We hope that this funding boost generously provided by our partners will help provide the support needed for these terrific businesses to survive before customers start returning to them in droves.”
The SFPUC’s social impact partners—Brown and Caldwell, Carollo Engineers, Jacobs Engineering and Parsons—contributed a total of $150,000 to help small businesses, and 45 companies received those funds. The allocations ranged in amount from $2,500 to $5,000, with an array of businesses—including restaurants, home improvements shops, childcare facilities and cafes, among others—receiving the grants.
The grants offer Bayview entrepreneurs and small business resiliency funding to help stabilize business losses, navigate payroll challenges, and sustain business operational needs. The program is being administered by the Bayview community organization Economic Development On Third.
Local business owners had the following to say about receiving grants as part of the program:
Prince Dean of Capture the Moment Films: “During these difficult times, this check has helped me tremendously. It has allowed me to get to locations so Capture The Moment films can document the changes happening in the city of San Francisco due to the virus. I have also been able to purchase much-needed equipment for filming, thanks to these funds.”
Ericka Scott of Honey Art Studio: “Honey Art Studio uses art to build community. By providing art activities in public spaces, families, organizations, and individuals can come together to share their creativity. Due to COVID, we have had to shift and create virtual spaces for community art. With the award, I am able to purchase and deliver supplies for our “Art in the Box” projects so people can still have a creative outlet.”
Ashley Rhodes of Master Painting & Decorating, LLC: “COVID-19 has had a major impact on my indirect costs for Master Painting And Decorating. It has presented me with the problem of not being able to make all my payments, such as my insurance payments, travel costs, storage costs, and other types of necessities to keep my company afloat. This grant will assist me in being able to take care of some of those obligations as I continue to hope for a better day in the very near future.”
Tiffany Carter of Boug Cali: “As we are dealing with the unprecedented times of COVID-19, the Bayview grant will help our small business tremendously. This grant will help us purchase a delivery vehicle to deliver meals and groceries to some of our most vulnerable residents around the city, and also to some of our essential workers. We are very grateful for this support for our small black women-owned business.”
Brittney Doyle of Wise Health: “Over the past three months, WISE Health has been delivering healthy produce kits to isolated seniors with critical needs throughout Bayview. The needs of our community have exceeded our capability. Thanks to the funding we received we are now able to scale up our services to keep up with the need for fresh healthy produce.”
The $150,000 grant funding allocation provided by the SFPUC’s partners was part of an overall total of $500,000 dispersed to impacted Bayview businesses. The remaining $350,000 came from the Citywide small business resiliency fund established by Mayor London N. Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Recipients of that portion of funding were announced last week by the Mayor’s Office.
The SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership Program invites private sector firm partners to give back to the communities in which they are performing work on behalf of the SFPUC. The agency is currently in the midst of the Sewer System Improvement Program, a 20-year citywide investment to upgrade the City’s sewer infrastructure to ensure a reliable, sustainable and seismically safe system. The majority of that work is focused on the Southeast Treatment Plant, in the Bayview community.
The SFPUC is the first public utility in the country to implement a social impact program that advances corporate social responsibility as a part of its competitive bidding process for professional services, alternative delivery and energy procurement contracts.
Brown and Caldwell and Jacobs Engineering have previously supported a small business development initiative through the Bayview Bistro, a community food hub where Bayview food vendors activated a vacant lot and received technical assistance to grow their business.
Other examples of the SFPUC’s Social Impact Partnership program include the Maisin Scholar Award, which provides financial support for local youth to pursue higher education and CityWorks, which offers paid internships for young adults in the City’s Southeast communities.
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfwater.org.