TNDC’s Community Organizing Department organizes and engages low-income community members in the Tenderloin and citywide. Our organizing focuses on leadership development and capacity building among community members, campaigns for equity and social justice, and advocacy on important anti-poverty policy decisions.
Programs & Projects
Tenderloin People’s Leadership Academy
Tenderloin People’s Leadership Academy is designed to help the residents of the Tenderloin grow in their leadership and personal development by providing both hands-on skills for community organizing and tools for political analysis and critical thinking. This course will train participants to become effective leaders in their neighborhood with real-time fieldwork experiences and opportunities to get plugged in the issue-based campaigns to improve the Tenderloin community. Graduates go on to work on projects such as the Green Tenderloin Coalition, TNDC rooftop gardens, resident community associations, Central Market stabilization advocacy, and the Eddy and Taylor parklet/Tenderloin Green Streets initiatives. One graduate has found a full-time job, five of them continue in the Citywide program described below, and all are actively working on TNDC campaigns.
Citywide Leadership Academy
Five graduates from the first leadership program are now in the collaborative Citywide Leadership Academy, which began on September 30. The curriculum, developed jointly with four other organizations from the Mission, SoMa and Excelsior neighborhoods, includes sessions on history of urban development, anti-oppression framework, affordable housing, solidarity economy, environmental & transit justice, and collective action and civic engagement. A total of twenty community leaders meet monthly to sharpen their political analysis and develop an equity model for the Plan Bay Area, a vision document to integrate housing, transit and environment. Graduation is slated for the end of May 2014.
Tenderloin People’s Garden
Located at the corner of Larkin and McAllister, the Tenderloin People’s Garden was created as part of TNDC’s campaign for Food Justice, which promotes a more equitable food system that prioritizes all people’s access to the basic human right of healthy food. The People’s Garden is a volunteer-led urban farm that brings people of all ages and ethnicities together to grow and harvest free fruits and vegetables for the community. Click here for more information about how to get involved.
TNDC Roof Top Garden Project
The Community Organizing Department, in partnership with tenant leaders have worked to build roof top gardens at two of TNDC’s properties. These gardens are maintained by TNDC tenants. Tenants supplement their food budget with vegetables and herbs grown in the rooftop plots, and develop gardening and leadership skills.
The Community Organizing Department has a partnership with the Heart of the City Farmer’s Market to receive all of the leftover food from the Wednesday market held at UN Plaza. Every Wednesday evening, at the Yosemite, fresh fish is given out to residents, while produce and other food is distributed each Thursday morning. In 2013, almost 3,500 pounds of vegetables, fruits, and fish were given out to more than 1,800 recipients.
Campaigns and Coalitions
Green Tenderloin Coalition
The long-term goal of the GreenTLC, of which TNDC is a leading member, is to develop and sustain a broad coalition of residents, garden enthusiasts, environmentalists and other organizations to create more green spaces in the Tenderloin.
The Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition
The TLHCSC is a food justice coalition that empowers San Francisco community members to meet the great need for neighborhood grocery stores and supports activities by Tenderloin residents to increase access and availability to fresh healthy food. We convert convenience stores to grocery stores through special grants and expert consultation. To learn more, go to www.healthytl.org
Market Street for the Masses
The coalition came together in the fall of 2012 to seek strong benefits and opportunities for Central City residents that include direct local hire, enhanced public space and demand transparency around the payroll exemption for the community. TNDC is the founding member organization and leads the community outreach and mobilization efforts.
Base Building and Organizational Development
TNDC Resident Community Associations
In 2013, we worked to launch three associations: East and West Tenderloin, South of Market, reaching approximately 700 residents through a door to door flying. In East TL, we conducted a total of nine focus groups twice a month and brought together 28 key leaders. In West TL, we held a total of 18 focus groups with 32 key leaders. Lastly, in SoMa, twelve tenant leaders from SoMa Studios and Family, as well as Folsom/Dore Apartments came to five coffee hours. In July came the Prep Committee to plan for the first convening of the East TL Community Association; 17 residents organized themselves into four subcommittees (draft, election, program & logistics and outreach) and coordinated the convening in November at the Kelly Cullen auditorium. A little over 80 people came for the event where Supervisor David Chiu joined as the keynote speaker. Residents learned about the guiding principles of the association, how they will govern themselves through an election and what membership to the association means.
South of Market Collaboration
TNDC, in partnership with South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAM), organized residents at Mint Mall, a single-room occupancy building that houses over 200 low-income seniors and families, about 90% of them Filipino immigrants. There is now a core leadership of 15 people. In July, we launched a health and safety campaign for residents and began holding monthly general assemblies with the leadership of three resident-led subcommittees.