The San Francisco Beacon Initiative began in 1994 when a group of visionary leaders from the public and private sectors brought the Beacon model, first established in New York City by Commissioner Richard Murphy, back to SF. They established a planning committee to adapt the model for the city of San Francisco and in 1996 the first Beacon Center opened. Beacon Centers continued to open between 1996 and 2000, and today 8 Beacon Centers serve over 10,000 children, youth, and families every year.
To honor the hard work, dedication, and commitment of these leaders, SFBI hosted a 20th Anniversary Soiree on September 5th to re-connect all the pioneers who have been instrumental in ensuring the continuing success of Beacons over the past 20 years. In particular, SFBI honored three leaders, who symbolize the partnership of the public, private, and CBO worlds which is a key part of the Beacon model: Margaret Brodkin, former director of the SF Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families and now founder and director of Funding the Next Generation; Michael Funk, former director of the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center and now Director of the After-School Division of the California Department of Education; and Sylvia Yee, Vice President of Programs at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. They were presented with Beacon Pioneer Awards, and SFBI premiered a short film that encapsulates their stories of the past and present, and vision for the future:
The event was emceed by Maria Su, Director of DCYF, and Kevin Truitt, SFUSD Associate Superintendent for Student Support Services. Speakers included Hydra Mendoza, Senior Advisor to the Mayor on Education & Family Services, and Richard Carranza, the Superintendent of SF Unified School District.
See below for pictures from the event! Photography by Gary Sexton Photography.