San Francisco Beacons

The Beginning


Inspiration Sparked

SFBI began in 1994 as city leaders examined community school models. Inspiration came from the New York Beacon Effort.


The First Beacon Center

The first center opened in 1996. 


Partnership between a CBO and school to provide wraparound services to support the needs of the youth, families, and schools.


Eight Beacon Centers

Throughout almost two decades, 8 Beacon Centers across the city formed and ran in  following neighborhoods:

  • Mission
  • North Beach-Chinatown
  • Outer Mission/Ingleside-Excelsior
  • Portola
  • Richmond
  • Sunset
  • Visitacion Valley
  • Western Addition


The Ninth Beacon Center

After 20 years, a ninth Beacon Center was added. The newly built Willie Brown Middle School implemented the Beacon model.


Strategic Planning

A two year strategic planning process to expand the Beacons across San Francisco was underway.


Beacon Funding and System Partners:

SF Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) – a City department that funds out of school time programs, including providing all Beacon funding


San Francisco Unified School District – Partnered with DCYF to plan Beacon strategy and engage principals, all Beacons receive funding from SFUSD for their afterschool programs.


San Francisco Beacon Initiative – SFBI supports all Beacon Community Schools to have high quality programs, strong leaders, and a connected network to share best practices. 


From 9 to 27 Beacon Centers

The Beacon Centers scaled up from 9 to 27 with funding increasing from $3M – $10.4M, and with an increase from 8 to 15 Beacon lead agencies.


DCYF RFP & RFQStrategy description, goals, and schools.




What is a Beacon Center?

The essence of a Beacon is a collaborative, youth-centered program model that adopts the ideals of a community school framework.  The 27 Beacon sites across San Francisco work to support a shared vision but each site is custom tailored to its surrounding community. Program elements of a Beacon Community School include family partnership and engagement, behavioral health and wellness, school transitions and expanded learning.  Beacon sites strive to add an additional layer of support to strengthen a child’s ecosystem so they succeed as a lifelong learner.

Community School Framework

4 Community School Practices:
♦ Shared Leadership
♦ Strategic Data Collection and Analysis
♦ Intentional Coordination and Alignment
♦ Continuous Learning and Improvement

Community School Coordinating Structures:
♦ Site Leadership Team(s)
♦ Coordinating Point Person(s)
♦ Partnership Collaboration

For twenty five years, Beacon Centers have revitalized communities and empowered youth by transforming school sites into hubs that connect the community and expand learning beyond school hours and academics. Today, 27 Beacon Centers serve 13,000 San Francisco youth and their families. 

Beacon Centers create a more open, collaborative school culture. School faculty partner with Center directors to achieve better results for youth.

Through these strong partnerships, more resources are available and services are better coordinated to achieve positive outcomes for our youth, families and communities.

What San Francisco Beacon Initiative Does:




Program Areas:

♦ Strengthen the Network

♦ Leadership Development

♦ Ensure Fidelity to the Beacon Model






SFBI is part of the Beacon National Network, which is a network comprised of five Beacon Cities across the United States.

The Beacon Community School Strategy: This strategy is designed to support the implementation of the SFUSD Comprehensive Community Schools Framework utilizing the Beacon Model.