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West Berkeley Nonprofits Get $300,000 for Community

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday July 24, 2007

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland-Berkeley) came to the Berkeley Technical Academy on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way along with a number of other public officials on Friday to announce that a group of nonprofit organizations would receive a $300,000 San Francisco Foundation grant “to promote civic unity and engagement” in West Berkeley.  

Calling West Berkeley “a world-class community,” Lee said the SF Foundation funds would help “make West Berkeley soar.” SF Foundation CEO Sandra Hernandez credited Lee with pointing out West Berkeley needs to the foundation. 

The grant will be awarded in $60,000 installments over five years. How it will be spent is yet to be determined. The eight grantees will spend six months in retreats and meetings to determine how the money can best be spent.  

According to material distributed by the SF Foundation, based on the 2000 census, West Berkeley is one of the Bay Area’s 52 most impoverished areas, with 60 percent of the households earning less than 80 percent of California’s median income and 41.1 percent earning less than 50 percent of the California median, despite the fact that one-third of the city’s private sector jobs are in West Berkeley and one-fourth of all of Berkeley’s jobs are there. 

West Berkeley manufacturers “have a weak record” in hiring West Berkeley residents, the foundation materials say. 

Grantees are: Berkeley Technology Academy, Berkeley Boosters, Farm Fresh Choice, Church Without Walls, Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, The Way Christian Center, Rosa Parks Elementary School Family Resource Center and West Berkeley Foundation.