A UNIQUELY SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
Over the last 35 years, Coleman has been a uniquely successful grassroots community voice for all of the city’s children and youth, inspiring activists and organizations around the country. Over the last three decades, we have:
- Won over $200 million dollars in city funding for kids, by establishing the first tax set-aside for children’s services called the Children’s Fund in 1991. In 2009, the Children’s Fund invested more than $60 million in community programs for youth.
- Created new public systems for quality, affordable child care, and alternatives to incarceration for vulnerable youth
- Mobilized over 15,000 people to take action for children
- Intensively trained more than 1000 parent leaders and young people of color
THE LANDMARK SAN FRANCISCO CHILDREN’S FUND
The brainchild of Coleman’s longtime Director Margaret Brodkin, Coleman Advocates’ landmark 1991 “Prop J” campaign created the San Francisco Children’s Fund, and ultimately, the city’s Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF). Initially it was a controversial idea, setting aside local tax dollars specifically to benefit children, but the measure won, and was reauthorized by city voters in a landslide vicory in 2000 as “Prop D”. In 2011, the Children’s Fund celebrated its 20th Anniversary San Francisco’s City Hall with the majority of the city’s elected officials and hundreds of community members in attendance.
DCYF now has a budget of more than $100 million, including the Children’s Fund ($50 million) and additional city government investments in children that have been won over the years through grassroots community advocacy and organizing. These funds support more than 40,000 children, more than 200 community-based children and youth programs, programs in our public schools, and a wide range of services that create opportunities for thousands of low income children struggling to stay and survive in San Francisco.
From Sand Boxes to Ballot Boxes – book about the Children’s Fund by former Director Margaret Brodkin
A NATIONAL MODEL OF COMMUNITY-LED CHANGE
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth is one of the oldest and most prominent child advocacy organizations in the country, with a unique focus on community engagement that led to its recent transition to a membership-based community organization.
Read more reports about Coleman’s model of change >>here.
THE JEAN JACOBS COMMUNITY CENTER
Honoring our Founder & Serving Our Neighborhood
Forty years ago, it was a three year old in an isolation cell in San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall that was the spark which led Coleman’s courageous founder, Jean Jacobs, to begin a lifelong campaign to help children in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Gertrude Coleman, impressed by Jacobs’ resolve, left a small trust to the San Francisco Foundation, which created Coleman Advocates and appointed its first Board of Directors. Coleman began operations in 1975.
Jean Jacob’s outrage and commitment to defend the rights of disenfranchised young people remains a guiding force of Coleman’s community work to this day.
To preserve Jean Jacob’s legacy, and to ensure that Coleman Advocates would impact the everyday life of San Francisco children for generations to come, former Director Margaret Brodkin led a successful public-private community campaign to purchase, renovate and open the Jean Jacobs Community Center in San Francisco’s Excelsior District – the neighborhood with the highest density of children in the entire city. Today, the Center is a vibrant hub of community activity, with tenants who provide direct services to low-income immigrant children (APA Family Services & MNC Head Start), a large community room with a full kitchen, used for neighborhood meetings, community events, special family celebrations for Coleman members, and even overnight youth retreats.
For more information about directions, or renting space at our Center, please contact our Office Manager at (415) 239-0161.