Coleman Advocates believes that all children and families deserve access to high quality education, living wage jobs, family-supporting benefits, affordable housing, and a voice in the decisions that affect us. Since 1975, Coleman Advocates has pioneered programs and policies to expand opportunity for San Francisco’s children, youth and families, Many of these hard-won programs and policies have served as models adopted by communities all over the country.
Coleman currently focuses on building more effective, equitable, and supportive public schools in San Francisco and beyond. We believe the transformation of our educational system requires the involvement of the entire community—not just teachers, school administrators, and politicians. Our organizational model has evolved over the years and today combines the development of rigorous policy proposals and implementation plans with deep community engagement and leadership development involving youth and parents.
While we work to increase opportunity for all young people in San Francisco, our primary focus is fighting to advance rights, safety, and full inclusion of low-income people of color. We know that quality education is key to future economic security, individual well-being, and social participation. San Francisco is considered a liberal bastion, but the racial achievement gap and the racial opportunity gap indicate how far we still need to go to achieve true equity.
Our Core Values
Grassroots Community Leadership: We believe that the people most affected by a problem must be the ones who determine and fight for the solutions.
Education as a Human Right: The fight for quality education, as a fundamental human right and a strategy of upward mobility for low-income people and people of color, is central to our work to keep families in San Francisco.
Equity and Social Justice: We are actively committed to the fight for equity and social justice, as they relate to race, class, gender and other areas of disenfranchisement, in our schools and communities.
Unity and Solidarity: We are a multigenerational, multiracial, multicultural and multilingual organization and we prioritize creating spaces for people of different ages, languages, races, and ethnicities to learn about and from each other, build community, and develop a collective vision for change. Together, we are stronger.
Youth at the Center: Youth have been—and will always be—at the forefront of social change movements. At the same time that we centralize the leadership of young people, we understand that building community around an intergenerational model is essential to effective community organizing.
Movement building: We believe that we must form strategic alliances with other community organizations to build a movement capable of winning long-term systemic social change because we cannot achieve our vision alone.
Innovation: We are working to solve some of our community’s toughest challenges and this requires bold and innovative leadership. We must consistently challenge ourselves to leverage our strengths in new and creative ways… to think, dream, and act outside of the box.
Who We Are
Chris Ballard, J.D., M.A.
Senior Policy Director
CMAC Lead Organizer
CMAC & Digital Organizer
Education Policy Organizer
Development & Operations Director
Communications & Development Manager
PMAC Lead Organizer
- Steve Bingham (Treasurer) — Director Sylvia Bingham Fund, Staff Attorney Bay Area Legal Aid (1990-2013)
- Christina Canaveral (Secretary) — Director of Community at New School San Francisco, former Director of Parent Engagement and Education Policy at Coleman Advocates
- Rosario Cervantes (President) — Former Consumer Rights Advocate with the CA Public Utilities Commission, Volunteer with SF District 11
- Curtis Chan, M.D. — Parent & Physician (Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine & Public Health)
- Maria Luz Torre (Vice President) — Director and Lead Organizer for SF Parent Voices
- Ianthia Mack — Former PAY member, Community Organizer
- Giuliana Milanese — Community and Political Organizer, Civil Rights activist
459 Vienna Street
San Francisco, CA 94112