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Civic Space Foundation Launches Civic Joy Fund

Media Contact: CSF Communications Director: 
Alexandra Liss / / (415) 767-6886

Civic Space Foundation Launches Civic Joy Fund to Bring Magic Back to San Francisco with Five New Citywide Projects

8 May 2023 – San Francisco, CA: Civic, Community, and Corporate Leaders come together to raise and deploy $2 million for five exciting new citywide programs to help San Francisco recover. 

The Civic Joy Fund, a project of the Civic Space Foundation will inject a jolt of magic back into San Francisco’s commercial corridors following years of economic hardship and a slow recovery from the pandemic.

The Civic Joy Fund was created after the success of Manny Yekutiel’s Light Up the City initiative, which raised $750,000 to light 12 commercial corridors around San Francisco. 

After completing the project, Manny Yekutiel and Daniel Lurie, known for his philanthropic efforts and non-profit Tipping Point, decided to partner up on something new to build off the success of lighting up the City.

Lurie and Yekutiel reached out to their networks and, based on their reputable track record for their civic projects and kickstarted by a generous gift from Lurie, raised over $2 Million from a group of civic minded individual donors and corporate partners like Levi Strauss & Co, Joby Pritzker, and Julia & Kevin Hartz. 

With that, the Civic Joy Fund was born. 

Amidst a climate of political polarization, it was crucial for the fundraising efforts to remain apolitical and maintain an unwavering focus on the programs at hand. By doing so, the individuals and corporate partners who contributed to this effort were able to come together in a spirit of collaboration and support for the shared goal of advancing these programs for the benefit of the wider community.

Chip Bergh, President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.”This is our home. Levi Strauss & Co. was founded here in 1853 and this city helped make us what we are today. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to working alongside our employees, nonprofit partners, businesses and community members to be a positive force for change for the next 170 years.”

The Fund will implement five new citywide civic projects focused on supporting artists, musicians, community heroes, and the small business owners who make San Francisco great.

“San Francisco is a city of booms and busts,” says Daniel Lurie who is the co-founder of the Civic Joy Fund and the founder of Tipping Point.  “However, it is in the aftermath of these busts where our resilience is tested, and where we have the opportunity to create a better future for all. By taking bold action, working together, and refusing to give up, we can create a city that is more equitable, prosperous, and joyful than ever before.”

The Civic Joy Fund has formed strategic partnerships with a diverse array of organizations that collectively define the vibrant tapestry of San Francisco. 

These esteemed groups include the likes of NoisePop, Paint the Void, Refuse Refuse, Excelsior Action Group, the American Indian Cultural District, Clement Street, Valencia, Chinatown, Bayview, Haight Street, Divisadero, Ocean Avenue, and Castro Merchants, alongside the Tenderloin Community Benefit District and iconic companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. 

Manny Yekutiel, the co-founder of Civic Joy Fund says, “This moment calls for all of us to understand how we can contribute to San Francisco and then to do just that. The Civic Joy Fund is my way of rising to the occasion and I could not be more proud.”

The five projects, all with a focus on quick, tangible results are: Summer of Music, Paint The City, Clean Up the City, Adopt-A-Block, and The City Civic Corp.

Summer of Music:

In partnership with Noise Pop, we will pay over 80 local musicians to play live on nine commercial corridors across San Francisco every single Saturday from 2-5 PM this summer, filling the streets with music and bringing customers back to small businesses.

“As a San Francisco-based organization that has been dedicated to supporting and promoting the local arts scene for over 30 years, we couldn’t be more thrilled to see these new opportunities for our city’s talented musicians to showcase their creativity and transform the streets with the power of their beautiful music,” says Founder of Noise Pop, Kevin Arnold. “ We have seen firsthand the impact that music can have on a community, bringing people together, lifting their spirits, and sparking joy in even the darkest of times. That is why we are so proud to be part of this citywide initiative, which will not only provide a platform for emerging artists to gain exposure but will also help to reignite the economic engine of San Francisco’s small businesses.”

“The Clement Street Merchants are incredibly excited to be a part of the Civic Joy Fund’s efforts to bring more magic to San Francisco’s commercial streets,” says Clement Merchant Association President, Cynthia Huie. “The west side and Clement Street are ready to be a part of the City’s comeback story!”

The locations of the Corridors will be,  The Castro,  Chinatown, Clement Street, Cortland Avenue, Divisadero Street, Haight Street, Polk Street, Third Street in the Bayview, and Valencia Street. 

Paint the City: 

In partnership with Paint the Void we will pay local artists to paint  pieces of public art in 10 commercial districts across San Francisco to bring joy and combat graffiti to be chosen within the next upcoming weeks.

 “As a public art curator and producer, I’m always thrilled to see initiatives like ‘Paint the City’ supporting local artists,” says Meredith Winner, co-founder of Building 180 and Paint the Void. “Public art makes an impact even when it’s implemented in smaller forms, like painting the electrical boxes. It still inspires people to create their own art and to take care of the places that they live in. It’s exciting to work on a project with such a broad reach in San Francisco. We love having artists work on projects in their own neighborhoods and fostering civic pride amongst community members.”

“As CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco, I am thrilled to see such a collaborative effort between corporate, community, and civic leaders to help revitalize our city,” says Rodney Fong. “ San Francisco has experienced a significant exodus of residents and businesses, major retail closures, and a slow recovery. But projects like the Civic Joy Fund are a great example of how we can build excitement and energy around San Francisco’s unique neighborhoods, while also providing tangible support to those who need it most. ”

Clean Up the City:

In partnership with Refuse Refuse we will fund communal meals at hosting restaurants in ten San Francisco neighborhoods, enabling weekly volunteers to eat and drink together and create community while keeping streets clean and helping corridors look and feel the way they should.

“Refuse Refuse is excited to partner with The Civic Joy Fund to further our mission of keeping San Francisco clean and beautiful,” says Vincent Yuen, the founder of Refuse Refuse. “As someone who has been dedicated to keeping our streets clean for years, I am thrilled to be partnering with the Civic Joy Fund on this Clean Up the City project to bring 10 weekly trash pickups across the City, upping the ante on our work to leave no piece of litter behind!” .

The current neighborhoods scheduled for Clean Up The City are Hayes Valley, Bayview,  South Mission, Lower Nob Hill, Lower Polk, Ocean Beach with more on their way. 

Adopt-A- Block:

In consultation with local community groups we will choose four blocks around San Francisco and work with that block’s community to devise a plan on how to use $100,000 per block to fund a suite of potential improvements, support, and planning to help that block reach its fullest potential.

Kate Sofis, the Executive Director of the Office Economic & Workforce development says: “As the Executive Director of the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, I am thrilled to see the Civic Joy Fund’s Adopt-A-Block program come to life right here in our district, where the spirit of San Francisco starts. This project will bring much needed investment in the neighborhood’s residents and small businesses and we can’t wait to be a part of it!”

The blocks selected for Adopt-A- Block are Larkin Street between Turk Street and Eddy Street in the Tenderloin, Mission Street between 16th and 18th Streets in the Mission District, Ocean Avenue from Jules Street to Faxon Street in Ingleside, and Mission Street between San Juan Street and Harrington Street in the Excelsior. 

The City Civic Corps:

The City Civic Corps will have 100 San Franciscans descend to a different location in San Francisco on  the first Saturday of each month to support a needed volunteer project where many hands will make quick work, from park and beach cleanups to tree plantings to helping seniors, animals, and fellow San Franciscans in need. 

Lily Lo,  President of BeChinaTown says, “The Civic Joy Fund is bringing together the best of San Francisco to help our City get back on its feet. Chinatown was hit first and hit hard and I can’t wait to have music on the streets of Chinatown to show the world that we’re back!” 

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Summer of Music Sign Up:

Clean up The City Sign Up :

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