The San Francisco Foundation Hosts Nonprofit Displacement Convenings

The San Francisco Foundation along with Northern California Grantmakers hosted an informative, interactive and extremely intriguing discussion with many Bay Area Foundations on the issue of the future of San Francisco’s nonprofits and it’s deep social implications.

As the market for residential housing becomes fiercely competitive and expensive, commercial space for San Francisco’s nonprofits are also subject to rising costs and procurement is rapidly vanishing. Although this is a city-wide issue, data has shown that in area code 94124 the cost per square foot has nearly doubled for nonprofits, going from $14.96/sq. foot to $28.22/sq. foot. As District 10 experiences a new wave of development this issue will be important to the organizations and their programmatic effect on the residents.

Presentations from the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (SFMOHCD), Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) articulated the set of recommendations provided by SFMOH’s Working Group composed of city departments and nonprofit organization to create short-term and long-term sustainable solutions to the issue of nonprofit displacement in San Francisco. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development compiled a report of best practices in San Francisco based from survey data taken from SFMOH’s Working Group.

Recommendations made by SFMOH’s Working Group:

  • Technical AssistanceAn intermediary assistance including: space analysis, lease negotiation and review, presenting different financing options, capital campaigns, back-office sharing, co-locating nonprofits and a linkage to brokerage services, building vacancy surveys using an analysis of other related areas.
  • Planning/Zoning/Developers and Incentives creating alternatives for commercial space within the City and County of San Francisco: Development Impact Fees, Inclusionary Zoning Ordinances, City Incentives for Property Owners, Second Floor Office Space, Developer Agreements and Community Benefits Agreements
  • Identifying Available Spaces: create a single point of contact, use of multi-tenant spaces, usage of city-owned buildings and other governmental spaces, support from the City Capital Plan, procurement of storefronts along commercial corridors, support from the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, usage of spaces within affordable housing developments, space-sharing within existing nonprofits, usage of single room occupancy hotels, use of non-traditional spaces, co-locating and back-office sharing and family trusts.
  • Direct Financial Assistance – acquisition/rehabilitation funds, tenant improvements, emergency rental stipends and security deposits, new market and other federal tax credits and the restructuring of City Contacts (COLA, CODB).
  • Public and Private Partnerships – partnerships with Bay Area Foundations and Philanthropy, collaborative work with developers, owners and brokers, establish a closer relationship with corporate partners.

As a result of this report the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and the San Francisco Arts Commission established a partnership of NCCLF, Urban Solutions and CAST. The partnership will provide technical and financial assistance awards to social service and community arts organizations to help them find appropriate and affordable space in San Francisco. The services provided under this partnership will be financial assessments, space planning, identifying/evaluating potential sites, developing construction budgets and timelines, analyzing potential funding sources and referrals to architect, engineers, contractors and attorneys. Financial assistance funds will be available for acquisition, tenant improvements, predevelopment expenses, holding costs and rent stipends. Rent stipends will cover the rent differential for up to six months. For more information on NCCLF’s program please click here.

The Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) creates physical spaces for arts and cultural organizations to facilitate equitable urban transformation. This is done by the acquisition of properties to sustain arts & culture in selected San Francisco neighborhoods, build capacity of cultural organizations to lease or own property, bundle leases to sustain affordable rents for those not prepared to buy and attract additional funding to achieve these goals. This is a new philanthropic strategy with an inventive approach to asset development for cultural organizations with a focus on neighborhood revitalization with arts at the center of economic and community development. CAST mitigates displacements for arts organizations in one of the most volatile real estate markets and most important cultural communities in the US and is an equitable solution to the displacement of San Francisco’s nonprofits. CAST is a non-profit real estate development and holding company that purchases, lease, leverages the site, stabilizes the site, holds for the nonprofit, sells site at the same rate it was purchased and recycled into the market. For more information on CAST please visit

Please feel free to visit any of the links provided for more information or potential funding.