OP-ED: The San Francisco Foundation: Our Work Continues

(L to R) FAITHS staff Michelle Myles Chambers with former FAITHS director Landon Williams, and FAITHS Program and Civic Engagement Officer Tessa Rouverol Callejo

(L to R) FAITHS staff Michelle Myles Chambers with former FAITHS director Landon Williams, and FAITHS Program and Civic Engagement Officer Tessa Rouverol Callejo

David Glover and OCCUR’s reputation as a champion for low-income residents and neighborhood revitalization in Oakland made him and his staff natural partners for building a program with The San Francisco Foundation to bring resources to faith organizations that have served those most in need at the heart of their mission.

< p>< p>Congregations and faith-based organizations are among the most trusted and deeply rooted institutions in low-income neighborhoods. These organizations bring leadership, resources, and volunteers to the task of providing food, clothing, and shelter to families in need, while advocating for policies that bring resources to neighborhoods that have suffered disinvestment over decades.

The San Francisco Foundation recognized that unique role, and built the FAITHS Program nearly 20 years ago to support faith organizations providing community service and advocating for economic equity and opportunity in the region.

David Glover

David Glover

In 2007, the FAITHS Program reached out to David, a long-time ally, partner and executive director of OCCUR, to respond to the growing need for support among congregations and faith-based organizations. These organizations were overwhelmed with the demand for services and programs to address increased hunger, joblessness, and the lack of affordable housing in neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area.

David’s reputation and OCCUR’s deep history in Oakland made them an ideal partner to lift up these organizations and the communities they serve through the “Model Built on Faith.”

Now in its sixth year, the program has trained more than 650 faith and community leaders through free workshops and one-on-one technical assistance provided by seasoned nonprofit leaders and consultants. Carmen Bogan, lead consultant for the “Model Built on Faith” program, and OCCUR staff organize trainings to address the fierce competition for resources by developing collaborations and creative approaches that are sustainable during challenging economic times.

After the recent passing of David, staff at The San Francisco Foundation reflected on the special partnership forged over recent years and reiterated their ongoing support for OCCUR’s work in the community.

“We mourn the recent passing of our friend and colleague David Glover. His vision, intellect, and skill were critical to the creation of dynamic community partnerships that have made Oakland, and indeed the entire Bay Area, more inclusive and just for all who call the region home,” said FAITHS Program and Civic Engagement Officer Tessa Rouverol Callejo.

“The partnership we began years ago, grounded in David’s vision, will continue on under the skilled leadership of OCCUR’s staff. We look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen faith community leadership and to advance the work of economic justice and equity in the region.”

James Head is the Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation.

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