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Child mentorship program launches in Bayview, Hunters Point with $1.2 million grant

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(S.F. Examiner file photo)

Mentorship nonprofit Friends of the Children received a four-year $1.2 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund Thursday, which will allow the national program to expand into San Francisco’s Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods.

Friends of the Children provides long-term mentorship opportunities for children from kindergarten through high school. After 24 years of evaluation, it’s proven to increase high school graduation rates, decrease teen pregnancy, and reduce juvenile justice involvement.

We are thrilled to join the Friends of the Children network and honored to receive this incredible Social Innovation Fund grant,” said Michael Rugen, Founder and Executive Director of the new chapter. “Our outstanding Board of Directors and our generous donors have worked long and hard to make the Bay Area chapter a reality and, thanks to this catalytic award from the Social Innovation Fund, nearly 200 of the most vulnerable San Francisco children will be on their way toward breaking the generational cycle of poverty by the end of the grant term!”

The San Francisco chapter of Friends of the Children will be partnering with HOPE SF, a partnership created by the Mayor’s office to renovate four of San Francisco’s severely distressed public housing sites. The project is unique, in that it will keep residents on site while renovations are happening. Once completed, the four locations will contain green buildings, improved schools, a revitalized economy, and community support.

“We are impressed with Friends of the Children’s dedication to serving the most vulnerable children, its evidence-based approach and its long track record of helping children break the generational cycle of poverty,” said Theo Miller, Director of HOPE SF. “Our new partnership with Friends SF will further HOPE SF’s mission of improving the quality of life for children residing in the City’s public housing, for their families and the surrounding communities.”


Friends SF will begin mentoring its first class of San Francisco kindergarteners this spring.


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