The 3-minute interview with Willa Seldon

In May, the 47-year-old took over as CEO of Glide Foundation, an arm of the powerful nonprofit of the Glide Memorial Church. The foundation has long been billed as a safe haven for the poor and homeless and rakes in $13 million in annual charitable donations. She was honored Wednesday by the St. Anthony Foundation and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation for her efforts thus far in The City’s most troubled areas.

The Western Addition, Tenderloin and Bayview-Hunters Point have all been named as crime and poverty hotspots in The City. Do you agree that these are areas in need of Glide or are the problems more broad than that? These are some of the poorest communities in San Francisco based on every metric you can use to gauge poverty. Our city has had an incredible surge in violence, like much of the Bay Area, and the Tenderloin continues to be where much of the violence is in the city.

Do you think problems with drug use in the Tenderloin start with out-of-towners? The police have made a suggestion of that. But there is a fundamental problem that exists right in this neighborhood. Some are families just trying to make a living, some are people who have long histories of substance abuse, some are mentally ill and some are just simply homeless. It’s a combination of things.

Do you think San Francisco government is doing their fair share in serving this growing population? They’re doing a good job at doing what they have the means to do. But, clearly, more has to be done. Whether its people opening up their checkbooks and helping us do the work that we do, or The City providing funding for our programs, we all need to pursue innovative approaches to solving problems.

tramroop@examiner.com


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