After nearly nine decades of service, the San Francisco Glide Foundation has became an integral part of The City’s culture and is now on track to becoming a city-designated legacy business.
The City’s Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to back the nonprofit’s efforts, forwarding its application with a positive recommendation to the Small Business Commission on April 8, where it must be granted final approval.
Businesses that have operated in The City for 30 years or more and contribute to a community’s history or culture qualify for legacy status. Those approved for the designation are eligible for a grant of $500 per full-time employee per year, capped at $50,000 annually.
There are currently 172 businesses on The City’s legacy business registry.
The designation can also add an extra layer of protection for businesses at risk of displacement, as landlords that provide legacy businesses with 10-year leases qualify for a grant of up to $22,500 annually.
Glide is currently at the center of a lawsuit filed by its parent denomination, the United Methodist Church, which is seeking to seize the organization’s assets. According to documents submitted to the commission, differing views in regard to the LGBTQ community and Glide’s role as a social service provider with a “radically inclusive” approach to serving The City’s disenfranchised have sparked controversy.
Glide’s programs include a walk-in center for shelter, hygiene and other support services, a women’s center, harm reduction services and a free meal program that feeds some 2,000 people daily.
Last summer, Glide removed the church from its bylaws and voted UMC Bishop Minerva Carcaño off its leadership board, violating a founding agreement, according to church officials.
In February, Glide countersued the church, as the San Francisco Examiner previously reported.
Senior Planner Shelley Caltagirone told the Commission on Thursday that the department determined that the lawsuit would not affect a designation.
“There is a concern that depending on which way the lawsuit goes, that there could be a loss of control of their property,” Caltagirone said.
Sam Singer, a spokesperson for Glide, said that the organization “has been working toward filing for legacy business designation for a long time,” and discussions and preliminary work started prior to UMC’s lawsuit and before “Carcaño became bishop.”
“The action was solely taken to acknowledge Glide’s services to the community,” said Singer.
On Tuesday, Miguel Bustos, Glide board member and director of its Center for Social Justice, said that since the organization was founded in 1929, Glide has “been a place for all people.’
“It doesn’t matter where you got kicked out from, Glide was always a home,” he said. “I think our history is worth telling and preserving.”