Oct. 18: Community Open House for Veteran Family Home

Public Welcome!

National Black Contractors Association’s
Community Open House

Come see a newly remodeled home going to a deserving veteran family!

Thursday, Oct. 18
10-11 a.m.

754 Euclid Avenue
San Diego, CA 92114
(Just north of Walgreens)

As a community partner and the largest donor on the project, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation welcomes the community to the National Black Contractors Association’s (BCA) Community Open House for this newly remodeled veteran home. In 2017, Jacobs Center deeded the property to BCA for a symbolic $100. Over this past year, BCA has worked hard to remodel the entire property to be sold as an affordable home for a deserving veteran family. The home is currently in escrow for below market value, and all funds will go to BCA’s Affordable Housing Program to help build, renovate and sell more homes to veteran families and low-income buyers.

The property was rebuilt with BCA and Heartland Youthbuild trainees and alumni, BCA Inner-city Apprenticeship, National Association of Minority Contractors, Inner-city Community Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee and BCA Small Community Contractors.

Partners who donated their services/products include Ron’s Electrical Service, Hopson’s Roofing, Skyline Tile and Marble, Comrade Construction, Maurice Sweet Handyman Service, William Concrete Foundations, Doing it Right, Straight Line Painting, Best Construction, Rudy’s Grading Service, Rudy the Carpenter, Ronald Larry Ware Construction Foreman, Shomaree Hameed Carpenter, Idris Hameed, Milholland Solar Electric and Roofing, Hanson Concrete Aggregate, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Robert Ito and Eli the Builder, Swinerton Foundation, Turner Construction, Douglas and Nancy Barnhart Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, Dixieline Lumber, Image Seed Photography, and the Voice and Viewpoint Newspaper.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this veteran family’s American dream of owning a home possible!




Writerz Blok Hosts Third Annual NOF (Nineteen Oh Four) Reunion

On Oct. 27, Writerz Blok, the graffiti group that turns blighted spaces into art, will be hosting the “Third Annual NOF (Nineteen Oh Four) Reunion” to bring together pioneer graffiti artists and old school writers. These early artists from the ‘70s and ‘80s will gather, paint and welcome today’s artists and the public to join them.

For more info., check out Writerz Blok’s Instagram account.


JPMorgan Chase Commits $100,000 to Develop an Equitable Neighborhood Plan in the San Diego Promise Zone to Drive Economic Opportunity

“Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods” Invests in Grants to Incentivize Local Leaders to Identify and Solve the Greatest Needs in Distressed Communities

JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a $100,000 planning grant for the San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative to create economic opportunity through creation of an Equitable Development Plan to meet the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses in the San Diego Promise Zone, comprised of three of the City’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. As part of the firm’s $125 million, five-year Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) Competition, the San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative will develop an equitable neighborhood plan and create a roadmap for long-term change in communities that have been historically left behind.

The San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative is a partnership of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, Accion, CDC Small Business Finance, Logan Heights Community Development Corporation, and the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center Network. This grant will be used to administer 1,000 surveys in the San Diego Promise Zone to gather data on the capital and technical assistance needs of diverse small business owners, including business owners without storefronts. This data will inform the creation of a responsive, data-driven Equitable Development Plan that can be used to deploy start-up and expansion capital to diverse small business owners operating within the San Diego Promise Zone.

With equitable and inclusive economic growth at the heart of the strategy, JPMorgan Chase recognizes the importance of having a plan in place to develop and drive equitable outcomes for families, businesses and communities. That’s why this year’s PRO Neighborhoods competition included planning grant opportunities for local leaders to identify the greatest needs facing their communities and develop data and community-driven neighborhood plans – 14 planning grant winners received $1.8 million this year in addition to the four capital grant winners in Fresno, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

“JPMorgan Chase believes more people should have access to opportunity and the chance to move up the economic ladder, particularly in the world’s cities where the benefits of revitalization are not reaching everyone,” said Tim West, executive director and head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking practice in San Diego. “Through our PRO Neighborhoods program, the San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative will further its work to help create and sustain economic growth in San Diego.”

PRO Neighborhoods provides the necessary capital to local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to address the drivers of economic opportunity in neighborhoods. These CDFIs work together to pool resources and expand lending activities for building health and education facilities, open retail centers and support community services in area neighborhoods.

“We are very pleased to receive this grant to help us discover real opportunities for businesses that will help them succeed and flourish,” said Jacobs Center President and CEO Reginald Jones. “It is through this type of collaborative effort that we can build the economic strength of our communities, making them stronger and more resilient.”

Measuring the Impact of PRO Neighborhoods
JPMorgan Chase has hosted five competitions to-date, awarding more than $98 million to 25 groups of collaborating CDFIs in communities across the country – work that’s highlighted in a new progress report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Among other highlights, the report found that the winners of the first three competitions leveraged JPMorgan Chase’s nearly $68 million in support to raise an additional $717 million in outside capital, issued over 21,000 loans to low-to-moderate income customers, and created or preserved over 3,000 affordable housing units and 11,000 quality jobs.

For more information about this work in San Diego, please call Jacobs Center Vice President, Impact & Partnerships Bennett Peji at 619-527-6161.

About the San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative
The San Diego Small Business Lending Collaborative works together to support small businesses by identifying and removing barriers to growth. The project aim is to support the growth of diverse locally owned businesses within the San Diego Promise Zone, so that residents can live and work in their own community and take an active role in their neighborhood’s revitalization. The plan will make measurable progress on equitable growth by identifying strategies that invite participation by diverse small business owners and eliminate cultural and social barriers. For more information, please call Jacobs Center Vice President, Impact & Partnerships Bennett Peji at 619-527-6161.

About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.6 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management, and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional, and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com. Follow JPMorgan Chase on Twitter @JPMorgan or @Chase and Facebook.



Jacobs Center Welcomes African Delegation to San Diego

September 20, 2018

By Bennett Peji,
Vice President, Impact & Partnerships for
Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

On September 15, one of the largest international delegations the San Diego Diplomacy Council will host all year came to town. Twenty-two nonprofit and civic leaders from across Africa – through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program – visited “America’s Finest City” for its expertise in nonprofit leadership, community engagement and civic activism.

Read more from The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint


Celebrate Dia de los Muertos at the Arts Park @ Chollas Creek, October 20

Arts, Crafts and Presentation by Macedonio Arteaga and Izcalli

From the strike of dawn on Halloween to the end of the second day of November, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated by Mexicans all over the world. But it isn’t just about skeletons, and it isn’t scary either.

Dia de los Muertos is a vibrant, colorful celebration of life, with people gathering to honor friends and family members who have died. On Saturday, Oct. 20 from 1-5 p.m., Jacobs Center’s Arts Park @ Chollas Creek will hold a Dia de los Muertos event with Artist-In-Residence Macedonio Arteaga and cultural group Izcalli sharing how this ancient Mexican philosophy of honoring the dead celebrates life.

Attendees will hear “Day of the Dead” stories, while creating take-home masks, sugar skulls and papel picado (traditional paper cut-out banners) – surrounded by the colorful backdrop of work from local and nationally known street artists at the Arts Park.

Arteaga is one of two new artists-in-residence for the Jacobs Center, advocating for community engagement through the arts. He is the co-founder, writer, teacher and artistic director of Teatro Izcalli, a San Diego-based Chicana/o comedy troupe. Izcalli transforms the lives of Chicana/o and indigenous communities by promoting cultural consciousness through the arts, education and community dialogue.

With the renovation of the Arts Park @ Chollas Creek, Jacobs Center hopes to create more neighborhood cultural gatherings that bring together artists in the San Diego community. Arts Park @ Chollas Creek offers a variety of events year-round centered around art, design and nature. For more info., visit www.jacobscenter.org.

This event is FREE and open to the public. To RSVP, visit http://bit.ly/DDLMJC.


Applicants Wanted for Two New Restaurants!

Market Creek Partners is pleased to announce that Market Creek Plaza’s restaurant space at 342 Euclid Ave. is being leased by Castañedas Mexican Food. As longtime San Diego residents who grew up in Southeastern San Diego, the Castañeda Family is excited to bring its first dual restaurant concept to their hometown neighborhood.

The Castañeda Family seeks to hire as many Southeastern San Diego residents as possible and other qualified San Diegans to work in both the front and back of the new restaurants. Applications are available online at www.castanedasmexicanfood.com/career. Be sure to click on the location on Euclid Avenue!

First to open in November 2018 is Castañedas Mexican Food – “California’s Best Mexican Food.” This will be the family’s 28th location of the popular taco shop, located throughout Southern California.

In 2019, the Castañeda Family will open Mariscos La Riviera Est. Milpas V. Nayarit, aka La Riviera, a family-friendly, sit-down restaurant with delicious Mexican seafood, inspired by the famous Mexico state of Nayarit. Get ready for mouthwatering dishes with high quality ingredients and live music!

“Our family looks forward to welcoming yours!” – The Castañeda Family


Shared Insight Announces 59 New Listen for Good Grantees

Fund for Shared Insight is proud to announce the 59 newly selected grantees to participate in Listen for Good (L4G), our signature national feedback initiative. The latest awards bring to 217 the total number of nonprofits implementing high-quality feedback loops with their beneficiaries through the L4G program.

L4G is a collaborative effort among many funders that is dedicated to building the practice of listening to the people we seek to help, especially those whose voices are least heard. Nonprofits participating in L4G receive a capacity-building grant and access to technical assistance to help them build internal systems and expertise for collecting and responding to feedback.

Please see the list of new participants below. A searchable list of all Shared Insight grantees can be found here.

Twenty-eight co-funders (listed below) joined to support the latest L4G cohort, bringing the total number of funders participating in Shared Insight to 94. See information about our funders here.

We are especially pleased to welcome back some funding partners, including the Weingart Foundation, which had nominated and supported one grantee in 2016-17, and returned this year to nominate and support five nonprofits. The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has also continued to grow its support, backing 12 grantees this round for a total of 20 groups nominated since 2017.

Among the new funders is the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, a Wisconsin grantmaker that is supporting three area nonprofits’ participation in L4G. The foundation had some experience backing grantees who gathered beneficiary feedback, but it was ready to take the process to the next level.

“We were excited to see a validated measurement tool, a full feedback-loop system available to us, so that we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” says Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement at U.S. Venture, which is working through the Fox Valley foundation to support the L4G participants. “This is a best practice that doesn’t take a lot of resources, just commitment to transparency, trust, and change.”

To see what the practice of L4G looks like at nonprofits around the country, click here. And please stay tuned for our plans later this year to introduce a new L4G grant opportunity and program model that will allow even more organizations to use the L4G survey, tools, and benchmarks.

Here’s a list of our 59 new Listen for Good Grantees:
  • Access Plus Capital
  • Alternatives in Action
  • Asian Youth Center
  • Be A Leader Foundation
  • Beatitudes Campus Foundation
  • Beyond Emancipation
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona
  • Big Sky Youth Empowerment
  • Bresee Foundation
  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • Capital Workforce Partners
  • Career Resources
  • Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Center for Urban Families
  • Children’s Council of San Francisco
  • Children’s Home Society of North Carolina
  • Civic Works
  • Community Action Project of Tulsa County
  • Compass Working Capital
  • Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation
  • East Oakland Youth Development Center
  • Family Services
  • Foundation for Blind Children
  • Foundation for Senior Living
  • Fresno Community Development Financial Institution
  • Friends For Life Corporation
  • Habitat for Humanity Las Vegas
  • Homeless Prenatal Program
  • House of Hope Green Bay
  • Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities
  • Huckleberry Youth Programs
  • ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth
  • Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
  • John Wood Community College Foundation
  • Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
  • Marin City Health & Wellness Center
  • My Friend’s Place
  • Nevada HAND
  • New Moms
  • New Pathways for Youth
  • Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board
  • Oakland Leaf
  • Raising Special Kids
  • Reach Out
  • Rubicon Programs
  • Social Advocates for Youth
  • Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
  • St. Joseph the Worker
  • St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore
  • Summer Learning Collaborative
  • The Light House Homeless Prevention Support Center
  • The Stride Center
  • Time for Change Foundation
  • Upstate Family Resource Center
  • West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology
  • Workforce Alliance
  • Youth Leadership Institute


Here’s a list of our 28 Listen for Good co-funders from our latest round of grants:
  • Anonymous (2)
  • Arsht-Cannon Fund (endowed fund of the Delaware Community Foundation)
  • Bainum Family Foundation
  • Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
  • Charles Schwab Bank
  • Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region
  • Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley
  • Edna McConnell Clark Foundation*
  • Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Helen J. Serini Foundation
  • Katzin Foundation
  • Love Cultivating Assets (donor-advised fund at the San Francisco Foundation)
  • Marin Community Foundation
  • Mary Black Foundation
  • Melville Charitable Trust
  • Oak Foundation
  • Plough Foundation
  • REDF
  • Spartanburg County Foundation
  • The George Foundation
  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • Tracy Family Foundation
  • Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
  • Wege Foundation
  • Weingart Foundation
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Yucca Rieschel


Sow & Grow September 8, 2018

Media Contact: Sandy Young, J. Walcher Communications sandy@jwalcher.com, 619-295-7140

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation Opens Arts Park @ Chollas Creek
Home to Writerz Blok, Park Will Host Sept. 8 “Sow and Grow” Event; Expanded Programming

SAN DIEGO (Aug. 31, 2018) – The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s new Arts Park @ Chollas Creek, home to Writerz Blok, is now open and will host “Sow and Grow @ The Creek,” a free community event on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

“Sow and Grow @ The Creek” – with an everything gardening theme – kicks off the Arts Park programming and will feature gardening workshops with free take-home plants, creation of a community mural with “KimberlyArtShow,” reggae band Pali Roots, kids’ activities and more.

Artist Deedee Morrison will introduce the community and solicit feedback for her proposed public art sculpture, “Visualize Biodiversity,” that will reside as a permanent installation at the Chollas Creek Urban Park. A collaboration with Jacobs Center and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the piece celebrates habitat restoration in a biologically rich and visually appealing piece. It is set to be unveiled at Chollas Creek in early 2019.

To RSVP, visit https://sowandgrow2018.eventbrite.com.

Arts Park @ Chollas Creek builds on Writerz Blok’s mission to build Southeastern San Diego’s cultural offerings and provide a space for all artists (visual, performing, experiential, etc.) to gather and engage the community. The park’s transformation was community driven, with neighbors offering insight on how to best expand the park for ultimate community use.

“We are excited to expand our programming at Arts Park @ Chollas Creek to include events around art, design and nature,” said Reginald Jones, president and CEO of the Jacobs Center. “This place-making park can be transferred to locations throughout the community to enhance areas and bring people together through the arts.”

To continue these efforts, Jacobs Center is currently seeking other organizations and artists to propose arts and culture activities at Arts Park @ Chollas Creek from September to December 2018.

Additional programming at the Arts Park includes a Dia de los Muertos Workshop on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 1-5 p.m., with Jacobs Center Artist-in-Residence Macedonio Arteaga, co-founder, writer, teacher and artistic director of Teatro Izcalli. Arteaga will lead activities including mask-making, sugar skulls and “papel picado” (traditional paper cut-out banners) that attendees can take home, along with a presentation on the meaning of the “Day of the Dead.” The Arts Park is also working on partnerships and programming with Project New Village and Black Xpression.

The community is invited to visit Writerz Blok, currently open every day from 9 a.m. to at least 6 p.m., with select closures throughout the day when the group teaches classes at Crawford High School (Wednesdays, 1-3:30 p.m.) and Rancho Buena Vista High School (Mondays, 2:30-4:30 p.m.). To confirm specific hours, it is highly recommended that artists and the public monitor the Instagram page, or call 619-263-4914.

In addition to its ongoing outreach and participation in area events, Writerz Blok is gearing up to revive its signature events, including the “Third Annual NOF (Nineteen Oh Four) Reunion” in early fall to bring together pioneer graffiti artists and old school writers.

For more about Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the latest updates on Arts Park @ Chollas Creek events, visit www.jacobscenter.org.

About Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
Founded in 1995, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is focused on building communities and lifting lives. As a creative catalyst and incubator, the Jacobs Center works with the community to revitalize Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods. This means transforming nearly 60 acres into sustainable developments that provide residents with greater access to resources and amenities that improve their quality of life. Additionally, the Jacobs Center works with community organizations and partners to increase residents’ economic opportunities, leadership skills and educational success.

Learn more at www.jacobscenter.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Sow & Grow @ The Creek

Following the restoration of Chollas Creek, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation conducted a competitive process to commission an artist team to create a permanent art installation at the Chollas Creek Urban Park. The project, a collaboration with the City of San Diego Commission for the Arts and Culture, is supported in part by a $75,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The JCNI received over 25 applications from artists across the country. A selection committee made up of experts in arts and culture, education, land planning, and community stakeholder shortlisted three artists/artists teams to propose conceptual designs.

The shortlisted artists conducted a site visit on April 24 to engage with community stakeholders and set priorities for their proposed artwork. The artists’ conceptual designs were reviewed by the selection committee on May 22 and determined artist Deedee Morrison as the artist most qualified to enter into a contract to complete the design, fabrication and installation of her proposed interactive sculpture Visualize Biodiversity.

Deedee, who resides in South Carolina, is a professional artist who has extensive experience in public art installations and visual arts exhibitions throughout the country. She will be in San Diego on Saturday, September 8 to conduct a community engagement workshop as part of the celebration Sow & Grow @ the Creek to be held from 12:30 – 4 pm.

Her goal for the event is to lay the groundwork for diverse community input, critically important for the long term success of every public art project. “As an artist – I feel that I am the storyteller for the community and for the artwork and I spend a tremendous amount of time during the conceptual design process conducting research on issues including neighborhood histories, regional biodiversity and the geographic character of the area.  For the Jacobs Center project the revitalization and habitat restoration initiatives for Chollas Creek was the inspiration for the artwork,” said Deedee

The event will include live music, mural making, activities for families and native plant and butterfly/pollinator workshops. We hope you and your family will join us for this exciting community event! For the day’s line-up and to RSVP, please click here.



Company Success Will Be Community Success at New Accelerator

By Sarah de Crescenzo

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

*Article published in the San Diego Business Journal here. 

San Diego — The second floor of the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center in southeast San Diego feels familiar and anodyne, like a place you’d go to get help with your taxes or attend a Toastmasters meeting.

But by next year many of its hallways and meeting rooms are slated to be transformed into an open, modern coworking space tailored for entrepreneurs who are looking to get help building businesses.

The community center, run by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, was selected last year as the location for San Diego’s first city-funded business accelerator. It recently began accepting bids from contractors to demolish and rebuild about 4,300 square feet of office space into a home for the program. Its bid to launch such a program was submitted in conjunction with Connect, a La Jolla-based organization that has been providing startups with intensive mentoring since the 1980s.

Connect All

Called Connect All @ Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, the region’s first diversity-focused accelerator program open to all aspiring entrepreneurs in the city of San Diego is slated to welcome its first cohort in 2019 to the community center on Euclid Avenue. The building is fewer than 10 miles from downtown, but the urbanized and ethnically diverse area has largely remained apart from the city’s growing startup scene.

The startup ecosystem has historically had little diversity, but recently there have been efforts to change that, both locally and in other hot spots for emerging companies. Some believe more diversity in the industry could, in addition to more equitably distribute the wealth created through the rise of new companies, also benefit early-stage investors by broadening the pool of ideas and perspectives.

Connect’s H. Puentes runs the organization’s Connect All initiative, a diversity-focused effort the group launched in 2016 before the accelerator program project came together.

Resource Center

Its accelerator at the Jacobs Center, once launched, is slated to include a resource center for entrepreneurs looking to learn about what’s available to them locally to bolster their business’ success and coworking space to which companies accepted into the accelerator will have free access for six months.

Construction is anticipated to begin in October and finish in December. As the physical space is created, the program heads say they plan to be seeking out entrepreneurs for the accelerator’s first cohort.

Candidates will go through an application and interview process; as many as 20 will be selected to begin the program in January.

While Connect’s flagship accelerator, Springboard, focuses on life science and tech startups, Puentes said the Connect All program at the Jacobs Center will work with a broader range of companies.

“We’re going to expand the scope of the companies we look at to include companies that are looking to scale,” Puentes said. “We’re looking for those companies that have a little traction, they’re looking to scale, but they need another six months, some mentoring, access to the network or help with raising capital — just a little push to get them to that level where they can pay themselves and walk and grow on their own.”

Those accepted will be teamed up with mentors who will share their knowledge about how to build and scale a business.

Each cohort will wrap up the program with a demonstration day, as is common with accelerators, at which companies will showcase the progress made.

Bennett Peji, the Jacobs Center’s senior director of external affairs, says the space slated for the accelerator, once the walls are torn down and interiors rebuilt, has been designed to be reminiscent of any other coworking space in San Diego.

Providing access to office space and its accoutrements — printing, WiFi and more — is meant to lower the barriers of entry for aspiring entrepreneurs in the city of San Diego, Puentes said.

Funding for the program comes from the city’s Community Development Block Grant funds, federal money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development intended to support community development initiatives.

A total of $500,000 has been set aside for construction; another $500,000 for developing and marketing the program to potential participants. In comparison, EvoNexus, which operates the area’s highest profile incubator program for startups, reported about $1.7 million in expenses in 2016 and in 2015.

The EvoNexus program is supported by corporate sponsors. It recently began taking a small amount of equity in each new company that enters its program to reduce its reliance on corporate backers.

Goal Is Self Sustainability

The goal is for Connect All @ Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation to become self-sustaining after the CDBG funds are exhausted, but it’s not yet clear how that will happen. Peji said it’s possible the program could one day charge those who use its working space or go through the accelerator program a fee to offset operating costs. But for three years, there will be no cost to access its services.

The program plans to accept a new cohort into the accelerator every six months, and says those that need more than six months of access to the coworking space may be able to request an extension on a case-by-case basis.

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