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March Diamond Snapshot: COVID-19 Vaccine Sites, Architecture Career Panel and Health Fair!

Learn more about what’s going on in your community this March by reading the Diamond Snapshot e-newsletter, highlighting a COVID-19 vaccine site locator, an architecture career panel, various financial resources and more! You can subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter today and learn more resources for you and community updates – click below for more information!

>> Click here to read the full e-newsletter & subscribe <<

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Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation Growing Community Partnerships in 2021

New Community Board Member, Staff with Proven Dedication to Southeastern San Diego Join Nonprofit

SAN DIEGO (March 1, 2021) – Southeastern San Diego has much to offer – its passionate residents, businesses and organizations, community spirit and culture. Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation remains dedicated to this vibrant community and growing partnerships, projects and resources in 2021.

To strengthen these efforts, Jacobs Center has announced new board member Louie Nguyen, CFA, who is dedicated to economic development in Southeastern San Diego; promotion of Christie Marcella to executive director to build on Jacobs Center’s critical work; and new director of development operations and institutional advancement Selina Castillo Hudgins to bring attention to philanthropic support needed for neighborhood projects.

“Our mission has always been about a thriving community envisioned and realized by its residents. These key team members have a proven passion for this mission and have already made an impact in Southeastern San Diego,” said Reginald Jones, president and CEO of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. “In partnership with others, we continue to prioritize the entire community through physical development, economic opportunities, neighborhood resources and cultural arts. Our approach is simple and grounded in equity and social justice.”

Louie Nguyen, CFA, is the Jacobs Center’s newest community board member. He joins the board’s two additional community members, Paul Robinson and Juan Carlos Hernandez, as important voices at the organization’s board level to lead and advise. Nguyen’s commitment to Southeastern San Diego is clear in his current role as Chief Investment Officer at Mission Driven Finance, a private impact investment boutique that provides opportunities to easily invest in the community to solve social pain points.

Through Mission Driven Finance, he recently played a key role in bringing Access Youth Academy, a nonprofit organization that helps train youth to be first-generation college students through the sport of squash – all at no cost to the area. The campus will also offer recreation spaces and meeting rooms for the general community to use for free and is set to open this summer.

Nguyen is also excited to bring his nearly 25 years as a skilled investor to the CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center Advocacy Council, helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and jobs within San Diego through the region’s first low-to-moderate income and diversity-focused business accelerator program. The program recently held its third Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition, awarding $15,000 in business grants to three diverse women-owned businesses.

Christie Marcella has been promoted to executive director of the organization. In her previous position as community and economic development officer, Marcella spent much of her focus on building and strengthening partnerships with local organizations on their home turf, intuitively fostering a collaborative environment of shared resources, including the Jacobs Center’s meeting spaces, communications expertise, and regional relationships. She is often heard asking, “How can we do something now that will help our organizations 10 years from now?”

Attentive and responsive to supporting residents directly impacted by COVID-19,  Marcella worked to establish the Southeastern San Diego COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund with The San Diego Foundation, which supported 33 nonprofits to directly help the community during the pandemic, and set up multiple and weekly food drive-thru events in the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center parking lot. She also serves as co-chair of the Economic Activities Working Group for the San Diego Promise Zone and serves on Mayor Todd Gloria’s BackToWorkSD workforce development group. 

Selina Castillo Hudgins is the Jacobs Center’s new director of development operations and institutional advancement. Hudgins’ passion for the mission is finding ways to increase philanthropic support for Southeastern San Diego that benefits the community for the long-term. Hired for her proven fund development experience, she has a successful background in determining organization needs, developing partner programs for community growth and strengthening fundraising efforts.

In this newly created position, Hudgins will collaborate to grow key programs like the Business Resource Center, cultural arts partnerships, community engagement opportunities and general operations support. She will also be leading Jacobs Center’s communications to continue interacting and updating the general community, partners and donors.

To learn more about how the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation supports community development and partnerships in Southeastern San Diego, visit jacobscenter.org. For sponsorship and program support opportunities, please contact Hudgins at schudgins@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 jacobscenter.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

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February Diamond Snapshot: Free Flu Shots, SD Museum Month, Lunar New Year Celebration and more!

Learn more about what’s going on in your community this February by reading the Diamond Snapshot e-newsletter, highlighting free flu shot clinics, emergency rental assistance and various medical and financial resources and more! You can subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter today and learn more resources for you and community updates – click below for more information!

>> Click here to read the full e-newsletter & subscribe <<

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AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM AVAILABLE AT JACOBS CENTER THROUGH THE JACKIE ROBINSON YMCA

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has opened up the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center’s Celebration Hall for the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA to operate a Part-Day Enrichment program for Southeastern San Diego youth ages 5-14 years old.
This program is providing neighborhood families and youth a safe, social and educational place to be Monday-Friday, 2-6 p.m.
This program includes:

  • A daily meal
  • Activities like arts & crafts, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and literacy education

 Please note: Financial assistance is available to help eligible families through Child Development Associates and the YMCA of San Diego County’s Childcare Resource Service. Financial assistance is also available through the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA’s scholarship program. Families should apply regardless of ability to pay!

Visit www.ymcasd.org/jackierobinson for more information or contact cpena@ymcasd.org for any questions.

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Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation CEO Reginald Jones Awarded Organizational Excellence Award from The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, San Diego’s largest African American publication, has selected Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation President and CEO Reginald Jones as one of its Organizational Excellence Honorees. This award represents organizations’ continuous service to the communities during the COVID-19 crisis, providing lifesaving and consistent support. The awards will be distributed virtually at the publication’s annual gala called “Continuing a History of Service,” happening on Friday, February 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. To register, click here.

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation would like to thank Dr. John Warren and The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint for the honor, and is proud to be among one of five nonprofits recognized, along with San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, San Diego Hip Hop & Wellness 5k & Festival, Paving Great Futures and I Am My Brother’s Keeper, all of which have made great contributions to the community.

The Jacobs Center has been and continues to provide resources that support the Southeastern San Diego community throughout the pandemic. Past efforts include:

  • Establishing the Southeastern San Diego COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund with the San Diego Foundation. Together, they distributed $107,000 in funds and personal protective equipment to community-based organizations, serving over 10,000 community members with food, transportation, senior support, mental health services and other emergency needs.
  • Hosting multiple and weekly food drives and drive-thru events in the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center parking lot, including ones hosted by I Am My Brother’s Keeper and KIPP Adelante Academy. With the long lines, it is a critical need for the community right now.
  • Providing a way to help keep art and culture alive throughout the pandemic, through “Be About It” virtual event to promote nonprofits with spoken word artist Gil Sotu, the Pop-up Art Gallery @ Market Creek Plaza, partnering with Common Ground Theater and the Southeast Art Team.   

Jacobs Center is fortunate to continue to help serve the Southeastern San Diego community, where all cultures are embraced and where residents create the future they envisioned. They hope the community continues to take advantage of the resources available and will continue to share them on its website and social channels – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

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January Diamond Snapshot: TEXT 911, Get Job Skills and More!

Learn more about what’s going on in your community this January by reading the Diamond Snapshot e-newsletter, highlighting job skills programs, a survey from your city councilmember’s office, Southeastern San Diego’s FIRST pop-up art gallery and more! You can subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter today and learn more resources for you and community updates – click below for more information!

>> Click here to read the full e-newsletter & subscribe <<

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COVID-19 Resources for San Diego’s Diverse Communities

The County of San Diego has identified and partnered with diverse organizations to provide accurate COVID-19 information on preventing the spread of the virus, testing and the vaccine for San Diego’s communities. Please visit the websites below for up-to-date information and resources.  

If you’re part of a nonprofit organization, consider sharing this information on your various outreach channels to further distribute these important messages.

Together Against COVID & Multicultural Health Foundation

Together Against COVID is the Multicultural Health Foundation’s COVID-19 outreach to African American and Black communities. Its website provides the facts on COVID-19 through videos, testing information, vaccine updates and more to keep San Diego’s Black community safe from COVID-19. Plus, the foundation hosts free monthly virtual events featuring leading medical professionals answering frequently asked questions.

Follow along on Facebook.

San Diego Latino Health Coalition & Chicano Federation

San Diego Latino Health Coalition está conformado por organizaciones establecidas y con lazos estrechos en la comunidad latina. Es nuestra meta reducir la velocidad de infección del COVID-19, incrementar el acceso a información esencial, incrementar la participación en pruebas de Covid-19 y seguimiento de contactos, y lo más importante, salvar vidas. San Diego Latino Health Coalition es una organización no gubernamental comprometida a protegerlos, confía en nosotros que su información permanecerá privada. Puedes comunicarte con nuestros miembros con cualquier cuestión relacionada a la salud. ¡Estamos aquí para ayudarte! Llámenos para más información al 619-285-5600. Nosotros te podemos comunicar con el Centro de Recursos más cercano a ti.

The members of the San Diego Latino Health Coalition are established organizations with deep ties to the Latino community. Its goal is to reduce COVID-19 infection rates, increase access to vital information, increase participation in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and most importantly, save lives. The San Diego Latino Health Coalition is a non-governmental organization committed to protecting you.

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Union of Pan Asian Communities

The Union of Pan Asian Communities’ (UPAC) Community Health Worker Communication & Outreach Services is a program designed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate information and resources about COVID-19 to Asian Pacific Islander populations. Along with many digital resources, this program offers weekly COVID virtual sessions and town halls. Multilingual resources are provided in Burmese, Chinese, Karen, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

UPAC is collaborating with various community partners to outreach to Asian Pacific Islanders in the San Diego County area. If you would like to receive outreach materials or collaborate on this project, please contact Program Coordinator Dominic De Los Reyes at ddelosreyes@upacsd.com. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Ihsan Health Initiative

The Ihsan Health Initiative is a community response to provide information and resources for refugees and immigrants in San Diego County during the COVID-19 pandemic led by Somali Family Service of San Diego.

The Ihsan Health Initiative aims to:

  • Provide timely and updated public health and safety information
  • Use the expertise and trust of community health workers representing the Arab, Somali, and Congolese communities
  • Provide resources and navigation for refugees to access healthcare and social services

Click here to sign up for more information on upcoming town hall meetings. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition, the County of San Diego’s COVID-19 page includes information about testing sites, daily updates, health orders and mental health resources. You can also text COSD COVID19 to 468-311 to get text alert updates.

For more information on other resources, such as food/meals, internet and business, read Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Health & Safety Resources blog.

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Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition Announces First Place Winner “Worthy Picks”

In Partnership with CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center and the City of San Diego, Three Entrepreneurs Recognized 

SAN DIEGO (Dec. 18, 2020) — Today, CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center and Union Bank announced the winners of the third Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition. In partnership with the City of San Diego, the virtual pitch competition is the culmination of four months of training and mentorship for the third group of businesses in the program. CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center is the region’s only business accelerator focused on serving low-to-moderate income and diverse founders.  

“With so many local businesses struggling because of the pandemic, the mission of CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center to elevate diverse businesses is as important as ever,” said Christina Bibler, economic development director for the City of San Diego. “Congratulations to Worthy Picks and to all the businesses that participated. I look forward to the City’s continued support for this program to fuel this pipeline of entrepreneurial talent and local jobs.”    

The first-place winner of the competition is Worthy Picks, a startup owned by Anahi Abe-Brower, offering a curated selection of eco-friendly products, specializing in bamboo and organic cotton, to inspire a sustainable lifestyle. Abe-Brower received a $7,500 cash prize to support her business. 

“Anahi Abe-Brower did a fantastic job of showing the judges the need for her eco-friendly business and growth trajectory,” said Jeanette Gann-Escobar, Union Bank Director and Branch Manager for the downtown San Diego location and a judge on the panel. “We agree with Anahi that big changes often start with small steps and look forward to seeing her company thrive.”  

The second-place award went to Meri Consulting Services, a professional services firm that provides proven sales, legal, digital transformation and marketing strategies to tech startups and small-to-medium size businesses, led by Meri Birhane. The startup won a $5,000 cash prize, as well as the “Audience Choice” Award based on public voting. 

Placing third, The STEAM Collaborative focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) with youth program leaders to innovate STEAM education solutions, targeting girls and African American youth. The company, which is led by Jasmine Sadler, was awarded $2,500.  

In total, nine companies competed in the virtual pitch competition and 14 companies have completed the business accelerator program overall: ALine Design + Drafting, Best Vibes Family Tribes, Best Way Construction Services, Blue Ribbon Kitchen, Los Brothers Tacos, Meals in Motion, Meri Consulting Services, Moon Garden Meditation, Nakamura Partners, San Diego Black Professionals, San Diego International Birthing Project, The STEAM Collaborative, Worthy Picks and Welfie.  

Each organization presented their ideas in a five-minute video pitch, and a panel of judges viewed and voted based on pre-determined criteria, including business model, market opportunity, job creation potential and long-term vision. All the videos can be viewed at bit.ly/CAJCpitch3.   

CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center is a strategic partnership between the City of San Diego, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT w/ San Diego Venture Group.  

This program is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego, and private funding from partners, such as the MUFG Union Bank foundation and bkm OfficeWorks. In addition to being a financial supporter, Union Bank colleagues have also provided volunteer support since its inception in 2018. 

About CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center
CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center (CAJC) is the region’s first low-to-moderate-income and diversity-focused business accelerator program, guiding startups that want to grow rapidly with all the support they need to be successful. A partnership between the City of San Diego, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT w/ San Diego Venture Group, the program provides participants with mentors, weekly workshops and guidance on how to scale their businesses.

CAJC also includes a Business Resource Center, so that all entrepreneurs and small businesses can learn about local services and support to move their ideas and businesses forward. This program is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego, and private funding from partners, such as MUFG Union Bank N.A. and bkm OfficeWorks.

To learn more or get involved, visit connectallsd.org

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DECEMBER SNAPSHOT: FREE WEEKLY MEALS, COVID-19 HOLIDAY GUIDELINES AND MORE!

Check out what’s happening in your community this month by reading December’s Diamond Snapshot e-newsletter. From access to FREE resources to COVID-19 Assistance Programs and a variety of job opportunities, stay updated on the latest happenings in the Southeastern San Diego Community by subscribing today!

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the Common Ground Theatre holiday concert on Dec. 19, 2020 has been canceled. Instead, the theater will offer a FREE encore Zoom performance of “Uplifting Black Voices — Men’s Edition 1, 2 and 3” on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Register at www.commongroundtheatre.com. Free admission, donations appreciated.

>> Click here to read the full e-newsletter & subscribe <<

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Common Ground Theatre Announces 2020-21 Season

Monique Gaffney
Actor Monique Gaffney rehearses for Common Ground Theatre’s free play reading of  “Speaking Truth to Power,” part of the theatre’s “Uplifting Black Voices” series.

Season Features World Premiere “Uplifting Black Voices” Play Readings, Outdoor Performances, in Partnership with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

San Diego’s premiere Black theatre, Common Ground Theatre, is proud to announce its 2020-21 season, filled with virtual and outdoor performances around the theme of “Raising Our Consciousness to a Higher Level.” In partnership with Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, Common Ground Theatre’s season seeks to provide a “common ground” for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to participate, interact, connect and share their love of theatre.

“Now is the time to discuss and think about things from different points of view,” said Common Ground Theatre Executive Artistic Director Yolanda Franklin. “This year’s season was put together with the concept that the African American/Black experience is different for everyone and all those stories are worth telling. We are sharing as many stories as we can this year, including through our free premiere play reading series, so that everyone has a chance to take part.”

“Common Ground Theatre is one of Southeastern San Diego’s jewels. Its focus on presenting work reflective of the African American experience is important. We have partnered with Common Ground to help increase its visibility in our community, and across the San Diego region,” added Jacobs Center President and CEO Reginald Jones. “Uplifting the assets of our community is critical to our mission. Common Ground Theatre has a rich history in Southeastern San Diego worthy of recognition beyond its community base.”

The initial season lineup includes:

“Uplifting Black Voices” – A Free, World Premiere 7-Part Digital Reading Series
Every month from December through June, Common Ground Theatre will highlight Black voices through short play readings by Black playwrights from San Diego and around the United States. All readings are free via Zoom. Sign up at commongroundtheatre.com. The first two months include:

  • December – Black Men’s Edition, Vol. 1, 2 & 3
    Saturday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.: In “Speaking Truth to Power,” by Robert Alexander, three longtime roommates have difficult conversations on race, class, police brutality and white privilege. The play is meant to keep the conversation going over the racial divide in the Divided States of America.

    Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.: In two plays by Cris Eli Blak, audiences will first hear “BOY,” a play where a young man must have the most honest and raw conversation of his life with his strong-willed father. It is a conversation that neither expected, and a resolution that is even more unexpected. In “Burden of Proof” a high school teacher who works with inner city kids must face his wife’s decision to defend a white supremacist.  The couple must navigate what the right thing to do is and what it means to live in a country where the truth is hardest to find.

    Saturday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m.: Enjoy encore performances of all three play readings above! Free admission, donations appreciated.
  • January – Mental Health Edition 
    Saturday, Jan. 23 & Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 at 4 p.m.
    : In “This is a Low,”by Cris Eli Blak,an African American teenager, Jude, with the help of a social worker named Mister, comes to terms with his emotions and actions. Jude learns over the course of the play that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you are or where you come from, it is okay to not always be okay.

“Day of Absence” by Douglas Turner Ward – Black History Celebration*
February 6, 7, 13 & 14, 2021 at 4 p.m.
In honor of Black History Month, Common Ground Theatre will produce an outdoor production of “Day of Absence,” winner of the coveted Vernon Rice and Obie Awards. This clever and enormously amusing satire is described by the author as “A Reverse Minstrel Show.” Here the cast, made up in white face, recount the uproarious emergencies that occur when a Deep Southern town is faced with the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of all its Black citizens. The New York Times wrote, “Laughter can be as effective as anger in telling white America what playwright [Douglas Turner Ward] has on his mind.” The show is scheduled to run at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater. Tickets will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

“Benevolence” by Ifa Bayeza*
April 17, 18, 24 & 25 at 4 p.m.
A small, segregated town is about to be turned upside down as fate brings a young boy from Chicago to a candy counter in Money, Mississippi. The second play in Ifa Bayeza’s powerful trilogy about Emmett Till, Benevolence is a haunting, unforgettable portrait of the collateral damage surrounding a case that gained international attention and sparked the Civil Rights Movement. Tickets for this outdoor production at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP, and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

“Little Rock” by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj – Juneteeth Celebration*
June 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 & 30; July 1-4, time TBD
Common Ground is bringing back an audience favorite, which was unfortunately shut down early in 2020 due to COVID-19. “History called it heroism. They called it high school.” – “Little Rock” tells the riveting true story of the “Little Rock Nine,” the first Black students to attend their city’s formerly segregated Central High School. What began as their quest for a better education soon became a national crisis, igniting the passions of a divided country and sparking a historic fight for justice in the Jim Crow South. Tickets for this outdoor play at Jacobs Center’s Market Creek Amphitheater will be $25 general admission, $35 VIP, and registration will be posted once available at commongroundtheatre.com.

*Note: Outdoor performances are pending government regulations at the time of production. As needed, alternate viewing arrangements will be announced at commongroundtheatre.com.

About Common Ground Theatre
Common Ground Theatre’s mission is “to produce classics and new works by and about people of African descent that entertain, educate and connect with audiences of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.” As the premier San Diego Black theatre, the theatre’s aim is to produce high quality theatrical productions that provide a “common ground” for all to participate, interact, connect and share their love of theatre. Learn more at commongroundtheatre.com and follow us on Facebook.

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 jacobscenter.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

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