San Francisco has a goal to reinvest its multi-million dollar police budgets into Black-owned businesses in its community.
According to an announcement from San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, she shared that the city would be awarding $3.75 million from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) to its small Black business community as a means to divert the $120 million funding from law enforcement.
The new move is part of the city’s Dream Keeper Initiative, which aims to mitigate the economic hardships in San Francisco’s Black community and help support rebuilding its economic power.
“Across this country, and in our City, we’ve seen how the Black community’s economic growth and prosperity has historically been disrupted and marginalized,” Mayor Breed said in her statement. “This funding is part [of our efforts to undo the harm of generations of disinvestment and economic inequities. As we work to recover and make San Francisco a better place to live, work, and do business, we have to invest our resources in a way that lifts up and supports African American small businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and the entire community.”
According to HuffPost, Mayor Breed called for the city’s broader plan to redirect millions from police departments last June for the next two years in support of Black communities after many people across the nation called to “defund the police.”
KQED reports that the $120 million initiative was funded with about $80 million over two years from the San Francisco Police Department, whose annual budget rounds out to about $700 million, with an additional $40 million from the budget for the sheriff’s department.
The new funding will reportedly go to 17 different community organizations, including the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, SF Black Wall Street, Mercy Housing, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates and many more.
Additionally, the $3.75 million will also go toward economic development and recovery programs such as Anti-Displacement Services for African American Businesses, Business Development and Technical Assistance for African American Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs, African American Incubation Hubs for Small Businesses and Community Groups and African American Cultural Preservation Events.
In addition to helping small Black businesses and entrepreneurs, the new funding will also provide legal support to small business tenants who suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as training, financial management and digital literacy support.