Calvary Task Force Selects Partners for Poverty-Fighting Initiative

The Calvary Presbyterian Poverty Task Force has selected New Door Ventures, Raphael House, the Boys & Girls Club (new Don Fisher clubhouse), and SF Achievers as our “focus” partners for breaking cycles of poverty over the next year.  Calvary will invest substantial “time, talent, and treasure” in these outstanding organizations as they provide needed educational, job-related, and affordable housing services to those seeking to leave poverty.

The 14-member Poverty Task Force spent four months collecting information about exemplary, effective organizations fighting poverty in San Francisco.  They studied websites, talked to people in and outside of Calvary, interviewed staff, looked at financial data, and made site visits.  Using standard questions and criteria, they analyzed the information and narrowed an initial group of over 30 nonprofits down to 25, then 10, and then – by the end of June – to the four named above.  Discussion was lively and enlightening!

Mark your calendars!  On Sunday, October 12, 11:30am to 1:00pm, there will be a lunch presentation by New Door Ventures and SF Achievers highlighting their work and volunteer opportunities.  And on Sunday, November 16, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Raphael House and Boys & Girls Club will present at a lunch meeting.  Come learn about the wonderful work these organizations are doing to break cycles of poverty in San Francisco, and how you can get involved.  Bring your questions!

New Door Ventures

Located in the Mission and Dogpatch/Potrero Hill, New Door Ventures helps “disconnected” youth ages 16 – 24 obtain job skills and work experience.  These youth are not in school or employed, and often have been homeless, incarcerated, foster children, and/or substance abusers.  Along with other support, New Door provides paid work experience at its own social enterprises (bike shop, apparel printing shop, and a planned technology business).  Volunteer tasks include resume review, conducting mock job interviews, sitting on career panels, tutoring for GED, providing work place internships, and marketing and development assistance.

 SF Achievers

SF Achievers helps low-income African American young men from San Francisco high schools attend and complete college by providing scholarships and mentors.  The organization also works in two SF high schools (Wallenburg and O’Connell) helping African American boys get ready for college.  This small, low-overhead organization can use help with mentoring through the college years, tutoring in high school, and financial support for college scholarships, and also has the potential for creative input related to programming.

Raphael House

A long-time partner of Calvary, Raphael House in the Tenderloin provides temporary housing and extensive educational and job related support to homeless families, with the goal of finding permanent housing and economic stability for their clients.  Volunteer tasks include tutoring school age children, assisting with art classes and field trips, cooking and serving dinners to the families, doing building upkeep projects, and assisting with holiday and special events.

 Don Fisher Boys & Girls Club 

This new branch of the Boys & Girls Club will open near the Civic Center/Western Addition in January 2015, providing academic support for children and youth ages 6 – 18, and job and college readiness for youth.  This branch will primarily serve low-income children and youth from the Western Addition.  Volunteer tasks include homework help and tutoring, teaching job readiness skills for youth, and college preparation (college research, applications, essay review, etc.).

The work of the Poverty Task Force was guided by research showing that, to break cycles of poverty, a person must have a good education, a good paying job, housing that is affordable, and access to affordable medical care.  The selected organizations focus on education (SF Achievers, Boys & Girls Club), job readiness (New Door Ventures, Boys & Girls Club), and housing plus education and job readiness (Raphael House).

Each of these organizations will receive $20,000 in funding from Calvary to support our partnership over the coming year.  During 2015, we will assess the success of our partnerships, looking at volunteer commitment, satisfaction of volunteers, impact we are having on the organization, and other factors.  If the partnerships are successful, Calvary intends to deepen its commitment to these organizations over the next several years – thus concentrating our mission efforts on breaking cycles of poverty.

If you have questions, please contact Betsy Dodd, head of the Poverty Task Force, at