In 1991, San Franciscans voted to amend the city charter setting aside 3% of local property tax revenues each year to fund vital services for children, youth, and their families. This historic legislation made San Francisco the first city in the country to guarantee funding for children each year in their city budget. Since then, the Children and Youth Fund has been renewed twice, once in 2000 and another time in 2014, now with a tenure of 25 years guaranteeing these funds until 2039.
In the 2014 renewal, the set aside was increased to 4% and the The Service Providers Working Group (SPWG) was created as a mandate of the legislation. The legislation outlined that the purpose of the SPWG is to advise DCYF’s Oversight and Advisory Commission (OAC) on funding priorities, policy development, the planning cycle, evaluation design and plans, and any other issues of concern related to the Children and Youth Fund established in Charter Section 16.108, or the responsibilities of the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families ("DCYF") or other departments receiving monies from the Fund.
Today, the SPWG is a membership driven organization made up of individuals who believe in building a more equitable and supportive San Francisco for children, youth, and their families. All of our members work in the youth development field in San Francisco, many of which also have children of their own. Our members serve in a variety of different positions in the field including direct service providers, Executive Directors, Program Managers, and more. We leverage our members’ expertise and lived experiences to inform our day to day priorities, strategies, and efforts.
Our mission is to elevate the needs of San Francisco youth and families who rely on community-based organizations for services. We do this by (1) supporting the welfare of the nonprofit workforce that serves San Francisco youth and families and by (2) advising DCYF’s OAC on issues pertaining to the Children and Youth Fund (CYF).
While our foundational purpose of advising the OAC to uplift the voices of youth and families remains the same, our mission and priorities have expanded to address the current workforce crisis. We know that a healthy workforce is key to cultivating healthy communities. When nonprofit workers are paid unsustainable wages, the result is record high job vacancies, low retention rates, and high turnover as we are seeing today. This in turn causes a degradation of the social services network and reduces capacity to the detriment of the youth and families who need services the most. Therefore, a key need of our youth and their families is to address the needs of the workforce that serves them.
For the past nine years, the SPWG has been volunteer-led with little funding to support the infrastructure and day-to-day operations of the group. In that time we have achieved a lot and successfully partnered with DCYF and the OAC in various capacities including the Community Needs Assessment, the Service Allocation Planning process, the Children's First Stakeholder Engagement process, and more. One of our more notable projects was a Wage Equity analysis comparing city workers to nonprofit workers for comparable positions. In this analysis, we found that on average city workers make 47% more than nonprofit workers for comparable work. This analysis was a catalyst to our work in raising awareness about wage inequity in the field which included presentations to various city departments and committees as well as private foundations. We are proud of our accomplishments but our capacity has been limited.
In 2023, we received grant funding to support our Wage Equity efforts. These funds are dedicated to support a full-time staff member, the development of our infrastructure, and our strategic planning process as it pertains to Wage Equity. In Year 1 of our Strategic Plan, the SPWG has identified 5 goals.