I hope you and your family and friends are well! We have been and continue to be in a challenging season of COVID-19, Presidential Elections, and Socio-Economic Discord. For many, including me, it is not easy to fathom our current circumstances and to determine how the Urban League of San Diego County (ULSDC) can best meet the changing needs of the communities we serve. I have consulted with our partners, funders, and community leaders to better understand the current socio-economic landscape and to ascertain the root of people’s desires and discomforts.
The purpose of this letter is to thank you for your past support, to update you on our programs and accomplishments over the past year, to share with you our vision for the future, and to invite you to schedule a call with our leadership team to get your thoughts on current and future ULSDC programs and advocacy. We are blessed to have an active and engaged Board of Directors, dedicated volunteers, and talented and professional staff.
We know that many of our families are dealing with the pervasive impacts of COVID-19 on the economy and on the health and safety system that deliver vital services, as well as the direct impact of COVID-19 on their employment, the education of their children, and their ability to sustain housing and support their families. During these times of COVID-19, the Urban League of San Diego County has shifted its priorities and program delivery systems to be an anchor in the community and help provide individuals and families in our network with important information, counseling, coaching, and group education that can get them through these tough times. We are especially concerned with individuals and families that fall into the very low and low-to-moderate-income levels, work on the front lines and are directly impacted financially and emotionally by COVID-19. Here are a few examples of the changes we have made:
The housing department has added rental assistance to its primary focus under housing and preparing for forbearance and foreclosure counseling.
Employment services has temporarily moved from serving the reentry population to providing services to people impacted by COVID-19.
Community outreach and civic engagement has been augmented by a virtual network series called Urban Master Class Network Series.
ULSDC program services have also experienced challenges and setbacks arising from COVID-19:
Two County of San Diego contracts totaling over $300,000 has been suspended.
The Golden Pyramid education excellence program has been suspended.
Homebuyer services have been curtailed and pivoted to a virtual platform.
Here’s a brief summary of direct services delivered by category: 1) Family Services – our case managers provide child welfare counseling, wellness check-ins for more than 411 individuals and families, 2) Housing Services – our HUD-approved housing counselors provided assistance and coaching for 350 clients; 3) Senior Care – our case manager provided health support to 102 elderly clients, 4) Employment Services – case managers placed 200 individuals in jobs at or above living wage; and, 5) Education Project Ready – served 51 high school students, with a college-going rate of 98%. Our advocacy efforts have reached over 1200 direct and indirect touches using social media and public relations tools.
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads its local affiliates’ efforts through the development of programs, public policy research, and advocacy. Today, the National Urban League has 90 affiliates serving 300 communities in 37 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide. Each affiliate is embedded in the social and political fabric of their communities through:
- The National Urban League programs and services they offer
- The local influence of their CEO, Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers
- The Guild, Young Professionals, and community service
Each affiliate has an open-door policy, is solution-oriented, and is focused on helping our communities, clients, and accomplish their goals. Our work not only shapes the communities we serve, but we grow in the process, and we cannot do it without you.
Urban League of San Diego County (ULSDC), located in the City of San Diego, is an affiliate of the National Urban League (NUL).
The Urban League Movement, under the leadership of the NUL, was started in 1910 as a civil rights organization to address the challenges of Black Americans to achieve economic and social justice, especially related to employment, during a period of tightening segregation and racial oppression.
The ULSDC, which recently celebrated its 67th anniversary, is one of 90 nonprofit Urban League affiliates providing employment, housing, education, and health services to low-and-moderate income individuals and families. The ULSDC focuses on improving the financial achievements of clients through integrating employment, education, and financial coaching. Asset building is a primary objective, with the end goal of homeownership. The focus for youth clients is education and degree attainment. Specific client categories served included: families from at-risk environments, reentry, opportunity youth, and seniors.
Signature programs include Project Ready, College Access; Ignite Your Future, Integrated Services; EMASS, and Housing and Financial Capabilities.
Geographic Areas Served
We primarily serve the County of San Diego with arms that extend to the Inland Empire, Riverside, Orange County, and Imperial County. This includes the Promise Zone and San Diego Opportunity Zones. The target population includes individuals and families from low to moderate-income levels, diverse clients from under-served, underrepresented populations within San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and Imperial Counties who have been impacted by COVID-19. The Urban League focuses on Urban Core segments of the community characterized by modest incomes, lower levels of educational attainment, and older housing stock.
Vision for the Future
As the President and CEO of the Urban League of San Diego County, I can share that we want to see change for the better for all Americans. COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the divided political landscape demonstrate that there is much work to be done in meeting the economic and social expectations of Americans from all walks of life. Many Americans are increasingly challenged by the economic impact that technological trends, like artificial intelligence (AI), and automation are having on employment opportunities. Socially, communities across the nation are facing an opioid pandemic, that 10 to 20 years ago, was largely concentrated in urban centers among minority populations.
As this country becomes more economically stratified, there is a convergence of experiences across racial lines. Issues like quality education, college access, employment opportunities, homeownership, income and wealth inequities, and community-police relations will be mainstream issues and the Urban League Move and your San Diego County Urban League are already at the forefront. In addition to our regular program services, an increased emphasis is being placed on:
- Public education around socioeconomic, public policies and their impact on the communities we serve;
- Social justice advocacy, especially in addressing disparities in income and wealth and access to quality education;
- Removing barriers to employment for the formerly incarcerated adults and youth low-to-moderate income levels; and,
- Homelessness to get people off the streets and into productive lives.
I hope that this information serves as an update on activities at the Urban League of San Diego County. Feel free to contact me directly at 619.266.6257 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your questions, and advise ways to partner with us during this season of COVID-19, Elections Aftermath, and Social Unrest. We look forward to hearing from you soon. Please know that your feedback is vital to our success.
President and CEO
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