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New Realities


NEW REALITIES: Nonprofit Public Policy Conferences

The San Francisco Human Services Network presents our fifth citywide public policy conference:

New Realities 5:

Developing a Nonprofit Policy Platform to Address Income Inequality in a Changing San Francisco
Thursday, October 29, 2015

New Realities 5 will bring together San Francisco's nonprofit health and human service sector and other community advocates to educate and engage leaders and workers in developing policy solutions to our City's income inequality crisis. We will examine key questions about people's ability to stay and thrive in San Francisco, and the challenges that threaten our sector's ability to maintain services for those who are most vulnerable in our rapidly changing City.

Solving the problems created by income inequality will require a broad range of government policy interventions to create affordable housing, protect neighborhoods and communities, develop community space, proactively approach economic development with employment training and opportunities, and create land use policies that protect diverse employment sectors. The human service and healthcare sector – including nonprofits – plays a significant role as a job generator, but government has failed to address the needs of our sector, such as job training partnerships, regular inflationary adjustments in nonprofit contracts, balancing the scales of nonprofit pay levels, and skyrocketing rents.


SPREAD THE WORD: Invite your staff, Board and others.
New Realities flyer

Links to background articles

Keynote speaker: Stephen Levy is Director and Senior Economist of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE) in Palo Alto. CCSCE is a private research organization founded in 1969 to provide an independent assessment of economic and demographic trends in California. He speaks frequently before public and private groups and has a reputation for being frank, provocative as well as serious and non-partisan.

Event details: Join us on Thursday, October 29 from 8:30 am to 2:15 pm at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St. (x-Geary).

8:30 am: Registration, refreshments and networking

9:30 am: Welcoming keynote and overview of the day, Jon Osaki, Japanese Community Youth Council

9:45 am: Keynote address by income inequality expert, Stephen Levy, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

Improving the Prospects for Low and Moderate Wage Workers: One Approach to Reducing Poverty and Inequality

10:10 am: Panel Discussion: What are the Impacts of Income Inequality in San Francisco, as Viewed through Different Lenses: Agency, Client, Workforce, and the City?

  • Moderator: Lateefah Simon, Rosenberg Foundation
  • Agency: Jacob Moody, former Executive Director, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation
  • Client: Camile Richard, Associate Director, SF YouthWorks
  • Workforce: Conny Ford, SF CLOUT (Community. Labor. Organizing. Unifying. Together)
  • The City: Tim Redmond, Editor, 48 Hills

11:30 am: Keynote by HSN Co-Chair Steve Fields, Progress Foundation: The Role of San Francisco's Nonprofits: Uniting as Public Policy Leaders in Times of Crisis

11:50 am: Lunch will be provided.

Our caterer for lunch and morning refreshments is Hayes Valley BakeWorks – a nonprofit social enterprise affiliated with ToolWorks. This bakery and café employs and trains people with disabilities and those who are homeless or at-risk. Their café is located at 550 Gough St.

12:30 pm: Breakout sessions: Brainstorming Public Policy Solutions: Addressing the Problems Created by Income Inequality

  • Changing the Relationship between Government and Nonprofits: Can nonprofits survive in S.F.? – Group leaders Bruce Fisher and Jackie Jenks
  • Securing A Multi-Year Commitment from Government: The Ballot
    – Group leaders Calvin Welch and Gail Gilman
  • Building the Nonprofit Workforce: Government and Nonprofit Strategies to Create a Sustainable Workforce
    – Group leaders Brett Andrews and Kelly Dearman
  • Mobilizing the Nonprofit Sector: Marshalling Our Collective Resources and Influence
    – Group leaders Kristin Growney-Yamamoto and Jon Osaki

1:45 pm: Setting the Stage for our 2016 Policy and Action Agenda: Reconvene and report


Accessibility: For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, please contact Debbi Lerman at (415) 668-0444 or Please provide two weeks advance notice if possible.

Support for New Realities 5: The San Francisco Human Services Network thanks our conference funders, Kaiser Permanente and The San Francisco Foundation.


Thanks to their support, early conference fees are only $30 per participant through October 19, increasing to $40 on October 20. A very limited number of hardship scholarships are available on a first-come first-served basis, maximum one per organization; please send inquiries to

The early bird rate has been extended one more day. The conference rate will go up on Wednesday, October 21!
However, if your organization is a current member of HSN, please contact us for a member discount code.

The First Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 1187 Franklin St. (x-Geary). Several MUNI bus lines stop nearby (38, 38R, 47, 49, 90). Street parking is limited. See for nearby parking lots, including the Sutter Place Garage 1355-1375 Sutter St. (x-Van Ness).

The San Francisco Human Services Network (HSN) is an association of about 80 community-based health and human service nonprofit agencies, united as a public policy organization to address issues that impact health and human services for vulnerable populations. Since 1998, we have brought an invaluable nonprofit perspective to the development of major policy initiatives.

Our accomplishments and ongoing efforts include:

  • Local budget advocacy to strengthen funding for community-based organizations that serve our City's most vulnerable populations;
  • Playing a proactive role on legislative and administrative issues to support and sustain a vibrant nonprofit community;
  • Organizing four previous citywide nonprofit public policy conferences;
  • Maintaining an ongoing dialogue with city officials and departments, representing the concerns, needs and opinions of our diverse nonprofit community; and
  • Informing and mobilizing our members through meetings, email updates, and our website at

HSN is a project of Community Initiatives. For more information, email or call (415) 668-0444.

New Realities Endorsers:

The following organizations have endorsed this conference:
(List as of October 8, 2015):

  • Chinese for Affirmative Action
  • Coalition of Agencies Serving the Elderly (CASE)
  • Coalition on Homelessness
  • Coleman Advocates
  • Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO)
  • HIV/AIDS Providers Network (HAPN)
  • Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association (HESPA)
  • People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER)
  • San Francisco Asian Pacific Islander Council (API Council)
  • San Francisco Association of Mental Health Contractors
  • San Francisco CBO Workforce Coalition
  • San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium
  • San Francisco Food Security Task Force
  • Supportive Housing Providers Network
  • Tenderloin Hunger Task Force


HSN has spearheaded four previous citywide public policy conferences that have united and educated the nonprofit community.

New Realities 4: Nonprofit Health and Human Services in San Francisco: Building a Unified Movement for Surviving and Thriving, July 9, 2010

For much of the last decade, public sector funding for health and human services for our most vulnerable residents has been consistency reduced. While these reductions have directly affected the nonprofit sector, they have also affected the very capacity of government itself to meet critical human service needs. These cuts have been of such size and duration that we now face a qualitatively different reality of the future relationship between government, nonprofits and the continuing needs of the people we serve.

If this was simply a public funding problem, albeit severe, then it would be a question we have often struggled with and generally know how to address. But what we now face is a profound shift in the capacity of government to continue functioning in any recognizable form. This creates a new challenge for those of us who must depend upon state and local government not only for funding, but for policies and programs to address the constantly changing needs of the people, now and in the future.

Inherent in this new reality are profound changes for our system of care, our workforce, our organizational capacity, and our very role in the city.

How do we affect public policy towards vulnerable populations when the very capacity of government to respond is in question? What new courses of action, tactics, alliances and allies do we need in this period of rapid shrinkage of the public sector? How do we revitalize and reinforce a service delivery system that truly meets the needs of all San Franciscans?

We need to come together and agree on a set of locally actionable proposals to strengthen the system of care for our most vulnerable neighbors, and place them before local decision makers in the public and private sectors. Join the San Francisco Human Services Network for New Realities 4 on June 18, as we develop our action plan for the next five years!

2010 Community Congress: A New Deal for the City!,
August 14-15, 2010

On August 14-15, the San Francisco Human Services Network will come together with affordable housing, economic development, and MUNI / public transportation leaders to convene a Community Congress at the University of San Francisco.

In each of the four major issue areas, leaders held a recent event to develop actionable policy recommendations that the city could implement in the next few years. The Community Congress will bring together these community activists, residents, workers, artists and thinkers to create a progressive vision for the future of San Francisco. The impetus is to bring people together in a way that moves us beyond our particular "silos" and areas of specific concern to create a more unifying policy agenda and shape the priorities of city officials.

We have an incredible opportunity this weekend to create a new set of relationships and creative, inspiring, economically and socially just policy ideas to lead our city forward. Please get involved!


New Realities 3: Building a Healthy Human Service Partnership for San Franciscans, October 24, 2001

HSN's third New Realities conference built on the dialogue and initiatives from previous years to develop concrete steps for improving the partnership between nonprofit human service agencies, the City and the philanthropic community. The conference provided an opportunity to examine the underlying issues and the necessary components of a healthy partnership - a relationship that enables all parties to meet San Francisco's human service needs efficiently and to collaborate effectively. New Realities 3 was HSN's largest conference to date, attracting a sell-out crowd of over 400 attendees.


New Realities 2: Critical Public Policy Issues for San Francisco Nonprofits, June 23, 2000
New Realities 2, which drew over 350 people, focused on nonprofits' major concerns in dealing with the City including contracting, city budgeting, performance evaluations, and the impact of the Bay Area economy on nonprofits.

New Realities 1: Critical Public Policy Issues for San Francisco Nonprofits, May 25, 1999
The first New Realities conference brought together over 250 senior nonprofit staff, foundation officials, and City policymakers to discuss nonprofit advocacy, sunshine legislation, unionization and living wage issues.
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