Trustee: Quesada Gardens Initiative

San Francisco, CA

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
I live and work in a neighborhood that's rich with savvy makers, but relatively poor, financially and in other ways. From personal experience, I know that one small success with building the social, cultural and economic strength of an under-served neighborhood can have an enormous ripple effect. Kiva Zip holds the potential for many small successes, and for the creation of a more just and sustainable world.
What is the mission of your organization?
The Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community strength from the grassroots, up. By focusing on people instead of agendas, and strengths instead of problems, the organization grows the social cohesion necessary for improved health, a sustainable environment, and a more socially just and livable place. As a part of its community building mission, Quesada Gardens Initiative co-founded the Bayview Footprints Network of Community Building Groups, and maintains a community communications network which includes the neighborhood's longest-running blog, bi-weekly news that reaches thousands, and an online hub of community resources.
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
The Quesada Gardens Initiative, in the heart of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, has grown small acts of courage into an award-winning social change strategy. Beginning in 2002, with diverse grassroots involvement, it has generated a necklace of showcase gardens, gathering spaces and public art, and a network of hundreds of involved residents and thousands of volunteers and supporters. Quesada Gardens is a model of beauty, sustainability and social justice in a place once notorious for blight, and is a popular destination point for people who want to understand community transformation that starts with the people instead of blueprints.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
PeopleWearSF - Co-Founder, First-President (past) and Board Member (present). Trade association for the fashion and apparel industry in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. Bayview Footprints Network of Community Building Groups - Co-Founder and Organizer. It is a network of small community-based organizations and informal associations working together to share resources and tell a positive story about a maligned place. Bayview Merchants Association – Member under “Quesada Gardens General Store.”
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
I live and work in the neighborhood where the potential borrowers I would recommend also live and work. Quesada Gardens Initiative's strategic plan calls for the launch of a "General Store" for entrepreneurs who are designing and producing products in our part of the City, an exciting project that we are actively implementing. The due diligence we are doing through our network of highly-involved community members will ensure both the future success of the “General Store," and the strength of potential Kiva Zip borrowers I may recommend.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
Quesada Gardens Initiative's success over more than ten years is based in the mutual support of struggling people, the ethic of resource sharing, and the importance of consensus. The organization's track record is often cited as an example of how important informal social networks are to positive outcomes of all sorts, including economic vitality. This existing, supportive structure is the foundation for borrowers’ support as we develop the Quesada Gardens General Store, collectively, with many partners. Active technical assistance providers are already in place, including business planning support from a Hult International Masters School of Social Entrepreneurship, service-learning involvement from University of SF’s McCarthy Center on Policy and the Public Good, retail industry support from a recently-retired senior executive from Levi Strauss, seasoned apparel industry professionals associated with a trade association we helped found, and many hyper-local alliances forged over a decade of collaborative programming.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
Honestly, elevating most anyone in this neighborhood, with Kiva Zip or via any other strategy, is in itself a significant and positive social impact. Most families and communities of affinity within the neighborhood are greatly in need, and the community as a whole lags far behind the citywide rise in affluence and economic vitality. Quesada Gardens Initiative’s community building frame, which holds the vision of a sustainable and socially just place for people from all walks of life, ensures that borrowers who are not geared toward those goals simply won't make the cut. Examples of business plans that would not be of interest include those that call for local sales of products manufactured off-shore, and the development of a product that might harm the environment or the people who live here. Given the importance to our long term success of branding the business activity we are involved in as incorporating social impact, we are driven to ensure that potential borrowers we recommend will be prepared for business growth, as well as for being part of the effort to strengthen the neighborhood’s business and social infrastructure overall.

About Quesada Gardens Initiative

Trustee Type:
First Tier trustee
Facebook Linkedin
On Zip Since:
Jan 4, 2014
(31 months)
Loans Endorsed:
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Repaid in Full:
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