One year after the City approved the rebuild, an ILWU donation brings Booker T. Washington Community Service Center one step closer to breaking ground
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Coast Longshore Division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will present a $250,000 check to the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center in support of its rebuild project. Last June, after a long entitlements process, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to demolish and expand the Booker T. Washington Center’s existing 12,000 square-foot center to a 20,000 square-foot comprehensive community institution with two distinct components – residential and an expanded community center.
Unfortunately, one year after gaining the City’s approvals for its plans, Booker T.’s current facilities are still cramped, dilapidated, and functionally obsolete. The Center is still working to raise the final $1 million necessary to create a 21st century space to better provide pragmatic assistance and resources to San Francisco’s underserved communities.The Booker T. Washington Center launched as a resource for San Francisco’s African American population shortly after World War I. When it first opened its doors, it was responding to the lack of services accessible to African Americans. At the time, this included union membership. However, ILWU was always inclusive – this is how the initial bond between the two organizations was formed.
When the Officers of the ILWU Longshore Division heard of the rebuild project, they approached Pat Scott, Director of Booker T., with a check for $10,000. Ever the committed leader, Scott thanked the ILWU for the check, and then asked if they could do more.
“We were looking at a 2.5 million dollar challenge – a hole that needed to be filled before we could begin to break ground. The ILWU has always been supportive of Booker T., not only because of what we stand for, but because of who we serve. I knew that if given the challenge, they would rise to meet it. And without pause, they met the challenge,” said Scott.
San Francisco’s ILWU Local 10 brought a resolution to the Longshore Division’s annual Caucus asking it to donate $250,000 dollars into the project. Delegates representing 30 locals on the west coast unanimously approved the resolution. The $10,000 check became a $260,000 donation, and Booker T. found itself significantly closer to reaching its fundraising target.“The Booker T. Washington Center provides essential care and services for the people of the Western Addition and neighboring communities,” explained Leal Sundet, ILWU Longshore Division Coast Committeeman, “They have grand and achievable plans to provide 21st century resources to those most in need, but right now they’re struggling to do so with antiquated facilities. We had the capacity to help them close the gap, so we reached into our pockets and made an investment in San Francisco families and children.San Francisco is where our headquarters is and the City is our roots. We have members, both retired and active, that have utilized and been supported by Booker T.”
Plans for the new community center include approximately 48 new affordable homes for San Francisco families, transitional aged youth (18-24), and youth who have aged out of foster care. In addition to this residential component, the Booker T. Community center will also include a state-of-the-art gym, a youth center offering academic support, childcare, and technical training, and a new playground, garden and open space area.
Since its inception, Booker T. has maintained its tradition of serving the city’s underserved and underrepresented, and has become a cornerstone for children, seniors, families, and others in need of support.
About the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center
Founded in 1919 and incorporated in 1923, the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center has provided support for African American families since just after World War I. It has been an organizing force, and has responded to community needs with job training, after school and teen programs, recreation, emergency food, counsel on housing and health care, senior clubs and other programs.
Many of Booker T’s efforts were in response to Jim Crow segregation, discrimination in employment, disenfranchising black soldiers and their families after the First and Second World Wars, and the uprooting of black families through urban renewal. More recently Booker T. has expanded to serve local immigrants. Many are from the Middle East, Mexico, Russia and China.
- Tolu Lawrence, (415) 364-0000
- Jennifer Sargent, (503)703-2933