Avenue Greenlight is a new philanthropically funded community-driven initiative to promote the economic recovery and community revitalization of our commercial corridors throughout San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods. Avenue Greenlight will rapidly deploy privately resourced dollars to all 34 of the city’s individual merchant associations to support hyper-local, community improvement projects, leveraging the thought partnership of a variety of local public realm nonprofits for sustainability moving forward. Each merchant association will receive an initial $50,000 grant allocated by Avenue Greenlight working alongside the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations Community Fund as the 501(c)3 administrative partner.

The impetus for Avenue Greenlight came from an acknowledgment that while San Francisco neighborhoods are composed differently, together they make up a truly special place to live and work, and that the success of the small business community is tied to the success of San Francisco as a whole. Small businesses are reeling as a result of compounding issues, many accelerated by the public health crisis. Further, many merchant corridors may not have the resources or ability to establish Community Benefit Districts.

The ultimate goal of Avenue Greenlight is to uplift local small businesses to help them adapt and recover from the current challenges. Direct investments like these $50,000 grants with wraparound support will help catalyze new thinking for how residents envision their neighborhoods and result in improved safety, cleanliness, and community vibrancy and resiliency. Avenue Greenlight will serve as a platform for local engagement, not only generating new neighborhood projects but also telling the story of our neighborhoods while enabling residents to participate in shaping the fabric of our communities.

Avenue Greenlight funds can be used for a range of projects, including a merchant association establishing a 501(c)3 to provide infrastructure; developing beautification and public open space projects, parklets, public art installations, lightning, greening, growing the urban canopy, banners and crosswalk painting, environmental design; creating access to business growth capital, emergency funding for vandalism; conducting cleanliness surveys, sidewalk cleaning services, modern litter receptacles; expanding SafeCity community camera program and public safety ambassadors; and providing a funding base for a merchant association to leverage additional member dues, marketing and promotion for shop local activations.

Avenue Greenlight grants are based on diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations and recognize that working collaboratively across sectors San Francisco can meet the needs of its residents and if we all commit ourselves.