Mayor Breed Celebrates Start of HBCU Summer Program, Welcomes Scholars to San Francisco

A cohort of 60 scholars begin working, living, and learning in San Francisco today as a first step in the Mayor’s broader strategy to bring an HBCU satellite campus to the City
June 17, 2024

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today welcomed the inaugural cohort of Historically Black College & University (HBCU) students to San Francisco as part of the City’s new Black 2 San Francisco (B2SF) initiative. This unique summer educational program, managed by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC), is part of the Mayor’s 30 x 30 initiative, which will bring 30,000 residents and students to live, work, and study in Downtown by 2030. 

As part of B2SF, a cohort of the Mayor’s Opportunities for All career exploration program, 60 scholars, primarily undergraduate students from across 20 HBCUs, will spend their summer in San Francisco living, learning and working. Participating institutions include Tuskegee University, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, and Howard University School of Law. 

“We have created a program to elevate San Francisco’s premier education institutions and make our City a more diverse and inclusive place, and it’s with great joy that we welcome the first cohort of HBCU students to San Francisco this summer,” said Mayor London Breed. “This initiative connects HBCU students to industry leaders and opportunities for hands-on learning and can serve as a model to the rest of the country for how we can create sustaining partnerships. I am also pleased to see all the ways B2SF sustains our City’s goals to enliven Downtown, educate the next generation of leaders, and encourage new residents to lay down roots in San Francisco.” 

During this six-week session, B2SF scholars will spend time engaging in lectures and workshops around a variety of relevant subject areas and will work in paid internship placements across more than 30 City & County of San Francisco departments, including the District Attorney’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, the Fire Department, the Arts Commission, the Controller’s Office, and the Recreation and Parks Department.  

The students will also have the opportunity to engage in a variety of cultural and recreational activities in San Francisco, including a walking tour of the Fillmore District, Chinatown, volunteer service engagements at Glide Memorial Church in the historic Tenderloin District and at Third Baptist Church in the Western Addition, a visit to Alemany Farm to experience urban farming initiatives in one of the City’s southeast neighborhoods, and an exploration of Balmy Alley and other Mission District landmarks. B2SF scholars and partners, including participating City & County of San Francisco department staff, will also be hosted at Lawrence Livermore Labs, among a number of other regional engagements during the summer. 

“Today is the result of intentional collaboration and hard work between many stakeholders,” said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the City department leading and coordinating Mayor Breed’s B2SF initiative. “Interest in this opportunity quickly outpaced original expectations during the application process. Instead of offering a pilot cohort for 20 students this summer as planned, we have scaled up B2SF to welcome 60 scholars to San Francisco. After weeks and months of working with our scholars, our anchor HBCU administrators and educators, our local industry collaborators, and our City department colleagues, we are thrilled today to be welcoming the students to their summer in San Francisco.” 

B2SF is a public-private-nonprofit partnership involving San Francisco stakeholders, including the University of San Francisco, community-based organization Collective Impact, San Francisco Foundation, Genentech, LinkedIn, and Accenture, who are providing philanthropic support as well as hosting the scholars for events and activities. 

Scholars are residing in University of San Francisco (USF) student housing and attending daily courses at the University’s Downtown Campus on Howard Street. B2SF and this innovative HBCU collaboration engagement kicked off in February, when Mayor Breed announced and launched the efforts, welcoming philanthropic, educational, industry, and community partners to the City to collaborate and build out this programming. 

This cohort of B2SF scholars is the first phase of the initiative, which aims to launch a satellite partnership with several HBCUs, including a physical location and a full suite of academic and professional programming. The B2SF initiative will help increase access to professional development and career opportunities in San Francisco for HBCU students and will allow San Francisco youth to engage locally with HBCU programming. It will also increase the recruiting talent pool for San Francisco employers and foster new programmatic partnerships for our higher education institutions. 

“The City Attorney’s Office is thrilled to participate in this program and host legal interns from HBCUs this summer,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “By establishing these relationships with HBCUs, we are able to expand our network of talented legal professionals and ensure our office and the legal profession reflect the diversity of our society.” 

“I would like to give a warm welcome to the HBCU scholars and look forward to working with and getting to know them this summer,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “I am confident that by the end of the summer when they head back home, they will leave their hearts in San Francisco and will make plans to return, to be part of the next wave of innovation, add their talents to our dynamic local economy and our collective efforts to grow our city and advance public safety for all.” 

“This program is a true win-win for both these scholars and San Francisco's economic recovery,” said Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Director of the Office of Economic. and Workforce Development. “By activating space at San Francisco Centre, increasing foot traffic on Downtown streets, and inviting new bright minds to take part in San Francisco's world-renowned innovation economy, this initiative represents an important step forward in achieving the Mayor's 30x30 vision for the future of downtown as a dynamic and active destination and neighborhood.” 

B2SF brings more than educational and community benefits; the program will also advance economic recovery goals as part of the Mayor's 30x30 initiative by activating space and increasing foot traffic in Downtown. In addition to USF’s Downtown Campus, B2SF and Opportunities for All will deliver programming within San Francisco Centre’s work and event spaces on Market Street, including the Dome and Bespoke. 

This summer, the students will work on a myriad of projects focused on community engagement and research to improve service delivery and provide recommendations for best practices to advance community health and well-being. Dr. Jarrod Lockhart from Morehouse Medical School is leading a group of HBCU and local students in a participatory research project focused on mental health. The Office of the Treasurer Tax Collector is hosting an intern focused economic and food security, while the Human Rights Commission interns are participating in reading camps and sharing insights on community perspectives on the state of education.  

“We are thrilled to partner with the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) initiative this summer in the city of San Francisco. This significant milestone aligns with the mission of Morehouse School of Medicine, which is dedicated to promoting equity and elevating community-engaged and centric spaces that uplift communities of color,” said Dr. Jarrod Lockhart, Morehouse School of Medicine. “By providing a nurturing environment where students can thrive, it cultivates the next generation of leaders, scholars, and change-makers who will continue to champion equity and social justice. Bringing an HBCU to San Francisco will not only enrich the educational landscape but also create vibrant, community-centered spaces where everyone, particularly people of color, can flourish.” 

At the end of the program a select group of students will share their findings at the San Francisco Foundation with local and regional stakeholders. Additionally, all participants will share out their work and findings at a closing program on July 26.   

"I wanted to be a part of this program because it gives me a tremendous opportunity to experience San Francisco and really immerse myself into the issues of the law, government. and politics that are relevant to this historic city," said Zacharie St-Hubert, Rising Second-Year Student at Howard University School of Law

"I wanted to come to SF and participate in this program because of the important issues that the municipal government here has to handle and the importance of the Black community here. The truth is that there are very few Black people who are lawyers and so I thought that I could bring my talents to a very important city to not only strengthen the Black community, but to also be an example for the young black children in the community that they, too, can become law students and eventually lawyers," said Samuel Rhymes, Rising Third-Year Student at Howard University School of Law

"The opportunity to learn from and receive mentorship from experienced attorneys from a wide variety practice groups at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office were just too good to pass up on," said Paul Nnaji, Rising Second-Year Student at Howard University School of Law

"I saw The Black to San Francisco program as a great opportunity to learn more about the history of this city and a great way to be a part of a movement of supporting black culture, and black professionals within San Francisco," said Kolby Tate, Rising Second-Year Student at Howard University School of Law