Alicia Hendaoui

Executive Assistant, People Team
Years at CZI 7
Gift Type Life of Service Gift

Carnaval San Francisco is an annual event and parade that has been going on in San Francisco’s Mission District for more than 40 years. Carnaval celebrates and honors Latino/Afro culture through music, art, dance, performance, and singing.

This year the Carnaval SF committee made a conscious decision to put the festivities on hold to help individuals and families that are economically impacted by the pandemic, specifically the Chicano Latino population living in the San Francisco Mission District. Together Carnaval SF and the COVID-19 Latino Taskforce established “The Hub” in the Mission District. I recently learned about their tremendous efforts through a family friend who shared that they benefited from The Hub’s food pantry service which now serves more than 7,000 Mission District individuals and families three times a week.

Even though Latinos only make up about 15% of the SF population, the pandemic crisis has significantly impacted the Latino population at a much higher rate. Many people benefiting from the task force efforts are essential workers that do not have the luxury to shelter in place, putting them, their families, and households at a higher risk of being infected. The need and demand have grown significantly that the task force recently expanded their efforts by setting up popup hubs in the Excelsior and Tenderloin districts. In addition, they are now providing individuals and families who are experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic with additional support, assistance, and resources. The taskforce also partnered with the SF Department of Public Health to offer COVID testing every Thursday and are also helping with rental assistance, income relief, and connecting families with distance learning support, in addition to different programs that are available to them.

The Mission District was a very important part of my life. I grew up surrounded by the richness and beauty of my Latino-Chicano culture, went to elementary and middle school there, and later worked in the community through my college years and beyond. As someone who worked and went to school in the Mission, I am not only touched by the efforts being made by Carnaval SF and the Latino Task Force but extremely proud and inspired by the continual leadership, dedication, and commitment of the community organizers, who consistently show up and engage the community to preserve our culture, language, traditions, and provide culturally competent services.

I learned about SF City Impact using the Benevity search field. After visiting their website and watching some of their campaign videos, I was deeply inspired by their compassion and dedication to serving those in most need. SF City Impact has been around since 1984, and they serve the Tenderloin District. I am a native San Franciscan, and as many know, the Tenderloin is one of the most vulnerable areas in the city inflicted by massive drug addiction, poverty, homelessness, and mental illness. The harsh life one sees on these streets, one can easily forget or overlook that there are children and families who live in this neighborhood. What I love about City Impact is that they serve the entire community, all ages. City Impact addresses poverty and hunger through its outreach services. From meals delivered and clothes donated to kids enrolled in their children’s programs, City Impact is doing outstanding work and making a HUGE IMPACT in the community. I am so happy I learned about SF City Impact. Check them out and the amazing work they are doing!

I believe in giving people, in particular youth and children opportunities to grow and learn while being inspired, motivated, and empowered to want and strive for the best in life no matter what their life circumstances are.

I also found the Next Steps Liaison Project when searching Benevity for youth empowerment programs in the Bay Area. I believe in giving people, in particular youth and children opportunities to grow and learn while being inspired, motivated, and empowered to want and strive for the best in life no matter what their life circumstances are. Next Steps Liaison Project offers trauma-informed, evidence-based programming services to youth detained in the San Francisco and Marin County Juvenile Halls. Next Steps believes that teaching kids to “do right” is a process that happens in the context of connection and requires ongoing opportunities for mastery. Through partnerships with local organizations, Next Steps looks to bridge youth to existing resources and services in efforts to redirect at-risk youth onto a path of becoming healthy young contributing adults in their communities. It is programs like Next Steps that open doors, make a change, and have an impact on individual’s lives while building community and trust through mentorship, positive role models, and leadership, and for that reason, I donated to them and their mission.

I was looking to be a part of something I could feel, see, and be inspired by, and I found it here at CZI.

I joined CZI in 2016 after spending more than 15 years in public service, primarily working with underrepresented, vulnerable, and at-risk populations in San Francisco’s Mission District. I wanted to continue my career in an organization that believes in purpose and meaning while encouraging change and empowerment for all. I also wanted to continue to be surrounded by compassionate and selfless people with similar values who believe in building community through dedication and a commitment to a Life of Service. I was looking to be a part of something I could feel, see, and be inspired by and I found it here at CZI. I was drawn to CZI’s Mission, A Future for Everyone.

The CZI Life of Service benefit is by far my favorite offered. I went into Benevity planning to donate to two organizations,  Huckleberry Youth Programs Inc., and the SF Foster Care Youth Fund, but after going down a rabbit hole in the search field (such a cool feature!), I split my Life of Service gift across twelve different organizations for which three are highlighted in this article. I was inspired by the stories of those directly impacted by these services and humbled by the people who work to support, empower, and serve some of our most at-risk and vulnerable children, youth, and families living in the Bay Area. I learned about so many incredible mission-driven organizations that it made it hard to narrow down my choices but in the end, it was such a rewarding and heartwarming feeling to give back in such a generous way. After making my donation elections, I closed my computer that night feeling really good about my donations while feeling very fortunate, and proud to be a part of our work at CZI and its mission, A Future for Everyone!

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative logo Live The Mission

Gifting amounts updated as of April 1, 2024