For nonprofits like Leadership Council San Mateo County (SMC), the CZI Community Space has become a valuable hub for learning, community building and growth.
Renting monthly meeting space isn’t always financially feasible for Leadership Council SMC, a nonprofit that connects, inspires and educates local leaders through immersive training programs, education events and professional relationships. Using the Community Space free of charge has been critical in helping the organization lead its training sessions.
Leadership Council SMC hosted several events in the space last year, including San Mateo County’s inaugural Newly Elected Leaders Training for newly-elected city council and county district leaders. The event, the first of its kind in San Mateo County, included guest speakers Congresswoman Jackie Speier, County Chief Equity Officer Shireen Malekafzali, and Jefferson Union High School District Trustee Kalimah Salahuddin.
“To have access to a beautiful, warm and welcoming meeting space at no cost, was transformational,” says Margi Power, Co-President of Leadership Council SMC. “The ambiance of the space and the graciousness of the staff elevated our Learning Days. It was rated as one of the top spaces for our classes in 2022-23.”
Soon, more nonprofits like Leadership Council SMC will have an opportunity to convene and lead events in the Community Space as it becomes accessible to a larger number of change-makers and leaders in the region.
Community Programs Manager Jeremy Nguyen (middle) chats with attendees as they tour the CZI Community Space.
Attendees tour the CZI Community Space during an Open House on Jan. 18, 2024.
Community members snap a selfie in the CZI Community Space.
Community Affairs Programs Officer Alma Pulido chats with guests during an Open House in the CZI Community Space.
Guests chat in the CZI Community Space during an Open House on January 18, 2024.
Guests network and connect during an Open House at the CZI Community Space on January 18, 2024.
Community Programs Manager Jeremy Nguyen welcomes a community member to an Open House in the CZI Community Space.
Guests chat during an Open House in the CZI Community Space on January 18, 2024.
Starting this month, the CZI Community Space is expanding its programming to include events and meetings hosted by nonprofit organizations in San Mateo County, along with Redwood City and County government agencies. While the Community Space was initially open only to CZI grantees in San Mateo County, its shift to include all nonprofits and local government agencies will ensure that more nonprofits have access to host events in the space, advancing our mission to build inclusion, learning and healing.
“CZI’s vision for the space has always been to provide a safe, loving gathering space for our partners to learn and connect on deeper levels,” says Alma Pulido, CZI’s Community Affairs Program Officer. “We’re thrilled that the Community Space is now available to more community-based organizations and agencies and can’t wait to see the many learning opportunities, connections and memories that will be made in the space in the months to come.”
To commemorate Juneteenth last year, the County of San Mateo partnered with Redwood City Together and Cinequest to host a short film screening in the Community Space. The event — organized by Black leaders who had a powerful vision to commemorate the federal holiday — also featured a panel discussion, a youth spoken word artist, guest speakers, and the moving work of a local Black artist.
“Increasing access to this great resource will enable more organizations and communities to share information, resources, and convene in a space that is welcoming, supportive, and values aligned,” says Shireen Malekafzali, Chief Equity Officer for the County of San Mateo. “Many smaller organizations do not have access to a larger community-based space that is so well-resourced and accessible. Expanding access to the CZI Community Space ensures the reach of the opportunity is broadened to many who need it.”
CZI held an open house in the Community Space on January 18 to mark this milestone. To learn more about this program expansion and membership guidelines, please visit our website.
About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our communities. Through collaboration, providing resources and building technology, our mission is to help build a more inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.