Partner Spotlight: Booker T. Washington Community Service Center

Booker T. Washington Community Service Center (“BTWCSC”) has been caring for families in San Francisco for over 100 years. Originally established as a USO for African American soldiers during World War I, BTWCSC later became the gathering and organizing place for homecoming African American soldiers and their families. Our extensive history and a strong tradition of providing ongoing support services geared toward promoting the independence and self-sufficiency of families has evolved over the years.

We are the community-based organization that understands the needs of people at risk of homelessness firsthand. In 2017, BTWCSC opened its current 70,000 square foot mixed-use building consisting of a new community center (containing a childcare facility, youth programming space, recording studios, a gymnasium, and community space) and 50 units of service-enriched affordable housing, including 25 homes for youth transitioning from foster care.

For 100 years we have raised generations of community members, including the likes of Johnnie Mathis, Willie L. Brown Jr. and many, many others who have gone on to be phenomenal successes in life. On November 14, 2020 along with Former Mayor Willie Brown Jr., we will be celebrating our 100-year Anniversary with a gala celebration!

In honor of this incredible milestone the BTWCSC has put together a Host Committee comprised of current and past leaders who represent San Francisco including: Former mayors, Willie Brown Jr. and Art Agnos. Other community leaders that are serving on the host committee are London Breed, Rodney Fong, Board President of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Brenda Wright, Wells Fargo, Farah Makras, Former Senator John Burton, Makras Realty, and Jimi Harris Chief, Community Relations PG&E just to name a few.

This is a celebration, with many opportunities for our partners and sponsors to build a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship with BTWCSC. Event sponsors have the opportunity to reach thousands of San Franciscan’s including some of the most influential community, civic and business.

Who are we…

BTWCSC has been embedded in the lives of African Americans in San Francisco since 1919. During WWI it was called “The Victory Club”, an organization with social events, activities and services for African American soldiers during the war. At the end of WWI the staff felt a much needed community service would disappear, so a small group petitioned the government to turn the remaining funds over to them and began the long history of the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center which opened in 1920. With the expansion of services and programs, BTWCSC has grown to become a center for all.


What we do…

Throughout the course of its existence, the BTWCSC mission has been to support and maintain a healthy and vibrant community offering services and programs designed to reduce social, health, economic and education disparities that challenge the people we serve.

BTWCSC programs, services and advocacy result in a more vibrant community by increasing employment opportunities, improving high school graduation rates, reducing poverty and crime, and empowering families to thrive.

How we do it…

During our Youth Expanded Learning time (1:00pm – 6:00pm) we provide educational programming using evidence-based strategies intended to increase the amount of time students are learning, especially for the purposes of improving academic achievement and test scores, or to reduce learning losslearning gaps, and achievement gaps.

Chibi Chan Too Preschool, co-located at BTWCSC, supports a unique developmental stage. They introduce new concepts according to a child’s individual ability and age in a nurturing and stimulating environment for children ages 2 to 5 years old. Our curriculum is based upon a Project Approach, which is an in-depth investigation non a topic that is close to the children’s personal experiences and promotes sustained ,long-term interest in learning.

Elementary After-School programming for K-5th grade offer safe, nurturing and supervised environment while providing assistance with homework, financial literacy, recreational programs, music and art, educational and recreational field trips, tutoring, mentoring and spring, winter and summer day camps.

Success Academy Middle School strategies include an enriching environment for 6th-8th grade students. The program focuses on project-based learning and enrichment activities, homework assistance, tutoring, cooking, music and art, educational and recreational field trips, personal development coaching, and computer lab workshops including STEM and STEAM programming.

Success Academy High School 3:00pm – 7:00pm) is empowering teens to grow intellectually, socially, creatively and emotionally. During the school year teens participate in academic coaching, learn how to develop their leadership skills and build healthy relationships through community service and artistic and social events appealing to their interests.

Transitional Age Youth (TAY) is designed to serve young adults, ages 18-24, combating poverty, substance abuse, mental health and financial instability that have aged out of the Foster Care system or are facing homelessness. The biggest need for this population is mental health, skill development, employment and housing. We design our program to meet each individual person’s needs with critical case management, mentorship, training and resource referral.

Day Camps for youth, ages 4 – 16, are built on holistic programming focused on out of school learning loss, STEM and STEAM, health & wellness initiatives, mental and social development, empowerment and civic responsibility. Through our camps, BTWCSC is able to provide youth with programming, activities and unique opportunities for a reasonable cost and on a time frame that adapts to the multitude of working families within our area.

Other Programs

Senior Club offers a variety of activities for the senior community members (aged 55 and older) geared toward preventing loneliness and social isolation by providing mental stimulation, enhancing self-concept and supplying a creative and social outlet, in addition to providing nutritious lunches and snacks for those in need.

Housing with John Stewart Company, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center provides affordable housing for former foster youth.

Food Pantry is organized and staffed by our seniors. The pantry provides produce, bread, dry foods and canned goods to families in need.

Technology Skills Program is dedicated to inclusion in the growing digital movement. The program is designed to teach basic and advanced technology skills and increase the accessibility of technology to families and low-income members of our community.  We recognize the need for people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to have access to the digital world by having a home computer and acquiring technology skills as fundamental steps toward individual self-sufficiency, empowerment and employment.