In December 2017, Southeastern San Diego’s Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation added three new members to the board—all of whom are current residents of the area being served by the nonprofit. This unique twist on a traditional board structure exemplifies the Jacobs Center’s commitment to fulfilling their mission to improve the neighborhood of Southeastern San Diego with the help and input of residents.
This work is held up by three pillars of focus: physical redevelopment, education to careers and the local economy. The first refers to the revitalization of 60 acres owned by the Jacobs Center. Projects work to address what has kept the physical area from thriving. This includes plans for public gathering spaces, access to work and transit and enhancing the community’s identity through placemaking.
Education to careers addresses the Jacobs Center’s belief that economic prosperity cannot be achieved by constructing buildings alone. Initiatives focused on youth unemployment, arts education, third grade literacy and more work to reduce the discrepancy between the San Diego unemployment rate and that in Southeastern San Diego, which is more than three times as high in certain neighborhoods.
Finally, programs that foster the local economy attract and retain businesses and talent to support a more inclusive economy for all residents. One such program, Connect All at the Jacobs Center, a diversity-focused business accelerator, is opening in mid 2018. This program is funded with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego.
“We are poised for redevelopment that not only enhances the physical property but also improves family sustaining opportunities,” said Jacobs Center President and CEO Reginald Jones. “We are excited about the new business accelerator program that will help create new emerging businesses and support the economic development of Southeastern San Diego.”
The Jacobs Center will create the new co-working space at their Southeastern San Diego facility. Connect, a pillar of San Diego’s entrepreneurship community and one of the nation’s first startup accelerator programs, will operate the new program.
The Jacobs Center hopes the new accelerator will serve as a model for communities across the county hungry for the same resources as more established entrepreneurship hubs.