The history of Richmond District Neighborhood Center is a testimony to the power of successful community activism. The Neighborhood Center was founded in 1980 as Richmond District residents rallied to save the former Lucinda Weeks School from demolition. Built in the 1920’s, the Spanish-style stucco buildings served as a maternity center and an orphanage. By the 1970’s, the buildings had fallen to gradual decay, and private developers planned to purchase the property to erect condominiums in its place.

Linda Fries, an artist who was raising two small children in the Richmond District at the time, was among the first to recognize the need for a community center. After learning about the plans for the new condo complex, she conducted a needs assessment of the neighborhood and discovered that there were more unmet needs for child care and other neighborhood services than any other district in the city. Residents banded together with Fries, established a non-profit organization, and secured a long-term lease from the property owner – the San Francisco Unified School District.

Since 1980, the Center has grown into a thriving, multi-purpose community center with programs serving all ages in the neighborhood. The center flourishes with children hard at play at the Cross Cultural Family Center, jazz music piping through the Community Music Center, families seeking an after school program, or teeming with people at our many events. Our mission is to nurture a diverse urban community by developing and providing high quality youth, adult, and family programs that address critical community needs and foster respect for all people and our environment.

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