Eight years ago, a cohort of agencies from all sectors came together around a single mission: to build truly resilient neighborhoods that could withstand stress of any kind at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

Inspired by stories from New Orleans, New York City, and Christchurch, New Zealand, this cohort—soon branded the Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN)—set out to create a system to support communities as they craft and implement resilience strategies. The NEN hopes this bottom-up approach would restore communities’ rightful ownership of this important mission, reversing the long-standing trend of top-down control of disaster management.

The NEN Method

The NEN leverages strategic partnerships to develop programs, tools, and technical resources that neighborhood stakeholders can utilize as they build thriving communities well-positioned to navigate times of stress.

Member Organizations & Partners

Organizationally sponsored by the San Francisco General Services Agency and the Department of Emergency Management, the NEN is a collaborative comprised of community organizations, city agencies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions.

NEN Executive Steering Committee

Gerald Eisman

Director, Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Since the mid-90s, Gerald’s work has focused on how the knowledge processes of the university can combine with the knowledge assets of communities to generate new knowledge that has direct impact on community needs. In 1998, he became the Community Service-Learning Director, expanding the program into 43 departments of the University, and from 2004 to 2006, he served as the first Service-Learning Faculty Scholar in the California State University Office of the Chancellor. In May 2008, he became director of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE).

David Gershon

Founder and CEO, Empowerment Institute

David is one of the world’s leading authorities on behavior change and large-scale transformation. His clients range from large organizations and cities to social entrepreneurs and small businesses. He has addressed issues from organizational talent development to environmental behavior change, from emergency preparedness to low-income neighborhood revitalization.

He is the author of many books, including the best-selling “Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It”, “Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds” and “Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World”.

David co-directs the Empowerment Institute Certification Program, a school for transformative change leadership. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT, and Duke Universities and served as an advisor to the Clinton White House and United Nations on sustainability and behavior change issues.

Michael Pappas

Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council

A formerly ordained priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, Michael has served parishes in Palos Hills, IL; Stockton, CA; and San Francisco.

During his 14-year ministry, Michael was been a prolific writer, contributing articles to numerous religious and secular periodicals. He has also devoted energy to work with the homeless and furthering ecumenical/interfaith relationships. After stepping down from active ministry in 2004, he became Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

Michael is father of two sons, George and Paul, and one daughter, Julia.

John Power

Executive Director, The Volunteer Center

As Executive Director of The Volunteer Center, which serves San Francisco and San Mateo counties, John leads an organization that has for over sixty years nurtured long-standing relationships among the Bay Area’s business, government, nonprofit, and volunteer communities.

An avid volunteer, John is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin, and on the statewide Volunteer Centers of California Board.

NEN Community Steering Committee

Erick Arguello

President – Lower 24th Street Merchant and Neighborhood Association

Foster Weeks

Board Member – Clementina Cares, Inc.

Glen Hatakeya

President – Mission Extension Triangle Neighborhood Association

Jane Martin

Founder – PlantSF

Jed Lane

Founder – Friends of Miraloma Park

Judith Berkowitz

President – Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods

Leela Gill

President – North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association

Marc Christensen

Vice President – Mission Extension Triangle Neighborhood Association

Morgan Fitzgibbons 

Member – The Wigg Party

Ron Miguel

Planning Association of the Richmond

Steve Adams

President – Merchants of Upper Market and Castro

Vallie Brown

Lower Haight Ashbury Merchant and Neighborhood Association
Contact the NEN

For more information about the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, please contact Daniel Homsey, Director of Neighborhood Empowerment Network.


Email: daniel.homsey@sfgov.org

Phone: (415) 554-7114

Main Office: 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 401 San Francisco, CA 94102