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Project News | January 13, 2021

U.S. Digital Response: Helping Deliver Vaccine Rollout Information

Recognizing the immense challenge for public health agencies across the country to provide timely information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations to the public, U.S. Digital Response has created a free, easy-to-deploy website template to meet this need. This communication platform can be set up in a few hours and is easy to update as information changes. This work was inspired by the success of U.S. Digital Response’s local elections website template, which was widely used during 2020 elections.

U.S. Digital Response Covid-19 Vaccine Template

Learn More Here

Renaissance Journalism: Executive Leadership Transition

Founder Jon Funabiki has retired from his position as Executive Director of Renaissance Journalism, 11 years after its inception. Former Deputy Director Valerie Bush has become the new ED as of January 1, 2021. Valerie is an accomplished journalist, nonprofit leader, and communications strategist who has been with Renaissance Journalism since 2010. Both Valerie and Jon are confident that Renaissance Journalism will continue to advance equity and social justice through journalism during this time when our country must address many of its greatest problems.

Looking ahead to the future of journalism in the U.S., Jon shares the words of Renaissance poet Langston Hughes:

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

Read Jon Funabiki’s Reflections Here

Read More About the Leadership Transition Here

SF Hep B Free – Bay Area: 2020 Overview

SF Heb B Free GoalSF Hep B Free – Bay Area had a successful 2020 despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic. They secured large-scale funding from the Peninsula Health Care District for a multi-year hepatitis B awareness, screening, and education campaign; worked with the National Task Force on Hepatitis B to create simplified primary care guidance; reached thousands of residents through radio shows in Cantonese and Mandarin; and hosted a virtual gala that raised over $50,000. SF Hep B Free recently published the first episode of their Living with Hep B series. In this episode, Executive Director Richard So speaks with former news anchor and hepatitis B advocate Alan Wang.

Watch the Episode Here

Community Initiatives: Paycheck Protection Program Update

CARES Act PPPCommunity Initiatives distributed a letter from our CFO, Carl Taibl, to all fiscally sponsored projects on January 12 detailing the status of our involvement with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). All necessary steps have been taken to follow the federal government’s loan forgiveness instructions for the PPP first draw. Community Initiatives has been informed a determination on forgiveness by the SBA could take several months. Community Initiatives will be submitting an application for the PPP second draw on January 13. Projects will be notified once any decisions have been made.

Board Member Highlight 

Betsy Block

Betsy BlockCommunity Initiatives Board of Directors Service: January 2021–present

Betsy Block begins her time with Community Initiatives’ Board of Directors this month. Betsy leverages her 25+ years of experience working with both individuals and organizations in every sector you can imagine to focus on capacity building for social sector organizations. Betsy’s unique approach brings all the tools of data & program evaluation in harmony with the heart and intuition-led world of coaching to increase the impact of results-driven organizations.

Betsy has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy and holds certifications as an Association Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation. Her published works include the Making Wise Decisions toolkit for selecting data systems (soon to be housed at Project Evident), a white paper on evaluation coaching for the Center for Evaluation Innovation, as well research for the Real Cost Measure with the United Ways of California. Betsy also serves on the board of the Oakland Triathlon Club and regularly teaches for the Mills College Public Policy Master’s program.

Betsy is a fifth generation Dallasite who has lived all across the U.S. She is a devoted athlete and has completed two half Ironman triathlons in the last few years, in addition to several shorter triathlons. Betsy currently lives in Oakland with her husband, Lawrence; beagle, Hutch; one-eyed mutt, Sandy; and seven-year-old son, Aiden. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and slowly improving her guitar skills.

Please let us know if your project makes the news! If you would like to learn more about our projects, please visit our projects page or email Stephanie at