Promoting Social Equity


Promoting social equity and environmental justice in regional planning requires the proactive engagement of community members who have traditionally been underserved and underrepresented in the planning process. Cities and communities with high concentrations of low income residents and minority populations, as well as federally recognized Native American tribes, have been identified as communities of concern.  Proactive engagement measures were put in place early in the planning effort for San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan to ensure meaningful and timely input from underrepresented groups in the region. The approach is part of the public involvement program for the Regional Plan.

Building trust with stakeholders in communities of concern is a crucial component in encouraging participation. Many of these communities have felt disenfranchised in the past and may be wary or unaware of how decisions are made in the planning process. To ensure meaningful public involvement and help bridge the gap between decision‐makers and traditionally under‐represented communities, SANDAG contracted with 14 community-based organizations from around the San Diego region to form a community‐based outreach network. The organizations are familiar to people in the communities, and they specialize in providing services to and engaging their populations. 

Our partners facilitated meaningful involvement with low‐income, minority, disabled, and senior populations, those with limited English proficiency, and other traditionally underrepresented communities and provided education about why San Diego Forward is important to them, and collected feedback that was used to refine the plan. 

Meet our partners:

Able-Disabled Advocacy

Partner Website

Able-Disabled Advocacy (A-DA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 that provides employment and training services to individuals with all types of disabilities and other barriers to employment. Able-Disabled Advocacy's mission is "to provide vocational skills training and educational advancement for youth and adults with disabilities and to assist them in finding employment and overcoming barriers to personal and financial self-sufficiency." A-DA’s main office is located in City Heights; additional offices are located at our Veterans Center in Central San Diego; at our Youth Center in Southeast San Diego; and in Chula Vista at the South County Career Center.

Area of influence: countywide

Project Manager: Marc Shaeffer,

Alliance for Regional Solutions

Partner Website

The Alliance for Regional Solutions (ARS) is a coalition of Northern San Diego County social service agencies, municipalities, the County of San Diego, United Way, educational entities, healthcare providers, other agencies, and philanthropic bodies working together to create practical solutions to emerging community needs. The purpose of ARS is to address the needs of regional infrastructure to provide a coordinated community-wide response to community issues.

Areas of influence: Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido

Project Manager: Marylynn McCorkle,

BAME Renaissance Community Development Corporation

Partner Website

BAME Renaissance Community Development Corporation (BAME CDC) was founded in 1995 by members of the Bethel Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church. BAME CDC strives to strengthen and revitalize one of San Diego’s most economically distressed communities, the Greater Logan Heights area. BAME CDC assists children, families, and seniors with programs that meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life. The organization’s mission is to promote and provide an opportunity for all sectors of the community to work collaboratively toward the goal of strengthening individuals, families, and neighborhoods through social and economic development. In accordance with this mission, BAME CDC offers an array of social services, programs, and community empowerment initiatives. 

Areas of influence: Greater Logan Heights (Stockton, Memorial, Grant Hill, Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, Barrio Logan, and Southeastern San Diego)

Project Manager: Marlen Salomon,

Casa Familiar

Partner Website

Casa Familiar is a community-based, non-profit organization founded in 1968 under the name of Trabajadores de la Raza, San Diego Chapter, to serve Spanish-speaking monolingual clients in the community of San Ysidro. Over the years, Casa Familiar’s services and target population have expanded to include all of South San Diego’s population. While area demographics virtually ensure that the majority of our clients continue to be Latino, Casa Familiar welcomes clients from all walks of life, regardless of race, ethnic background, national origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. Casa Familiar offers more than 50 programs spanning the areas of human services, community development, recreation services, technology, arts and culture, and education.  

Areas of influence: San Ysidro

Project Manager: David Flores,

Chula Vista Community Collaborative

Partner Website

The Chula Vista Community Collaborative (CVCC) draws together all sectors of the local community to develop coordinated strategies and systems that protect the health and safety of residents, develop economic resources, promote local leadership, enhance the environment, and contribute to the celebration of and respect for cultural diversity. The CVCC currently has more than 150 member organizations and 624 members. The CVCC acts as a platform from which to launch effective new initiatives to improve quality of life. The CVCC is the umbrella for a variety of programs and committees. The most notable infrastructure of the CVCC is the network of Family Resource Centers that have been created and sustained by collective effort. 

Areas of influence: Chula Vista

Project Manager: Maria Felix Torres,

City Heights Community Development Corporation and Mid-City Community Advocacy Network

Partner Website, Partner Website

Established in 1981, City Heights CDC works with residents to enhance the quality of life in City Heights through the creation of affordable housing and livable neighborhoods, fostering economic self-sufficiency and stimulating investment. Additional services: employment placement/training; neighborhood improvement; business assistance; Business Directory for City Heights/Mid-City. In the late 1980's, a group of concerned Mid-City community representatives came together to respond to the rapidly deteriorating conditions in the area. Now known as Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (Mid-City CAN), this unique collaboration is comprised of schools, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, youth, parents, ethnic and cultural groups, civic associations and faith-based institutions.

Areas of influence: City Heights

Project Managers: Randy Van Vleck, 

El Cajon Collaborative

Partner Website

Established in 1992, the El Cajon Collaborative is one of the oldest and strongest collaboratives in San Diego County. Currently, the Collaborative has an impressive list of 26 formal partners (health clinics, social services agencies, educational institutions faith communities, and government entities) whose target populations vary. Their goals include increasing pro-social activities for youth, community involvement through collaborative partnerships, and enhancing prevention activities for youth using the public health model of universal, secondary, and targeted interventions.

Areas of influence: El Cajon

Project Manager: Carol Lewis,

International Rescue Committee

Partner Website

International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an established San Diego community based organization that provides assistance to refugees and other low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds who typically are unable to access mainstream services due to cultural and linguistic barriers. The IRC has been a trusted organization since 1975, when it was first established to assist Vietnamese refugees in San Diego. The IRC is located in City Heights, but also offers services at the Refugee Support Center, IRC’s satellite office in El Cajon. Approximately 76 percent of the more than 7,000 clients that IRC serves each year reside either in City Heights or El Cajon.

Areas of influence: City Heights, El Cajon

Project Manager: Jamie Robertson,

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Partner Website

As a place-based operating foundation located at the center of southeastern San Diego and driven by a commitment to foster “resident ownership of neighborhood change,” JCNI has served as a catalyst for community revitalization through inclusive civic engagement since 1997. Our organization has committed the philanthropic resources of the Jacobs Family Foundation and public and private partners to work with teams of community stakeholders representing the diverse cultures, age groups, and economic interests of Southeastern San Diego.

Areas of influence: Southeastern San Diego (Encanto, Paradise Hills, Bay Terraces, Valencia Park, Lincoln Park, Skyline, Chollas View, Mount Hope,  Emerald Hills, Mountain View)

Project Manager: Beatriz Garcia,

Linda Vista Collaborative

Partner Website

The Linda Vista Collaborative (LVC) offers a forum for public deliberation among the stakeholders of Linda Vista and promotes collaboration among them with the goal of improving the quality of life of all its residents. The Linda Vista Collaborative (LVC) and its lead agency, Bayside Community Center (BCC), are well-established and trusted community assets with the ability to reach identified communities of concern in Linda Vista. Since its creation in 1995, the Linda Vista Collaborative has offered a forum for public deliberation among the key stakeholders of Linda Vista and promotes collaboration among them with the goal of improving the quality of life of all its residents. The Linda Vista Collaborative is integrated by community leaders, representatives of elected officials, members of non-profit organizations, staff of government agencies, school personnel and others who have a vested interest in advocating on behalf of Linda Vista.              

Area of influence: Linda Vista

Project Manager:  Kim Heinle,

Operation Samahan

Partner Website

Operation Samahan is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) founded by the Filipino community in 1973. Samahan is a Tagalog word which means “working together.”  It operates six clinic sites strategically located within the county of San Diego; two of which are school-based health centers situated within the school campuses of National City and City Heights. Operation Samahan’s mission is to promote better health and living conditions for all members of the community, particularly among indigent, low-income, uninsured, and underserved individuals and families, by providing high quality, affordable and culturally accessible primary and oral health care, integrative health, behavioral health, health promotion and education, and multi-faceted social services.

Areas of influence: National City, Lincoln Acres (unincorporated community within National City)

Project Manager: Victoria Salcedo,

Vista Community Clinic

Partner Website

Vista Community Clinic is a nonprofit healthcare facility incorporated in 1972 with the mission to provide quality care and health education to the community. It focusses on those facing economic, social, or cultural barriers. VCC’s Health Promotion Center was opened in 1990 to promote healthy lifestyles, reduce chronic disease, and increase the community’s well-being. Vista also partners with the North Coastal Prevention Coalition to reduce the harm of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs through community action, education, support, and collaboration.

Areas of influence: Vista, Oceanside, Fallbrook, Carlsbad, Bonsall, San Marcos, and surrounding unincorporated areas

Project Manager: Erica Leary,