2019 Livability Awards Brunch & Summit

Sunday, July 14, 2019
The Chapel, 777 Valencia Street
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Taking place during Sunday Streets Mission at The Chapel on Valencia Street, the 2019 Livability Summit & Awards Brunch is your chance to see Sunday Streets from the inside-out, socialize, savor a cocktail, experience thought-provoking discussions, and enjoy 1+ miles of car-free fun, all in the same day!

RSVP to the public program and help spread the word about the FREE 2019 Livability Summit!

Support Livable City’s important work and purchase the VIP Experience which includes entry to the Awards Brunch including delicious brunch bites, bottomless mimosas, and private lounge access all day.


10:00am – 12:00pm
Awards Brunch At The Curio Patio

Enjoy a VIP Reception with delicious brunch bites, bottomless mimosas, and front stage viewing as Valencia Street transforms into Sunday Streets Mission!

Meet and mingle with livability leaders as you raise a glass in support of a San Francisco with plentiful and affordable housing, accessible public spaces and streets that make walking, biking, and public transit the best option for all.

12:15 – 1:00pm
Dreaming Big – What Does Shared Mobility Look Like?

As bike, scooter and car shares transform our streets, reshape our commutes and alter the transportation landscape of San Francisco, how do we center access for marginalized communities, encourage sustainable modes of transit, and create a system that is equity-first? 

Join Planning Commissioner Myrna Melgar, SF Bicycle Coalition Board Member and JUMP Community Engagement Lead Meaghan Mitchell, and SOMCAN Transit Justice Organizer Mary Claire Amable for a panel discussion on dreaming big about the future of shared mobility. Moderated by Fay Darmawi, Founder and Executive Producer of San Francisco Urban Film Festival. 

1:15 – 2:00pm
Community Leaders In Action – 2019 Livability Awardees

It takes a village to create a livable city. Learn how these community leaders and organizations work across a diverse landscape to create changes that affect the way we travel, live and play in the city we call home. 

Lightning Talks from the 2019 Livability Awardees include: 

In Chan Kaajal Community Garden is part of the city’s first new park in ten years, bringing green, open space for community-building, recreation and public health to the heart of the Mission in collaboration with local community groups like Poder.

People Protected Bike Lanes fights to keep and create safe, accessible bike lanes free from car traffic. Their work has resulted in the installation of protected bike lanes on upper Market Street, $150k in funding for the Valencia Bicycle safety project, and upcoming projects on Howard and Townsend streets.

Part of Mayor Breed’s Executive Directive to accelerate the approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law units, Mission Housing’s 18th Street ADU Garage Conversion Project is modeling a way to create new, rent-controlled housing out of dormant garage space that is accessible to seniors, people with disabilities and low-income residents.

2:15 – 3:00pm
At The Intersection of Transit & Public Health

From wait times to walkable sidewalks to air quality, how we get around our city is deeply entwined with the health of our residents. Studies have shown access to quality public transportation results in better health outcomes – but how do we get there? The keynote conversation with SFMTA Vice Chair Gwyneth Borden and Dr. Susan Zieff, Director of Active Living Across the Lifespan Research Group, explores this intersection and the tactics, modes and models needed to create an equitable transit system that positively impacts public health for all San Franciscans.


Between 10am-12pm, VIP ticket holders enjoy access to the Brunch and Awards reception in The Chapel’s open-air, heated patio restaurant, The Curio. Savor brunch bites and raise a glass from the hosted mimosa bar in celebration of the 2019 Community Leader Awardees, all while Valencia Street transforms into a car-free recreational space.

After brunch, gain early access to the beautiful Chapel Theater to bid on items from the 3rd Annual Explore Local Silent Auction featuring unique experiences and gifts from San Francisco’s finest small businesses.

At 12:15, the event transitions into a speaking program open to the public, encouraging the greater Sunday Streets community to learn, think, discuss and dream big about how transportation, housing and public health solutions can become more equitable and sustainable for everyone.

During the public program, VIP ticket holders can head upstairs to the private mezzanine, complete with hors d’oeuvre buffet and private no-host bar to enjoy the program or outdoors to partake 1+ miles of car-free fun at Sunday Streets.


Gwyneth Borden was appointed to the SFMTA Board of Directors in 2014 and elected Vice Chair this year. A longtime transit rider, Ms. Borden has served in a variety of civic roles, including serving on San Francisco’s Planning Commission and as a former aide to then-Supervisor Gavin Newsom. In 2013, she served as a member of the Mayor’s 2030 Transportation Task Force and in 2003, she was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve on the Expenditure Plan Advisory Committee that authored the half-cent sales tax for transportation, which today funds the city’s transportation projects. 

Ms. Borden has long been active with public policy efforts at the local, state and federal level. Most recently, Ms. Borden served as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Myrna Melgar is currently the Executive Director of the Jamestown Community Center and prior to her work at Jamestown, was the Deputy Director of the Mission Economic Development Agency, another Mission District nonprofit providing asset building and financial services to low income Latino families. She was the Director of Homeownership Programs at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing during the Newsom administration.  Myrna also served three terms in the City’s Building Inspection Commission, and also as President of the commission’s Board of Appeals. She is a current member of the Assembly of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Executive Board of the Latino Democratic Club. Myrna is currently the Vice President of the San Francisco City Planning Commission, appointed by President of the Board of Supervisors London Breed.

Myrna immigrated to the Mission District as a teenager with her family during the 1980’s from El Salvador, during that country’s civil war.  She attended San Francisco State University, and then obtained a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in housing development from Columbia University in the City of New York.  She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters.

Meaghan Mitchell Bayview native, journalist, activist, and community engagement professional, Meaghan Mitchell has been an important voice in neighborhood and transit related issues during San Francisco’s latest affordability crisis. As an elected member to San Francisco’s Bicycle Coalition Board of Directors and as the Community Engagement lead for bike share provider Jump, Mitchell will bring a dynamic perspective to the stage. 

Meaghan’s outreach work has helped establish the legislated “African American Arts & Cultural District” of SF, launched the first dock-less e-bike share system in SF JUMP Bikes, and debuted Hoodline’s Bayview news coverage as a journalist.

Mary Claire Amable, known around the neighborhood as Claire, is a first generation Filipina-American born and raised in the heart of the Tenderloin. Her great grandfather immigrated to the US in the 20’s to work on the sugarcane plantations in Hawaii while her grandfather immigrated to San Francisco in the 70’s after the Vietnam War, bringing Claire’s father and his six siblings. Claire moved back and forth between the Tenderloin and SoMa for most of her life, putting down roots in both neighborhoods. She currently lives and works in SoMa while most of her family still live in the TL.
She graduated from The Woodside International School in 2014 and is currently a senior at San Francisco State University double-majoring in Urban Planning and Asian American Studies. With her degrees, she hopes to create positive change in her communities by writing policies that benefit and are reflective of the people and neighborhoods she represents.
Spending much of her time at the South of Market Community Action Network/SOMCAN as part of the City recognized group YOHANA, Amable is now the Transit Justice Organizer at SOMCAN. Amable has worked on several successful campaigns and co-designed programs that champion the growth of native and immigrant born San Francisco youth that strive to improve their quality of life.
Also active in city politics, she was appointed in 2016 to represent district six on the Youth Commission. For the two years, she has been able to work at City Hall, in various spaces of the South of Market and larger San Francisco communities of color.

Fay Darmawi is the Founder and Executive Producer of San Francisco Urban Film Festival (SFUFF) and her unique background is a mix of film and finance. In addition to 25 years of community development finance experience – including most recently managing the low-income housing tax credit investment portfolio for Silicon Valley Bank – she completed five years of screenwriting training culminating in a fellowship with the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Based on her curation of the SFUFF, she was selected as one of the first Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Fellows. Fay is a graduate of the European Union’s Valletta 2018 Curatorial School and most recently completed a storytelling residency with Forward/Slash Story.

Fay’s formal urbanist training is from M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, but her love of cities comes from her childhood experiences living in the epicenter of Jakarta, Indonesia.

Dr Susan Zieff is a Professor of Kinesiology at San Francisco State and Director of Active Living Across the Lifespan Research Group. Her research focuses on social justice and equity issues associated with access to physical activity on local, national and international scales.

Zieff’s work with Sunday Streets SF has been a model of evaluation for open streets initiatives at the international level, and she continues to work on economic impact assessment and potential for community-building and development in open streets programs.  Her current areas of research address specific health disparities in physical activity behavior among Latina adolescent girls and LGBT youth, and related perceptions of body image and physical activity. Zieff works in conjunction with LGBT youth organizations and local YMCAs to develop guidelines and programming to support healthy lifestyles among this population.


Get in front of thousands of San Francisco residents and some of the Bay Area’s brightest movers-and-shakers from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors all in the same day. Highlight your organization’s civic spirit by sponsoring the VIP Brunch experience or one of the engaging public discussions that will be publicized to the 20,000+ attendees who fill Valencia every Sunday Streets.

Email sponsors@livablecity.org for more information or click here to view the 2019 sponsorship packages.


Livable City’s Livability Awards honor San Franciscans who have made an outstanding contribution to our City’s livability, working at the intersection of land use, environment, public health, and social equity. Recipients are honored at an annual awards ceremony and member party attended by a diverse mix of attendees from advocacy, community, public service, government, and business, held at beautiful and historic venues like the War Memorial Green Room, the Old Mint, and California Historical Society.



The 2018 awards were held at the Gray Area Theater on June 20. Awardees included:
  • The San Francisco Foundation
    As one of the nation’s largest community foundations, The San Francisco Foundation has been a touchstone for countless community organizations in the Bay Area. 
  • Barbara Garcia, Director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health
    Under Barbara Garcia’’s leadership, San Francisco ​Department of Public Health​ has championed rigorous, evidence-based, and innovative approaches to ​drug addiction, street ​safety, ​and ​healthy eating​ ​and active living​.
  • Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.
  • Chema Hernández Gil is the political coordinator of San Francisco Rising, an electoral alliance building political power of working-class communities of color, and board director and co-founder of Seed the Commons, a grassroots organization working to create sustainable and just food systems independent of animal exploitation.
  • Homeless Youth Alliance develops relationships with youth and young adults aged 13-29 who live on the street in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, striving to empower young homeless people to protect themselves, educate each other, reduce harm within the community, and when they are ready, transition off the streets.


The theme for our 2017 awards was City of Sanctuary, and was held on September 21 in the War Memorial Green Room. Awardees were:
  • City Attorney Dennis Herrera, for defending progressive city legislation like sanctuary laws, tenant protections, and transportation reform, and for vigorous and pro-active enforcement of health, safety, environmental, and consumer protections.
  • Chinatown Community Development Center, for leadership in developing and protecting affordable housing, and championing green and safe streets through the Broadway Streetscape and Chinatown Alleyways projects.
  • Grassroots biodiversity advocates, for protecting and restoring San Francisco’s amazing biodiversity: Literacy For Environmental Justice for habitat restoration, environmental education, and the eco-center at Heron’s Head Park; Nature in the City for environmental education and establishing wildlife corridors through the City; and Wild Oyster Project for bringing San Francisco Bay’s native Olympia Oyster back from the brink of local extinction.


Held on June 23 at the California Historical Society, 2016’s event honored outstanding San Francisco advocates for cycling, open space, the environment, public health, and equity for all. The event also featured a livability photo contest.

  • Senator Mark Leno has championed affordable housing, improved transportation, clean energy, better schools, and access to health care in San Francisco and throughout California. Prior to Senate, Senator Leno served in the California State Assembly, represented the eastern portion of San Francisco. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he served for four and a half years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. During his tenure in the Legislature, Senator Leno has fought for better schools and access to higher education, foster youth, a cleaner and sustainable environment, single-payer universal health care, improved transportation, renewable energy, safer streets and equal rights for all Californians. Most recently, Senator Leno has lead the charge to increase minimum wage, curb tobacco use, and bring more affordable housing to San Francisco.
  • Dr. Barry Zevin, medical director of the Homeless Outreach Team, has spent his career improving access and outcomes for vulnerable transgender, HIV- and Hep-C positive, and homeless communities. Dr. Zevin provided leadership for many projects at the SF Department of Public Health including: founding Transgender Tuesdays, the first transgender clinic in a public sector setting in the United States; development of community based medically supported detox; development of sobering center; implementation of office based opiate addiction treatment; and establishment of the Tenderloin area center of excellence for HIV care.
  • The Shape Up San Francisco Coalition are leaders in public health advocacy, including improving physical education in our schools and reducing our sugary beverage consumption. Shape Up was the presenting sponsor for the first Sunday Streets in 2008 and continues to support the beloved event that brings tens of thousands of people out to play safely on our city streets. Shape Up has increased awareness of sugary drinks through cutting edge campaigns and has helped to shape sugary drink policies for organizational and environmental change. Shape Up’s retail work in the Bayview lay the foundation for the citywide HealthyRetailSF program. The Coalition’s work has helped raise the value of physical education among San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools, leading to a 500% increase of PE specialists and an equitable approach to ensure all elementary schools receive PE resources and support. Shape Up’s Safe Routes to School program now serves nearly half of all elementary schools in SFUSD and has documented increases in walking at 28% and biking at 32% of participating schools.
  • Community advocate Oscar Grande co-founded Bicis Del Pueblo, a community-based bike project that has provided bikes, knowledge, and resources to over 200 low-income youth and families, and has championed new open spaces and community-oriented planning in the Mission and Excelsior districts. Bicis del Pueblo is developing a Bike Equity network to increase the number of bicyclists in low-income communities of color in San Francisco. Oscar is a Community Organizer with People Organizing to Demand Economic and Environmental Rights (PODER). The father of four works to empower immigrant Latino communities in San Francisco by focusing on issues like housing rights, land use, environmental justice, and transportation equity. Oscar has co-organized campaigns that have successfully reclaimed publicly owned lands and required the City to invest development without displacement dollars to create affordable housing, open space, community gardens, and community services. Noteworthy projects in the Mission and Excelsior Districts include In Chan Kajaal Park, 1950 Mission, Parque Niños Unidos, Upper Yard on San Jose & Geneva, and Crocker Park Urban Farm. As a founding Board member of Mission Asset Fund, Oscar helped develop a first-of-a-kind financial asset building organization helping San Francisco low-income residents access social loan programs that quickly and safely build credit history. The organization has grown to a multi-million dollar organization providing community-based asset building services in a dozen communities throughout the country.


This year’s annual event was held at Public Works. Livable City was proud to honor the following awardees:

  • Sam Mogannam leads the Bi-Rite family of businesses, who have long advocated for local employment, local and sustainable food, and nutrition education.
  • Bonnie Nelson has worked throughout her career to reshape the transportation industry, influencing projects across the U.S. to adopt more sustainable transportation plans and creating a generation of progressive transportation planners.
  • As Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, Dave Snyder has tirelessly worked to improve cyclists’ safety statewide and increased spending on cycling infrastructure. Dave has also served as the founding executive director of Livable City, San Francisco Transit Riders, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
  • The Planning Department’s Legislative Affairs Division is behind every planning law approved by the City. Recently, the team has worked to overhaul planning regulations, reform restaurant codes, and enabled the construction of more affordable housing.


Held November 19 at the beautiful and historic Old Mint. Livable City was proud to recognize:

  • David Baker, Livability Innovator in Design and Architecture. David Baker FAIA leads David Baker Architects, an award-winning San Francisco architecture firm that for 30 years has focused designing for density and exploring urban solutions.  David has been dedicated to increasing the safety, sanity, and livability of San Francisco for decades through his urban-infill multifamily housing designs and his advocacy for active street edges, civic engagement, alternative transit,  bicycle safety, and the creation of wonderful places. His firm practices what they preach: DBA is a San Francisco Certified Green Business, a Carbon Free Business, and a Bicycle Friendly Business, and they work imbue all aspects of their work with sustainability and community benefit. The Livable City Board of Directors was honored to award David the Livability Innovator award for several reasons. First, for his innovative design work, particularly in affordable housing, despite budget, zoning, and planning restraints. Second, for his work in mixed-use development, thoughtfulness in street frontage, and implementing low-cost sustainable building practices. Third, for the construction of Zero Cottage – San Francisco’s first Net-Zero Passive House certified residence, and StoreFrontLab – an interactive exploration of the storefront as a place of community, creativity, and local industry.
  • Leah Shahum, Livability Advocate. Leah Shahum is the Executive Director of the 10,000+ member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which works to promote bicycling for everyday transportation. Under her leadership, the SF Bicycle Coalition became one of the largest and strongest advocacy groups in San Francisco. Their community organizing continues to help significantly boost the number of people bicycling, as well as boosting the understanding of how bicycling can help make a better city. Leah formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District, as well as the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. The Livable City Board of Directors selected Leah for her tireless – and successful – advocacy in making San Francisco more cycling-friendly. Under her tenure as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco has seen dramatic increases in everyday bicycling, the addition of miles of separated bikeways, bike parking, greater bike access to transit, and more bike-friendly policies. Now, as Leah steps away from her role as Executive Director, she will research Vision Zero successes in Europe through a German Marshall Fund Fellowship and implement those best practices back here in San Francisco.


Livable City honored:

  • San Francisco Transit Riders and POWER, as livability advocates.
  • SFMTA’s SFpark program, as livability innovator.
  • John Martin Director of San Francisco International Airport, for public servant.
  • Professor, author, and former San Francisco Planning Director Allan Jacobs, for lifetime achievement.


Livable City honored:

  • Cheryl Brinkman, livability advocate
  • David Winslow, Loring Sagan, and Meredith Thomas, livability innovators for Linden Living Alley
  • Ross Mirkarimi, livability legislator