On a bright sunny day this past July 6, a crowd of people packed into the lobby at 330 Ellis Street, spilling out onto the sidewalk in both directions. Members of the Glide Ensemble belted out tunes while a cadre of elected officials, city leaders, and GLIDE staff eagerly gathered behind a long red ribbon.
With the gusto of a major milestone moment, the audience counted down the final 10 seconds to commemorate the reopening of our indoor dining services. Our Meals team cut the ribbon, signaling the moment in which our services transitioned back inside our building, marking GLIDE’s full return to on-site programming.
Seconds later, clients began streaming into the lobby and, for the first time in over 1,200 days, they enjoyed a delicious hot meal of GLIDE’s famous fried chicken in the comfort and community of our indoor dining room.
2023 was a momentous year for GLIDE. In addition to carefully laid out plans to reopen all of our direct-service programs, we began the implementation of a bold strategic plan, GLIDE Forward. This plan defines our next 60 years of service, building on the success and vision of our legendary founders, Reverend Cecil Williams and the late Janice Mirikitani.
One of the hallmark achievements of 2023 was the arrival of Dr. Gina Fromer, our new President & CEO. During the search process, Cecil recognized Dr. Gina as the future soul of GLIDE and a person who “knows what it will take to move GLIDE forward.”
While Dr. Gina was new to GLIDE, as a sixth-generation San Franciscan, GLIDE was not new to Dr. Gina. Several decades back, Gina was a young mom raising three boys on food stamps in the Bayview.
She came to GLIDE as a client to help make ends meet, and was taken by the kindness and unconditional love she received. Decades later, Gina walked through those same doors as our new President & CEO with a vow to “make sure, as CEO, the door never closes to moms like me.”
Cecil’s passing of the baton to Dr. Gina was the capstone of several exciting achievements across the organization, a few of which are highlighted here:
- GLIDE honored Cecil Williams’ enduring 60 year legacy at our annual Holiday Jam on Nov 9. The Jam raised over $2.5M in donations to GLIDE.
- The Glide Memorial Church introduced a new mission and vision to guide our future work as a radically inclusive faith community.
- The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) led 85 participants on our 4th annual Alabama Pilgrimage to confront the impact of centuries of systemic racism in the United States. The CSJ team also successfully led the Hunger Action Coalition, a state-wide advocacy effort that resulted in the investment of $500 million dollars towards anti-hunger initiatives. Currently, one in five Californians are food insecure.
- Our finance team dedicated themselves to increasing the transparency and efficiency of our financial systems, resulting in the recognition of a Platinum level rating from Guidestar.
- GLIDE’s Center for Applied Learning and Impact (CALI) launched new analytic methods to improve our data collection and evaluation, allowing us to make more informed, evidence-based, and client-driven decisions.
- Our Janice Mirikitani Family Youth and Childcare Center received the Impact Award from the Golden State Warriors in recognition of GLIDE’s outstanding commitment to community empowerment.
As GLIDE builds on the momentum from 2023, we are launching bold, ambitious plans in 2024:
- We will return to Alabama in February for the 5th annual pilgrimage for racial justice with a group from UCSF and Men in Progress, GLIDE’s court-mandated batterers intervention program. On this trip, we will focus specifically on how systemic racism affects generational poverty, incarceration, and healthcare disparities.
- We are thrilled to host a new Power of One Auction this spring. After an incredible 24 years of partnership that raised over $50 million for GLIDE, Warren Buffett will pass the torch to Marc Benioff as the new host.
- We are reopening our historic Women’s Center in a newly refurbished space on the first floor of 330 Ellis Street, and look forward to further building community and providing support for our all female-identifying clients.
- The Center for Social Justice will launch our inaugural Social Justice Academy, an exciting new initiative to catalyze the wisdom and expertise of people challenged by systemic inequities. The paid 17 week fellowship will provide education on community-based research, community organizing, and advocacy to uplift marginalized voices, center the wisdom of our community in policy circles, and empower individuals with the tools to drive social change.
In the final Church Celebration of 2023, Cecil Williams’ spoke to a packed Church and said, “You’ve got to keep going, keep living. Love is here and now, and it is time to act.”
We invite you, our GLIDE community, to act and to be a part of this movement – 60 years in the making and growing stronger – as we continue our legacy of unconditional love and radical inclusivity.