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Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership in Sacramento (RAILS) Grant Program

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The application period for the City’s 2018-19 grant cycle closed on May 7. After the City received 143 applications totaling $11.4 million in funding requests, an independent review panel engaged in a competitive selection process. The final award recommendations consist of 14 projects totaling more than $900k in funding.

The 2018-19 RAILS grant awards provide underserved communities access to Sacramento’s innovation ecosystem and advance inclusive economic and workforce development. The City Council approved the final award recommendations at their meeting on July 3, 2018. 


Grant Amount: $99,750

Priority Neighborhoods: Strawberry Manor, Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, Old North Sacramento, Marina Vista-Alder Grover, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Lemon Hill, Meadowview, Parkway, Valley Hi/North Laguna

Description: The Build.Black. Coalition in Sacramento was formed after Stephon Clark’s death to address the African-American community’s anger over police violence coupled with longstanding inequities in economic investment in disenfranchised Sacramento neighborhoods. The coalition’s goal is to proactively invest in and radically transform Black communities based on four pillars: uplifting Black youth voices, health equity and access, justice and policing in Black communities, and investment in Black neighborhoods and businesses. The Build.Black. Coalition seeks RAILS funding to promote entrepreneurship and economic development in seven Sacramento neighborhoods identified by the Black Child Legacy Campaign as having the highest rates of disproportionate African-American child deaths. The goal is to support economic development in these areas to ensure that communities of color participate in and benefit from the economic renaissance in Sacramento. RAILS funding will be used to connect economic development leaders with local entrepreneurs and innovators, enabling the coalition to (1) integrate the Black Child Legacy Campaign and Build.Black. Coalition networks to assess marginal neighborhoods for economic potential, opportunities, and innovations; and (2) develop a professional economic innovation learning community that includes economic leaders, investors, and local entrepreneurs. The collaborations in this professional development–oriented learning community will improve local economic growth capacity, ensure Black businesses are represented in the City’s economic growth, and increase the success of new enterprises. To build on this framework, the Build.Black. Coalition will design and manage a “new idea” Build.Black. awards and innovation competition program that will recognize and support local economic development concepts and position awardees for attracting further investment. Lessons learned will be identified and disseminated to key stakeholders in a written report and webinar, with the aim of increasing awareness of African-American economic development opportunities and strategies in the City of Sacramento.


Grant Amount: $58,200

Priority Neighborhoods: Old North Sacramento, Alkali Flat, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park

Description: Hacker Lab will award 50 scholarships alongside a newly formed partnership between M5 Arts, Sol Collective, and Sacramento City College’s Maker Space, in an effort to accelerate the growth of new creative ventures throughout Sacramento. The recipients of the scholarships will join an 8-month cohort to receive dedicated mentor-ship, access to training, and 24/7 makerspace equipment usage.Hacker Lab’s makerspace is equipped with over $250,000 worth of tools and equipment, providing participants with an incredible resource to create and experiment. In addition to equipment access, Hacker Lab provides a wide range of monthly classes on fabrication, design, and entrepreneurship.During the scholarship period, participants will gain: skills on new tools, have the opportunity to take classes on fabrication, design, and business, and receive mentor-ship. This effort is to encourage the prototyping of new projects and collaboration among a diverse creative cohort. In addition, a dedicated program manager and adviser will provide one-on-one support to the participants. The program manager will encourage the usage of new tools within the makerspace, facilitate connections within and outside of the Hacker Lab community, and provide individualized support for the participant. They will host community events to encourage participant engagement and collaboration. The limits of an individual’s potential is capped by their knowledge, experience, and access to resources. By providing a guided scholarship program, we aim to spark new possibilities for program participants and equip them with capabilities that they can capitalize on for years to come. We will award grants through partner organizations in effort to build program diversity and collaboration.Ultimately, we believe the project will arm our next wave of creatives with new capabilities that will result in new job creation, small business creation, and bad-ass community projects.


Grant Amount: $49,920

Priority Neighborhoods: Strawberry Manor, Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, Wills Acres, Richardson Village, South Hagginwood, Noralto, Old North Sacramento, Twin Rivers, Alkali Flat, Marina Vista-Alder Grover, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Lemon Hill, Woodbine

Description: Yellow Circle will host eight Cyber Security boot camps, one in each of the eight city districts. These two day boot camps are specifically designed for high school students. Starting in July 2018, Yellow Circle will develop cyber security curriculum that is designed to keep high-school students engaged in learning with hands-on activities, challenges, and resources. Curriculum will be developed in collaboration with CSU Sacramento, Sacramento City College, and Cosumnes River College, providing a educational pathway for students to continue their education in cyber security beyond high school. Each boot camp will be held in a different high-school designated by council member of that district, providing 10+ hours of professional training, breakfast, lunch, snacks, prizes, awards, and giveaways for up to 100 high school students from within that district. This project goal is to increase interest in cyber security careers and increase the diversity in the cyber security workforce as well as teaching students about appropriate and safe online behaviors in order for them to have a secure online presence in the ever growing digital world. Starting October 2018, Yellow Circle will host one boot camp each month, with last one in May 2019. A total of eight boot camps across all different districts, to ensure up to 800 students from all over the Sacramento area get the much needed opportunity to learn about cyber security for their personal safety as well as bring to light a future career option that they may otherwise not have realized.


Grant Amount: $20,000

Priority Neighborhoods: Lemon Hill

Description: In 2017 Mutual Housing partnered with the Sacramento Air Quality Management District and Zip Car to pilot Our Community Car Share. This program provided free access to electric vehicles and charging stations to residents in one of our affordable housing communities. In 2018, again with the support of SAQMD and Zip Car, we will be expanding this program to two additional communities. The goal of the program is to provide accessible transportation in disadvantaged communities using the newest, cleanest technology, advancing the cause of environmental justice. The adoption rate of green technologies is much slower for low-income communities; the challenges for them are not only cost and access, but also limited marketing and education directed to them about new technologies. As a sustainable housing developer and community builder, Mutual Housing is in a unique position to help our residents become early adopters of green technologies. Since electric vehicles pollute less than any others on the road, it’s a win-win situation for the affordable housing residents and the City of Sacramento. Through this program, Mutual Housing can help our residents become electric-car users through a convenient, on-site sharing program at a time when most low-income communities lack any access to car battery chargers.We learned in the first year of this program that making chargers and electric vehicles accessible to disadvantaged communities in not enough. To reach the levels of usage that we hope for in these communities requires intensive outreach, education, and demonstration. The focus of this grant request is to provide additional funding so that we can significantly increase the levels of outreach and education related to this project and to do so in culturally and linguistically appropriate modalities. Our aim is to increase the level of participation in the car share program.


Grant Amount: $56,650

Priority Neighborhoods: Strawberry Manor, Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, South Hagginwood, Twin Rivers

Description: G.L.O.W.’s academic tutoring program consists of a needs assessment for each of our participants. Our goal is to provide a support system that will help establish a work ethic and study habits that will result in higher grade-point averages and confidence for future academic success. Our self-enhancements workshops consists of quarterly seminars that address the underlying causes of poor self-esteem, low self-confidence, and other beliefs that continues to sabotage their growth and development. Our goal is to empower our young ladies with accurate information that will result in self-sufficiency and experiences of proficiency to help overcome their inferiority complex and insecurities. G.L.O.W.’s Health and Welfare program is a partnership with Neighborhood Wellness Foundation. Our young ladies participate in their annual Wellness Expo that provides information addressing all social determinants of health directly impacting our DPH neighborhoods such as low educational attainment, financial literacy, skill development, health disparities, and mental health with various methods of healing. Our goal is to improve the health and welfare of our young ladies through accurate information. G.L.O.W.’s debate and college prep program is a monthly meeting comprised of two teams to challenge one another with persuasive pro and con arguments for a given topic. Our goal is to improve critical thinking and boost self-confidence through public speaking. G.L.O.W.’s transformative travel program consists outdoor educational trips for insight and exposure to various cultures helping to shape positive perspectives. G.L.O.W.’s round table “Girl Talk” consists of twelve bi-weekly sessions that address current and relative concerns. Our goal is to provide a supportive safe space for our young ladies to candidly discuss in confidence with issues they face daily.


Grant Amount: $50,000

Priority Neighborhoods: North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park

Description: Sol Collective will release quarterly issues of the brand new Global Local AR Magazine beginning in June 2018. This one-of-a-kind print publication will feature augmented reality technology which will bring the pages to life through the lens of your smartphone. Augmented reality technology burst onto the global scene with the introduction of the Pokemon Go app. Sol Collective’s media team has been hard at work for the last year to find innovative ways to weave this creative technology into social justice causes. Global Local AR Magazine’s focus will be documenting best practices in art, culture, and activism all over the globe through an international collective of writers, filmmakers, and media specialists. Sol Collective will train 10-20 youth in arts and media including writing, audio/video recording and editing, graphic design, motion graphics, and augmented reality design and work to highlight local creative artists, organizations, and businesses bringing innovation to cultural art and activism. Unlike traditional print publications, Global Local AR Magazine will be interactive through the lens of your smartphone and offer in-depth interviews, live performance videos, innovative 3d art exhibitions, and much more. Augmented reality combines the best of the print journalism and online worlds. Support from the RAILS program will increase Sol Collective’s community impact by mentoring more youth in this technology and increasing our quarterly publication numbers from 250 to 1,000. Global Local AR Magazine will provide hands-on journalism, new media, and technology experience for young creatives from traditionally unheard communities in Sacramento and around the world. 


Grant Amount: $50,000

Priority Neighborhoods: Meadowview

Description: Rose Family Creative Empowerment Center (formerly known as Focus on Family) operates After School Programs at John Still K-8 and Luther Burbank High Schools. SCUSD and its principals believe in providing students with essential skills and tools necessary to be college and career ready. This program will provide students with a career path opportunity in the area of digital media beginning in the 5th grade. The principals at both schools will collaborate to insure that there is vertical articulation built into the curriculum to insure a seamless transition from middle school to high school and to college or career. This program will introduce students who attend John Still K-8 and Luther Burbank High Schools in 5th through 12th grade to digital arts (graphic design, desktop publishing, animation), photography, video and audio production using state of the art equipment and software. Funds will be used to create state of the art digital media studios at John Still K-8 and Luther Burbank High Schools. The digital media studios will include a television/photography studio, a Mac Lab and a recording studio. These funds will be used to purchase professional grade camera equipment, podcast equipment and other digital recording equipment. Classes will be offered during the school day, after school through the expanded learning programs and on Saturdays during the South Sacramento Youth Arts Collective.By June of 2019, students will have been introduced to the skills and knowledge needed to create professional quality podcasts, videos and images related to campus and community climate and culture in South Sacramento, John Still and Luther Burbank as well as the ability to create professional quality marketing materials to promote their program as well as flyers, posters and other materials to promote community and school events. 


Grant Amount: $50,000

Priority Neighborhoods: North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Lemon Hill, Woodbine, Meadowview

Description: At LFCC’s Maple Neighborhood Center we will serve 25 students twice a week for a 6 week session. We will offer seven 6-week sessions to serve a total of 175 students. The program is offered free of charge and is open to families throughout Sacramento. This is a much needed resource, as there continues to be a high demand for people with STEM skills. However, disadvantaged communities lag behind others in math and science skills at an alarming rate and have minimal exposure to STEM learning opportunities; which creates an even larger gap for these children. In February 2018, we launched our first class; teaching coding and computer science to 25 children from second grade to high school sophomores. We also want to engage and expose parents to the importance of STEM and help bridge the digital divide to create a support system for continued development.Leveraging your support we will partner with Apple for training and will use ipads to teach coding using: Everyone Can Code. We will incorporate robotics and legos using the Lego Education Set; we will invite STEAM professionals to speak and inspire the children; and work with partners to broaden the youth’s perspective. Our program also trains and employs older youth as instructional assistants through the 1000 Strong program and our Out of School Youth program (which works with transitional age youth 17-24 to provide pre-employment skills, job training and placement). By engaging these older youth as mentors we strive to create a visible path for our students to imagine themselves in their youth leaders, and we hope that our youth leaders will gain valuable work experience, training and a desire to continue their education to pursue careers in STEM/STEAM. 


Grant Amount: $56,620

Priority Neighborhoods: Strawberry Manor, Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, South Hagginwood, Noralto, Old North Sacramento, Twin Rivers, Alkali Flat

Description: Under the leadership of 1 Program Coordinator and 3 Program staff, the Pacers Moving Forward's Technology Squad, students 9th -12th grades, attending Grant High School, will be given the opportunity and experience to collaborate with others of diverse ages, cultures, genders, and backgrounds. The Technology Squad will meet Monday – Thursday during the school year. Our program will leverage new technologies to support innovative types of learning experiences and engage young learners who have been alienated by traditional educational approaches. Program staff will emphasize the importance of social context, and the interplay between individual and community development. The Program Coordinator will coordinate with 3 program staff to lead the youth to begin to develop new perspectives for understanding the world and themselves by attending field trips to local businesses, colleges and universities; workshops in educational planning, interviewing, resume building, and interviewing. Students will build technology skills and awareness, strengthen their leadership skills and teamwork, foster positive social interaction, and build a sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem. July - Program Recruitment ( Grant Union High School)September - Program Start/ Pre Assessment December - Winter Technology Camp January - Quarterly Assessment and Evaluation Winter- Grant Union High School Technology Fair March - Quarterly Assessment and Evaluation Spring - Youth Leadership and Technology Summit May - Quarterly Assessment and Evaluation Summer - Night Life Turned Right 


Grant Amount: $50,000

Priority Neighborhoods: North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Lemon Hill, Parkway, Valley Hi/North Laguna

Description: Our mission is to create opportunities for kids (4th – 8th grade), in the greater Sacramento area, in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) through hands-on robotics. Building up critical thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow. We want to inspire kids to Dream Big. We believe kids are capable of creating the incredible if given the opportunity. We strive to empower the next generation by giving them a space where they can grow and gain life skills, to become leaders in their schools and homes, and then in their workplaces and communities. California ranks 41st in conditions that help children succeed, that is unacceptable. We’ve seen how hands-on tasks accelerate the learning process and give lasting life skills. Exposing one’s own abilities increases self-esteem, which leads to a brighter future! Our focus is to be a mobile classroom, bringing STEAM to students in underrepresented areas, partnering with schools, community groups, churches, non-profits, other organizations and local businesses, going anywhere a child would be. Encouraging students to not just be a consumer of technology but a creator of technology. We want to expose them to classroom learning and real life experiences by taking field trips into the community. Currently we offer a workshop that leads to a level 1 class, we want to grow and offer a Level 2 and Level 3. Starting a club where students can find a place to belong to and a purpose. There should be no barriers for students to access STEAM, every child should be given an opportunity and it should be fun. There should be laughter in the classroom, it should be loud at times and they should want more.


Grant Amount: $50,000

Priority Neighborhoods: Strawberry Manor, Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, Wills Acres, Richardson Village, South Hagginwood, Noralto, Old North Sacramento, Twin Rivers, Alkali Flat, Marina Vista-Alder Grover, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Lemon Hill

Description: SEEK is a national, evidence-based engineering immersion that targets and exposes under-served 3rd-5th-grade students to STEM engineering. It’s free, out-of-school time program proven to increase students’ interest and proficiency in math and science. The program will serve 300 students throughout the city and target disadvantaged families in the Sacramento Promise Zone in the Twin Rivers and Sacramento City Unified school districts. Sacramento SEEK will operate Monday through Friday from 8:30 - 3:30 p.m. Additionally, all students will be provided with free breakfast and lunch daily.SEEK students and parents alike must commit to ensuring the student attends all three weeks of programming. Additionally, parents must attend a mandatory parent orientation where they learn about SEEK and ways it can enhance their students’ educational trajectory.All projects offer immersion hands-on, inquiry-based engineering design units that incorporate strands from science, technology, planning, design, presentation, and marketing. Students work in teams to solve real-world challenges by designing and building interesting toys. Each week, SEEK students will work in teams where they become “engineers” responsible for solving problems through the completion of these engineering design activities. Each Friday, students present and compete their designs before their peers, teachers, parents, corporate and community volunteers as part of “SEEK Competition Fridays.” Students will immediately plug into the NSBE Jr. Chapter for continued learning. NSBE Jr. functions as an after-school club designed to provide students with the tools and resources they need to excel in math and science. NSBE Jr. introduces curricula from Try-math-a-lon and Math Counts, which are proven to help prepare students for middle and high school math. NSBE Jr. will provide scholarship opportunities, support preparing for ACT and SAT exams and support navigating the college admissions process. 


Grant Amount: $150,000

Priority Neighborhoods:
Marina Vista-Alder Grover, Lemon Hill

Description: Square Root Academy believes that it has a responsibility to help eliminate systemic barriers that limit the ability for social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and underserved communities to create and access the careers of the future. To achieve this, the Academy seeks to leverage the RAILS Grant to establish a 6,000 square foot coworking and education incubator located within the new Sacramento Center for Innovation campus just south of CSU Sacramento.In line with the coworking space model, the incubator will be designed to offer access to private offices, conference rooms and common work areas and supportive amenities. In addition, the facility will include a classroom space and a computer lab to provide responsive professional learning opportunities for tenants and community workshops to promote digital literacy among youth and community members. Based on the existing conversations with the developers and potential tenants, we are confident that we can establish a successful and self-sustaining business that will contribute to achieving the RAILS Grant’s goal of developing Sacramento’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. To this end, we will focus the energy and funding during this grant period to coordinate the design and opening of the actual facility, deploy a branding and marketing strategy, and secure prospective tenants and members. We are anticipating a tentative opening date of February 2019. Given the proximity of the facility to the CSU Sacramento campus, we are exploring a direct relationship to create a partnership with the Dale and Katy Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Our goal for this partnership is to expand access to supports and technologies that provide our shared communities of innovators with the tools, guidance, and resources to thrive. Additionally, we are solidifying details with the Art Institute to provide access to training and nationally recognized industry certifications on-site.


Grant Amount: $99,900

Priority Neighborhoods: Alkali Flat, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park

Description: We opened The Makers Place™ in January 2018 with the vision of creating a home-away-from-home for Sacramento parents and families who needed more support as they worked remotely, went back to school, or simply learned how to be a new parent. Our space features a collaborative co-working area, Mini Makers™ Studio childcare area, and flexible space for public event rentals. We also host free monthly Community Gatherings and offer leadership development workshops. The Makers Place™ is the first in the region to combine a professional co-working space with affordable onsite childcare, starting at only 3 hours per week with a month-to-month commitment, making it accessible to families who cannot commit to full-time day care or need a short-term care option. We also offer a Co-Operative Membership and scholarship spaces for families with expressed need in order to create an inclusive and diverse community. In our first quarter of business, we have already served 50+ members and their children. In the next 6-12 months, we already have plans to expand our services and hours of operation to meet the greater need in our Sacramento community, including: - Developing local partnership with organizations that need creative solutions for employees transition back from maternity/paternity leave- Designing a band new Makers Incubator Program where creatives can collaborate and find support through micro-grants and professional leadership coaching - Launching a Summer Enrichment Program that features instruction from local artists and makers with a drop-in workshop option- Creating a Mini Makers™ Preschool program that centers around character education that will generate employment and internship positions - Expanding our current internship program to include Thousand Strong and community colleges. These programs fill a vital gap in the local economy that we hope to fill in 2018-2019.


Grant Amount: $66,250

Priority Neighborhoods: Del Paso Heights, Del Paso Nuevo, Old North Sacramento, North Oak Park, Central Oak Park, South Oak Park, Meadowview, Valley Hi/North Laguna 

The Power of SHE (Shaping & Honing Entrepreneurs) is an entrepreneurial incubator program for women of color by Willow Tree Roots. Our vision is to give women of color more concrete ways to thrive financially and professionally through entrepreneurship. To turn this vision into reality, The Power of SHE works with women of color in the Sacramento area to manifest their business ideas from ideation, business plan creation, marketing and finances culminating in a showcase opportunity in front of potential investors. Each session will be conducted by specialists in the field, giving the women an opportunity to connect with community leaders that they may not otherwise have an opportunity to connect with. It will also give the instructor leaders a chance to build close relationships with a community of women they may not otherwise meet in their field of practice. At the end of the program, women of color entrepreneurs will have an entrepreneurial enterprise that is ready to be launched with committed funders. This entrepreneurial incubator community exchange will open doors of opportunity for women in the program and will give leaders in the community a chance to experience the often overlooked communities.