Business For Good entered 2021 with a sense of cautious optimism. As vaccines rolled out, local businesses began to safely reopen and recover, and San Diego elected officials put more progressive policies into action, that caution soon blossomed into a feeling of renewed hope.
It is clear that we still have far to go, on many fronts. But with 2022 just around the corner, we’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the many wins and milestones BFG reached this year.
We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our BFG members for their hard work and perseverance during another challenging year. Because of you, more San Diegans now have the chance to enjoy a prosperous, healthy new year.
Business For Good’s 2021 committee wins
Our five Business For Good member committees are fundamental to BFG’s successful relationship building—with one another, our community leaders, and our policymakers. In 2021, all of our committees made some incredible strides.
Environmental Health Committee
- San Diego Community Power (SDCP) rolled out to municipalities + businesses—SDCP rolled out its clean energy service to San Diego County municipalities and businesses. And in 2022, it will roll out to residential customers. “This was a policy BFG fought hard for,” said Jay Buys, BFG Board Member. “Its implementation will push San Diego forward towards its Climate Action Plan goals.”
- Crafted our committee’s mission statement, principles, and actions—With so many exciting climate-crucial policies and actions on San Diego’s horizon, our Environmental Health committee decided to get crystal clear on its mission, goals, and objectives so that we are fully equipped to meet these challenges.
– Mission: To educate and empower small businesses to take action on environmental health issues and policy in the San Diego region.
– Principles: Simplify, Educate, Collaborate, Act, and Impact.
– Actions: We booked nearly a dozen local experts in environmental health and policy in 2021 to educate and activate our BFG members on the most important issues in San Diego. Our guest speakers included leaders from SD-SEQUEL, Center for Sustainable Energy, Solidarity Farms, Ecology Artisans, County of San Diego Planning & Development, City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan Program, and Offset Alliance.
- Became a steward of SDFSA’s Food Vision 2030—This year, BFG became a proud steward of San Diego Food System Alliance’s Food Vision 2030. The initiative is a collaborative effort to create a healthy, sustainable, and just food system over the next decade.“Food is connected to every issue that we address in our BFG committees,” said Juan Pablo Sanchez, BFG Board Member and BFG Immigration Committee Chair. “Having a seat at the table will allow BFG to help guide the way San Diego addresses food insecurity—something that affects many new Americans in particular.”
- San Diego launched its new Immigrant Rights Legal Defense Program—San Diego County approved a one-year, $5-million pilot program that provides free legal counsel for deportation cases. “The BFG Immigration Committee helped push for this countywide, first-of-its-kind legal fund for immigrants facing deportation,” Juan Pablo said.
- Helping to establish citizenship drives—Citizenship drives in San Diego help legal residents overcome the financial and educational burdens associated with becoming naturalized citizens. In doing so, they drastically improve their living conditions for the long run.
Housing & Homelessness Committee
- Connected with the Homeless Policy Directors for both Mayor Gloria and Supervisor Fletcher—We spent 2021 establishing relationships with the elected officials and their staff who are advocating for better housing and homelessness solutions in San Diego. “We expect to see many of these offices roll out their new policies in 2022, and if they don’t, we’ll be there to hold them accountable,” said Sam Mazzeo, BFG Homelessness Committee Chair.
- Stronger Allyship with Think Dignity—“Our largest impact and best work comes when we amplify the message of other organizations that are working on issues we are interested in,” Sam said. Since BFG is a 99% volunteer organization, getting aligned with organizations like Think Dignity (a paid-staff organization) allows us to utilize their efforts to better understand our region’s challenges.
- Developed our strategic goal set—We established three key goals for our committee, which will continue to evolve along with the ever-changing housing policy and circumstances in San Diego:
– We are for housing first—We must prioritize providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness so they can successfully improve their lives.
– We are for coordination of services and housing—We must make sure our region’s many housing and homelessness service providers are properly aligned and coordinated to actually serve the folks most in need.
– We are a united collection of small businesses—We interact with so many people in our region, which helps us amplify the voice and policies that we believe in—a renewed focus for our committee going into 2022.
Business Resources Committee
As one might expect, our Business Resources Committee spent the bulk of 2020 working to support equitable local, state, and federal government COVID-19 resources for small businesses and solopreneurs in San Diego County.
This year, we continued that work while also advocating for more small business resources in the San Diego City budget.
Austin Evans, BFG Board Member and member of the San Diego City’s Small Business Advisory Board, has been particularly active in giving public comments related to our city budget and ensuring more resources are available for local business owners in all San Diego neighborhoods.
Member Communications Committee
- Regular, robust content to amplify our impact—In 2021, we crafted nearly two dozen timely, in-depth articles that highlight BFG’s mission, explore in detail the many facets of our organization and its operations, and provide education to our members on the most important San Diego policy issues.
- Launched our first-ever Membership Drive—In April 2021, we launched our very first Business For Good membership drive. Our nearly all-volunteer committee executed a cohesive social media strategy, email drip campaign, email template deck, marketing strategy, outreach efforts, and website enrollment to make the drive a success.
- Increased social media presence—In addition to nailing a super active, streamlined social media presence and user interaction, we also set up a YouTube channel where we can now record and post our General Member Meetings.
Business For Good’s 2021 organizational & policy wins
In addition to the incredible work our BFG committees have done over the past year, Business For Good reached some equally impressive milestones in 2021. Take a look at all the wins we are reporting, both in our organization and in the policy work we help to shape in San Diego.
- We hired our first-ever Managing Director—BFG is thrilled to welcome Danea Ramos as our super capable and impressive Managing Director!
- Name recognition—BFG has dramatically increased its recognition as a critical business organization in San Diego. Many local officials speak and connect with our members.
- Growing membership during Year 2 of the pandemic—Running a business has never been more difficult than now. But the energy at BFG has continued to inspire San Diego business owners to get involved and stay involved.
- Hugely successful End of Year Gathering—We set a goal of 100 guests for our EOY gathering and ended up with nearly 150. The event also raised nearly $11,000 to help fuel BFG’s work to drive progressive policy in San Diego.
- More member engagement at City, County, State, and Federal levels—From public commenting to joining a local advisory board or business improvement district, our members are more active than ever in helping to shape local policy that benefits all San Diegans.
- Prominent local work by BFG Board Member Austin Evans—Not only is Austin is the City of San Diego’s Small Business Advisory Board Chair, he also works with SEIU and CPI to advise U.S. Congress members Jacobs and Peters on local impacts of federal policy.
- Working with Mayor Gloria’s Back-to-Work Task Force—Our BFG Board Chair Mikey Knab was asked to join the Mayor’s Back to Work Task Force, guiding and supporting San Diego businesses in safe operations during COVID-19.
- Clear progressive elected majority in San Diego for first time ever—2021 was the first year with a clear progressive majority at the County Board of Supervisors and City Council. This has resulted in policy work that shows incredible movement towards equity—and all of it is aligned with BFG’s four core policy issue areas!
- BFG developed a policy rubric—To ensure transparency to our members regarding how and why our organization decides to support the policies we do.
- Creation of Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs—BFG pushed hard this year to help establish the county’s new Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, which properly offers a welcoming, supportive climate for new San Diegans.
- Established a mentorship program with LISC—BFG Board Members and business leaders within our organization are mentoring new Americans who are starting their first business here.
- High-profile guests at our monthly General Member Meetings—In 2021, we were proud to feature amazing guest speakers, including Mayor Todd Gloria, Rep. Sara Jacobs, Mayor Catherine Blakespear, and many more.
- Invited presenters at San Diego Food System Alliance’s Food Vision 2030 conference—BFG Board Member Juan Pablo Sanchez and Board Chair Mikey Knab were invited to speak at SDFSA’s Food Vision 2030 conference, with wide attendance from across the county.
- Recognized as a strong partner in the City’s Climate Equity Workgroup—Thanks to our many dedicated BFG members, our organization is now recognized as a staple in the City of San Diego’s Climate Equity Workgroup, helping to advance the goals of our Climate Action Plan.
Business For Good’s goals for 2022
BFG’s ultimate goal for 2022 is to continue to grow our voice as San Diego business leaders who believe in equity, public health, and advancing policy that is good for everyone in our community.
Here are our main priorities that we hope will help us accomplish that over the next twelve months:
- Keep growing our BFG membership—There are so many reasons why people join Business For Good. We couldn’t be more proud of our members and the purposeful work they do. We can’t wait to onboard many new members in 2022 from all areas and industry sectors in San Diego.
- Become a 501(c)3 nonprofit—Currently, Business For Good is a 501(c)6 nonprofit. But our goal is to move into a 501(c)3 status, which would increase our ability to secure funding to allow for long-term sustainability.
- More member events, opportunities, and benefits—In accordance with the CDC and local safety guidelines, we are working to create more regular in-person events and opportunities for members to engage in meaningful ways with one another and the organization. We will also introduce some great new membership benefits!
- Continue the robust policy work of 2021—As detailed above, our BFG committees landed some truly remarkable wins this year. We are ready to build on those by staying dedicated to shaping local policy that works for everyone at every seat at the table.