On Tuesday, the newly formed Rose Pak Community Fund (RPCF) announced its inaugural donation of $150,000 to Shop Chinatown 2018—a program that aims to benefit area merchants and families living in single-room-occupancy hotels (SROs) impacted by ongoing construction.
The nonprofit, established after the passing of Chinatown political broker Rose Pak, aims to "promote issues that affect San Francisco's API community and to defend the prosperity and livelihood of Chinatown," according to a release from the organization.
The impetus for the funding campaign stems from construction work being conducted along Stockton Street and the Broadway corridor which has negatively impacted the community, said Dixon Li, a spokesperson for RPCF.
In addition to the ongoing Central Subway project, work that's been done on the new Chinese Hospital wing, the Ping Yuen public housing modernization, Spofford Alley Green Alley Project, and the Broadway Streetscape Improvement Project have also affected residents, Li said.
While the city has already begun issuing grant funding from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to help businesses impacted by the subway development, Li told Hoodline via email that the group selected merchants who were not included in the recent assistance program. "We wanted to cover areas where the city's program didn't," he said.
The RPCF funding assists 33 businesses and more than 400 low-income families with vouchers that can be redeemed at the selected business, including some of Chinatown’s food markets, bakeries, take-out dim sum and barbecue eateries and dried food stores, said Li.
Each voucher can only be redeemed at the store listed for merchandise totaling up to $20 and cannot be redeemed for cash.
Li said the program is not recurring, but if the community response is positive, "we will definitely consider funding more programs that can support small businesses in Chinatown."
The community group is also discussing future projects that would fund educational endeavors, cultural preservation and public health, Li added.
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