Coleman Children and Youth Services

aka Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth   |   San Francisco, CA   |


Coleman builds the leadership and power of low-income and working class youth and parents of color in San Francisco to advance racial and economic justice in our schools and our city. Through grassroots organizing, budget and policy advocacy, and voter engagement, we are building a city of hope, justice, and opportunity – a San Francisco where all children and families have access to high-quality education, living wage jobs, family-supporting benefits, affordable housing, and a voice in the decisions that affect us.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Neva Walker

Main address

459 Vienna St.

San Francisco, CA 94112 USA

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NTEE code info

Citizen Participation (W24)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Nonprofit Management (S50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Youth Making A Change (YMAC)

Youth Making a Change continues to be an innovative, effective, and dynamic youth leadership and youth organizing program for hundreds of young people (ages 13-18) in San Francisco. YMAC organizes low-income and working class young people of color to make change in their schools, their communities, and in their own lives. YMAC’s nearly 25 year-model is built upon the most effective youth development, policy advocacy and community organizing strategies.

Population(s) Served

Parents Making a Change is Coleman’s multi-racial, multi-lingual parent leadership and organizing program. PMAC is led by low income parents of color, to address the most urgent needs of struggling families in San Francisco, build their own leadership and advocacy skills, and their collective power. Based on our strategic plan, PMAC continues to focus on creating a more equitable education system.

Population(s) Served

CMAC is the academic support and cultural enrichment program for the elementary and middle school-aged children of our Parents Making a Change (PMAC) members.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Coleman's long-term education equity goal is to end the racial achievement and opportunity gaps in San Francisco public schools. We are fighting for systemic change to improve academic and life outcomes and expand opportunities for African American, Latino, and Pacific Islander students and their families.
Over the next 5 years, we are focused on developing positive and equitable school climate for students and their families in San Francisco. We are working to transform SFUSD schools so that students feel safe, supported, affirmed and engaged; parents are actively involved as essential partners in student success; and both students and parents are engaged and supported as leaders in school change.

Coleman's staff, members, and board members believe that sustainable and meaningful change happens for families and children in San Francisco when a synergy of community organizing, policy analysis, persistent advocacy and public will is created and sustained. City government, political processes, and private economic interests together create the “systems" which influence, and to a large extent, dictate, the wellbeing and opportunities of low-income families in the city. In order to move that “system", community members must take on several inter-related strategies:

Leadership development: Systems change happens when community members decide to take leadership in changing the conditions in their lives, develop a shared analysis of community problems, internalize shared values and principles, build skills, organize other leaders and supporters and participate in collective action.

Base-building: Systems change happens when increasing numbers of community members join together, take action and build the collective power to hold systems accountable to the community's needs and interests.

Community-driven Campaigns for Policy Change: Systems change happens when tenacious, representative, informed and principled leaders conduct research to identify policy solutions to community problems; decide, lead, and win specific policy campaigns (in the context of a strategic social change agenda) that will improve people's lives;

Keeping Our Eyes on the System: Systems change happens when professional advocates and community leaders play a monitoring or “watchdog" role -- maintain knowledge of policy issues and decision-making processes, and develop relationships with people inside the system. This helps determine when there is a political opportunity, what might be the most effective campaign strategy and what policy solutions will work.

Strategic Voter Engagement: Systems change happens when historically disenfranchised communities are empowered to form an engaged electorate that can shift the balance of power and make a decisive impact on elections in favor of our communities' needs.

Coalitions & Alliance-building: Systems change happens when community organizations form strategic long or short-term alliances to move forward a community agenda, so that a larger base and more resources are available to win larger-scale change than is possible to achieve alone.

Relationship building and community-building: Every year, Coleman supports members to organize numerous social and cultural events, ceremonies, and exchanges. Being part of a community of people with shared experiences and a shared vision for change - and people who will have your back in times of need - is a major draw for many people to our programs and it is also what sustains and nurtures their long-term engagement. Additionally, we take every opportunity we can to celebrate milestones and achievements.

Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth is among the nation's premier grassroots organizing and advocacy institutions, with a forty-four-year track record of independent, courageous, and effective social change work that has improved the lives of tens of thousands of low-income children and families in San Francisco.

Coleman Advocates is exceptionally qualified to do the work we do. Over multiple decades, we have honed and demonstrated a rare expertise in grassroots education equity advocacy and organizing. We have a tremendous breadth and depth of knowledge – both quantitative and qualitative - about education equity issues, trends and best practices. And we have a unique capacity to translate complex policy and reform processes to the students and families most affected.

No one else in San Francisco is organizing our constituency around education. We are the only organization in San Francisco empowering and engaging the city's most disenfranchised students and families to make change in their schools. No other group that works with parents, for example, works primarily with Spanish-speaking Latinx immigrant and Black parents.

We've earned the trust of our constituents. We are a rare community organization with a positive reputation and strong relationships even in SF neighborhoods with historical distrust of nonprofits.

We've earned the trust of SFUSD faculty, staff and leadership. We are the only member-led organizing group with the relationships and the reputation to negotiate and secure formal partnerships with schools (including official MOUs with target campuses), district staff, and Board of Ed members to design and implement education reform efforts. Our staff and members participate on (and in some cases co-chair) numerous district-level taskforces and committees.

Over the last 40 years, Coleman has been a uniquely successful grassroots community voice for all of the city's children, youth and families, inspiring activists and organizations around the country. Over the last four decades, we have:

➢ Won hundreds of millions of dollars in city funding for kids, by establishing the first tax set-aside for children's services called the Children's Fund in 1991 (and reauthorizing and expanding it in 2001 and expanding it in 2014)

➢ Created new public systems for quality, affordable child care, and alternatives to incarceration for vulnerable youth

➢ Helped to create multiple vehicles for meaningful parent engagement in SFUSD, including the SF Parent Advisory Council.

➢Developed and won major equity-based reforms to the San Francisco public school system, including a policy ensuring all students have access to college preparatory courses and a policy transforming the district's approach to school discipline and police on campuses.

➢  Won the resources to start 7 school-based Wellness Centers in SFUSD

➢ Created and institutionalized the SF Youth Vote Program and the SF Youth Commission.

➢Helped to found San Francisco Rising, an alliance of 8 base-building organizations working to build political power in low-income communities of color.

➢ Successfully advocated for a dramatic expansion of the city's investment in workforce development resources in district 11.

➢Mobilized tens of thousands of people to take action for children

➢ Intensively trained thousands of parent and student leaders

➢ Helped to win every school bond measure and we helped spearhead the “Prop H" Great Schools ballot measure campaign that now brings in $60 million of city funding to the under-funded public schools.


Coleman Children and Youth Services

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Coleman Children and Youth Services

Board of directors
as of 4/30/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rosario Cervantes

Curtis Chan

SF Department of Public Health

Giuliana Milanese

California Nurses Association

Ianthia Mack

Parents Making a Change

Stephen Bingham

Bay Area Legal Aid

Maria Torre

Parent Voices

Leon Augustine

Edward Jones

Christina Canaveral

New School San Francisco

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes