BAYCAT is a nonprofit social enterprise and a community media producer that educates, empowers and employs diverse youth and young adults from historically underserved communities of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Studio BAYCAT hires qualified BAYCAT graduates as interns to work with clients who want to make a social impact while receiving high quality marketing, media and design services.
BB: Your model has change a bit over the years. What’s new?
VW: We have educational programs where we teaching youth, young adults as well as teachers, and we’ve expanded to have some concrete relationships with school sites. We’ve worked with Balboa, Ida B. Wells, Mission and Thurgood Marshall High Schools. We’ve also partnered with community centers like the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. We have even gone as far as meeting with their development departments and raising money together to build both our capacity.
BB: Building capacity is a big theme today in cross-sector partnerships. How are you doing that?
VW: Building capacity for other organizations is something we are very interested in, so we’ve started training teachers or trainers at the high school sites, community centers and with SF Unified School District teacher collaborations such as Teachers for Social Justice and SLANT. Teachers are really eager in expanding learning opportunities for their students by integrating media into teaching traditional content areas like science or language arts while also building media literacy, social and critical thinking skills in our young people. BAYCAT’s media education programs naturally combine these elements, so demand on the education side has really grown.
BB: I know you have many success stories with your students. Please share one.
VW: This young man, Jose, started off as an intern with us, it was a 6-month internship program. He received one-on-one mentoring, he was finishing his degree at San Francisco State but he never really had real work experience. Jose was able to get training and experience in working with our corporate clients like Yahoo!, Union Bank, San Francisco Foundation, The Institute at the Golden Gate, etc. Once upon a time he was an intern helping with a Yahoo! event capture, and two years later we’ve hired him full-time and he’s managing the Yahoo! gig. He’s actually worked on about 5 film projects at the same time that also include socially-minded videos for nonprofits and educational program partners.
This has been really exciting. You can imagine it’s a dream come true when you see our young people finding their passion for creating media at such a young age, successfully completing their education, and then BAYCAT provides them an opportunity to work in the field. He’s also a great example of someone who has come full circle by inspiring his peers and mentoring the next generation of students.
BB: One of the most impressive things about your program to me is how you're developing earned income programs to support your educational training.
VW: In the past couple years we've grown our professional media services business from earning about 10% of our income from outside production work to now over 25%. And actually when you include some of the government contracts where we produce logos and marketing collateral for local merchants on 3rd Street in Bayview Hunters Point, it brings us closer to 40% in earned income.
Up Next: Part 2: How BAYCAT’s film programs affected the community.
For more information on developing highly successful partnerships please visit: www.bruceburtch.com