Civic Bridge: Bridging civic impact opportunities with private-sector resources

Inspired by what could be learned from the great pool of talent and expertise in the City and County of San Francisco’s backyard, Civic Bridge was launched in 2015 to match civic challenges with skilled volunteers from the private sector. Since then, Civic Bridge has partnered 29 City departments with 26 private-sector organizations to produce 55 pro bono projects. More than 37,000 hours have been volunteered — adding up to $5.48+ million in pro bono contributions of new ideas and impactful deliverables for San Franciscans.

Read on to learn about one inspiring project and how you might contribute your skills to help tackle civic challenges.

Featured project: Helping renters better understand and exercise their rights

San Francisco’s Rent Board protects tenants from unjust evictions and excessive rent increases while assuring landlords fair and adequate rents. Over the years, City rent ordinances have grown complex and challenging to understand for renters and landlords alike. To help residents better understand their rights, the Rent Board teamed up with Civic Consulting Alliance on a Civic Bridge project last spring. The impact? A user-friendly website laying the legalese out in clear language — making Rent Board ordinances and services more accessible to everyone.

The team applied the Pareto principle — which describes what happens when eighty percent of consequences come from 20 percent of causes — to the Rent Board’s website and call volume. The team then dug into common false assumptions and frequently asked questions to curate a collection of helpful content that sorted and addressed each topic more clearly.

The Rent Board lent their knowledge of the legalities, while the content strategists translated the technical specs into digestible descriptions and the designers carefully crafted the website’s layout so residents can easily find what they need. All the while, project leads emphasized the website’s goal and value to ensure the new tool would have a long and useful life under Rent Board care.

The Office of Civic Innovation’s Civic Bridge program is all about collaboration — and recognizing that to go far, the community needs to go together. The Rent Board and Civic Consulting Alliance delivered a more meaningful tool thanks to teamwork: a website where residents can easily understand and exercise their rights.

Tackle civic challenges with the Office of Civic Innovation

Join Civic Bridge’s roster of private-sector partners alongside organizations like Accenture, Adobe, Gensler, Google, and Slalom! We work with our partners to recruit employees as volunteers to work part-time alongside City staff for 16 weeks innovating agile solutions to complicated City challenges. Is your organization interested in partnering with OCI? Fill out an interest form here.

Individual volunteers are also welcome. Fill out the interest form above to stay updated on future volunteering opportunities.

The Office of Civic Innovation’s mission is to empower government to become more collaborative, inventive, and responsive to San Franciscans. OCI supports Mayoral priorities by introducing new approaches, resources, and technologies to City Departments.

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San Francisco Office of Civic Innovation

San Francisco Office of Civic Innovation

San Francisco Office of Civic Innovation, making @sfgov more collaborative, inventive and responsive to San Franciscans. #civicinnovation