Other Group

Dream Keeper Initiative




San Francisco, CA


Grantmaking Organization




Project of San Fransisco Human Rights Commission


Saidah Leatutufu-Burch

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The Dream Keeper Initiative (also known as Dream Keeper) is a critical race theory-aligned grantmaking initiative of the City of San Fransisco’s Human Rights Commission.


In June 2020, after the death of George Floyd, San Fransisco Mayor London Breed (D) and Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton (D) announced a plan to “prioritize” the “redirection” of $120 million from law enforcement agencies to support programming for the county’s black community. Also, during that time, Walton introduced a resolution calling for “reparations” for black residents of San Francisco. 1

In February 2021, following meetings with local stakeholders, the Commission launched the Dream Keeper Initiative (also called Dream Keeper) and Mayor Breed and Supervisor Walton announced the availability of $60 million in annual funding for such programming to be administered through eight of the City of San Fransisco’s departments. Later in 2022, Breed annualized the initiative’s $60 million in funding. 2


Though the Dream Keeper Initiative’s website describes itself as being founded following San Fransisco’s Board President Shamann Walton’s resolution calling for “reparations” for San Fransisco’s black community, the organization explicitly notes on its website’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page that its grants are not reparations, but rather “an investment into San Francisco’s black communities.” 3 4


The Dream Keeper Initiative has made grants ranging in size from $10,000 to $1.4 million to organizations including the African American Art and Culture Complex, African-American Shakespeare Company, Centers for Equity and Success, SF Black Wall Street, Homeless Children’s Network, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Veteran’s Alley, Renaissance Center, Black Women Revolt Against Domestic Violence, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, St. James Infirmary, Transgender District, Collective Impact, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement, SF Brown Bombers, Inc, Stand in Peace International, Ladies In Power, Total Woman Empowerment, Love Never Fails, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project, Robert Moses’ KIN, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, Felton Institute, and MyPath. 5


As of December 2023, though the Dream Keeper Initiative is primarily a grantmaking organization, the organization notes on its website that it intends to provide trainings and workshops focused on capacity building, program development, and community research to grantees of the organization in future, which will feature employees of the City of San Fransisco’s Human Rights Commission, consultants, and academics. 6


Saidah Leatutufu-Burch is the director of the Dream Keeper Initiative as well as a self-described “activist and disrupter of anti-black racism and systems rooted in White supremacist ideology.” In a January 2023 interview with the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education’s blog, Leatutufu-Burch noted that she is “most passionate about” the attainment of “Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty” within her lifetime. 7 8

Sheryl Evans Davis is the executive director of the Dream Keeper Initiative’s parent organization, the San Fransisco Human Rights Commission. In addition to Dream Keeper, she also oversees the Commission’s Equity Studies Task Force, Blue Ribbon Panel for Juvenile Justice Reform, and Close Juvenile Hall Working Group. Previously, Davis was the founding director of Mo’MAGIC, a program of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office that focuses on youth issues in San Francisco’s Fillmore District; a member of both the San Fransisco Police Department Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Policing Advisory Committees; a member of the Fillmore Community Benefits District; and a member of the Redevelopment Agency’s Western Addition Citizen Advisory Committee. 9 10


  1.  “History.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/history
  2. “History.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/history
  3. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/faqs
  4. “History.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/history
  5. “Funding the Dream.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/funding
  6. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/faqs
  7. Krieger, Dinae. “This OCL grad is bringing a reformer’s zeal to government service.” USC Rossier: School of Education. January 17, 2023. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://rossier.usc.edu/news-insights/news/ocl-grad-bringing-reformers-zeal-government-service
  8. “Our Team.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023.  https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/who-we-are
  9. “Sheryl Evans Davis.” The City and County of San Franscisco. Accessed December 11, 2023.  https://sf.gov/profile/sheryl-evans-davis
  10. “Our Team.” Dream Keeper. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.dreamkeepersf.org/who-we-are
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Dream Keeper Initiative

San Francisco, CA