SFMade’s Kate Sofis and the city of San Francisco’s Todd Rufo are recognized for developing model programs to create and retain middle-class jobs for urban workers
San Francisco, February 18 – With the nonprofit SFMade at the center of San Francisco’s booming manufacturing sector, Executive Director Kate Sofis and the City of San Francisco’s Todd Rufo received the Irvine Foundation Leadership Award today at a luncheon ceremony in Sacramento. The two are among six recipients of the 2016 awards, which recognize and support leaders who are advancing innovative, effective solutions to address significant issues facing California. The honor comes with a $200,000 grant, plus additional support, for SFMade.
The public/private partnership led by Sofis and Rufo has resulted in a successful model for creating a robust base of middle-class jobs. SFMade’s programs – designed to help local manufacturers start, stay and grow in San Francisco – helped the city’s manufacturing sector add 12 percent net new jobs last year. SFMade member businesses generate over $600 million each year and collectively employ more than 5,000 people, 70 percent of whom are from low to moderate-income households.
“We’re delighted to be recognized by The Irvine Foundation and will use this award to deepen SFMade’s impact and to spread news of how SFMade is a new model for nimble economic development,” said Kate Sofis. “The SFMade/City partnership is a civic collaboration that can be applied to cities large and small, with both strong and weak economies.”
SFMade is already growing into a regional initiative in the Bay Area and looks forward to helping replicate its success for communities across the state. The award comes as the state of California prepares to launch a “Made in California” platform to assist manufacturers.
“San Francisco has become a leader in this new era of urban manufacturing” said Todd Rufo, Director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Working together, we’ve created an incredible ecosystem for people to start and grow manufacturing businesses that drive good jobs for residents of diverse backgrounds.”
“We were thrilled to nominate Kate and Todd for this award because their work has proven vital for small businesses,” said Vicki Joseph, Community Relations Officer at Citi Community Development. “And it is small businesses that are job creators and beacons of opportunity, particularly in our urban areas.”
Founded in 2010, SFMade is a non-profit organization uniquely focused on building San Francisco’s economic base by developing the local urban manufacturing sector. SFMade’s programs – spanning industry-specific education, business advising, industrial real estate assistance, hiring assistance and youth apprenticeships, and a nationally recognized local brand platform – currently support 640 local manufacturers who collectively sustain well over 5,000 jobs for diverse residents of San Francisco. For more information, visit www.sfmade.org.
About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development supports the ongoing economic vitality of San Francisco by providing city-wide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, and international business development. Strengthening and growing the San Francisco manufacturing sector is a key priority for Mayor Lee and is highlighted in his 17 Point Jobs Plan and 5 Point Production, Distribution, and Repair Plan (PDR) Plan. For more information, please visit www.oewd.org.