SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- The Zellerbach Family Foundation announced today that the Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT) has received the first annual William J. Zellerbach Award for Social Change. The award was established to honor the legacy of William J. Zellerbach, who served as the foundation’s Board Chair from 1960 until his death in 2017.
The award recognizes BAYCAT’s visionary approach to advancing social justice and addressing the pressing needs faced by Bay Area communities through systems and cultural change. Established in 2004 and based in San Francisco, BAYCAT is a nonprofit social enterprise that educates, empowers, and employs young people from historically underserved San Francisco communities in digital media arts, including video and music production, animation, and graphic and web design.
“BAYCAT’s innovative social enterprise model and its commitment to equity and justice is a powerful example of how to effect lasting and positive social change in the Bay Area,” said Tom Zellerbach, Board Chair of the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the son of William J. Zellerbach. “Dad was deeply committed to San Francisco and believed in the power of partnership to strengthen families and communities. We are proud to honor BAYCAT as the inaugural recipient of this award in my father’s name.”
Fundamental to BAYCAT’s mission is diversifying the creative media industry to better reflect and represent people of color, changing the stories that are told and who gets to tell them. By educating, empowering, and employing youth and young adults to produce digital media that tells their unique stories, BAYCAT seeks to reduce the creative digital divide; expand the perspectives offered in TV, film, and other media content, challenging stereotypes; and break the cycle of bias that reinforces and perpetuates inequity.
"We are honored to be the first recipient of the William J. Zellerbach Award for Social Change. At BAYCAT, we are focused on ending racism and sexism through storytelling. We believe that if we change the storytellers, we can change the world for the better. It takes a village to tackle such a big challenge, and we are genuinely excited and inspired to have The Zellerbach Family Foundation as a thought partner in our quest," said Villy Wang, Founder, President & CEO of BAYCAT.
The William J. Zellerbach Award seeks to recognize innovative efforts that have the potential for sustainable change in the region, including reforming policy, institutions, systems, and/or culture to ensure equitable outcomes for everyone that calls the Bay Area home. The Zellerbach Family Foundation called for nominees for the inaugural award in March 2019 to include public charities located in and serving San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Marin, Sonoma, and/or Napa county. A selection committee that included Zellerbach Family Foundation board members, community leaders, and subject matter experts from the field selected the recipient. As part of the award, BAYCAT will receive $50,000.
About the Zellerbach Family Foundation
Since its inception in 1868, The Zellerbach Family Foundation has worked in the San Francisco
Bay Area to be a catalyst for constructive social change and invest in efforts that strengthen families and communities. The Zellerbach Family Foundation has granted over $113 million, including to support human services systems, immigration and refugees, culture and community arts in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @zfforg or find out more at www.zff.org.