We’re proud to share our 2016 Annual Report, detailing our expenses, revenue and programs for the past fiscal year:
Here, we’re including the full text of the letter from our Executive Director, Sherilyn Adams, and Board Chair, Laura Powell, with their update on the past year, and what’s ahead:
Thank you for caring about youth who experience homelessness in San Francisco. Thank you for being a partner in this work—you are our volunteers, our donors, and our thought partners, and you are part of the Larkin Street family because you want to be informed and active in the fight to end youth homelessness.
For many, this has been a difficult year. Each of us has a story to tell about how 2016 took a personal toll—from unfathomable acts of violence in Orlando, St. Paul, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, to the divisiveness of the 2016 election. As we step into 2017, we are looking for ways to keep this painful history from repeating itself, and we are redoubling our commitment to create and expand opportunities for our vulnerable young people.
Recently, one of our dedicated staff members reminded us about a message from social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy. Stevenson says that we can change the world in four steps. First, we must get close to the problems we care about, so we can understand what is at stake and what real solutions require. Second, we have to change the narrative. We must look hard at what is true and change the story when damaging misinformation is repeated as truth. Next, sometimes we need to do uncomfortable things. Even when it’s scary, we must stand up for what we believe. And finally, we must remain hopeful, because hope is at the center of meaningful change.
These inspiring words remind us that our work is always to understand and share the lived experience of the young people we serve, to ensure their truth is heard. We are in the business of fostering and creating hope for all, even when it is difficult or makes us uncomfortable.
The successes we’ve seen at Larkin Street this year make us hopeful, too. We are in the final stage of our $10 million Growth Campaign with more than $9 million raised. We are delivering on the ambitious goals of our strategic plan, providing deeper and broader opportunities for our young people, and setting a new bar among high-performing nonprofits. We have been asked to take a leadership role in broad-based efforts at the national level, and continue to work hard at the state and local levels, too, making real and lasting progress toward ending youth homelessness.
Our greatest successes are not our own, but those we share with the young people in our services. Those successes are living wage jobs, post-secondary degrees, stable and sustainable housing, and better health. We ask our young people every day to take big risks based on their hope for something better, and we must do the same.
On behalf of every member of the Larkin Street community—our Board, our staff, and our young people—thank you for showing up and making a difference.
Sherilyn Adams Laura Powell
Executive Director Chair, Board of Directors