Black history is American history, and at Metta Fund, we believe that Black History Month presents a unique opportunity to celebrate, reflect upon, and honor the achievements, culture, and history of Black leaders, past and present.
No matter the time of year, we must remember and honor the trailblazers who paved the way. It is equally important to recognize and spotlight today’s Black leaders, changemakers, and unsung heroes. In this vein, Metta Fund is committed to lifting up the leadership and dedicated work of Black leaders working to advance the wellbeing of our communities.
During Black History Month, we are profiling just a few of the many local Black leaders who are working to make change.
Black History Month Spotlight: Kimberly Brandon, Metta Fund Board Chair
Native San Franciscans are exceedingly rare in our ever-changing city of transplants and transients. Meet Kimberly Brandon, Metta Fund Board Chair, long-time public servant, and retired financial executive.
Deeply connected to her hometown, she is the daughter of well-respected community leaders and civil rights activists, who instilled the spirit of compassion and service. While she held successful positions in financial services – most recently as Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley – Ms. Brandon has dedicated much of her life to volunteerism and public service. In San Francisco, she is known for her community engagement, her savvy business acumen, as well as her influential negotiating skills as Port Commissioner, where she was the first African American woman appointed in 1997. Over the years, she has served as board member and advisor at a number of anchor institutions – the Museum of the African Diaspora, the San Francisco State University Foundation, the San Francisco Grants for the Arts Advisory Panel, the San Francisco Chapter of Links, Inc., and PACT Inc. – to name a few.
Ms. Brandon remains passionate about her birthplace, which has undergone massive changes since her upbringing, when she enjoyed a carefree childhood and all that San Francisco had to offer. When there was a thriving African American population, before the well-documented Black exodus of San Francisco.
As she reminisces about that time, it’s clear she longs for those prosperous and joyful days. “African Americans have played a vital role in the social, cultural, political, and economic development of San Francisco,” she reminds us. “Today’s Black San Franciscans are still fighting for many of the things my parents and their forefathers advocated for.”
African Americans have played a vital role in the social, cultural, political, and economic development of San Francisco.
The dwindling Black population profoundly concerns her, having watched countless friends and family members leave the City. The loneliness of being Black in San Francisco has gained attention in movies and the broader media, yet little has helped to alleviate the mass exodus. Her hope is that the City and its residents can make intentional efforts to make San Francisco a more accessible and welcoming place for Black Americans. “After centuries of injustice and decades of disinvestment in Black communities, we ought to incentivize African Americans to stay and return to San Francisco. We ought to work collaboratively on programs to both stop the displacement and welcome Black folks back.”
Asked what Black History Month means to her, she states that “it represents an opportunity to learn and understand the past – not only to pay tribute to our ancestors’ struggles and contributions, but also so we can better address today’s enduring inequities,” says Brandon. “Black History Month is every month, and we’ve got some work to do.”
Black History Month represents an opportunity to learn and understand the past – not only to pay tribute to our ancestors’ struggles and contributions, but also so we can better address today’s enduring inequities.
Indeed, we do, Ms. Brandon. Thank you for your years of service and unrelenting commitment to the City of San Francisco.