In early 2014, two friends hanging out along Dakota Street, a main thoroughfare through Potrero Hill’s public housing complex, got to talking. Mr. Donald Greene and Mr. Billy Ray Courtney were adult residents of the Potrero Terraces projects, and had seen and experienced a lot in their lives, both good and bad. They wanted to find a way to share their wisdom with the up and coming young men in the neighborhood, and see if they could mentor them on how to defuse tensions, improve their life opportunities, and avoid the wrong paths going forward. They had already been there, done that…
Around the same time, Donald’s wife, Ms. Uzuri Pease-Greene, was employed by Bridge Housing Development and was gaining experience in community leadership both in San Francisco, and through professional meetings in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD. Through observing Uzuri’s work meetings, as well as her organizational support, Donald and Billy decided to go ahead and formalize their group and thus the Community Awareness Resources Entity (C.A.R.E.) was born. A Potrero Hill neighborhood lawyer, Mr. J.R. Eppler incorporated the organization as a 501(c)(3) in December of 2015, qualifying it as a non-profit under IRS rules so that any gifts made to C.A.R.E. would be tax deductible. This also allowed the organization to file grant applications for funding opportunities at both the National and State level.
They started with a simple mission of trying to repair some of the internal hostility in the neighborhood, bringing together the whole community for a giant Thanksgiving Feast in 2014, where all were welcome so long as they adhered to the C.A.R.E ‘No Drama Zone’ rule. It was a resounding success, feeding hundreds of residents during the holidays and building bridges between groups that otherwise would never mix.
The group’s ongoing mission is to make the neighborhood safe for residents. This involves creating good relationships between the police and residents as well as feeding children, youth and adults. It also means helping the community to become better educated in the many resources available to it.