The Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) has been committed to empowering communities and changing lives in the Greater Sacramento region since 1968. Through focused efforts to empower, educate and employ youth and families, they have assisted thousands of Sacramentans gain meaningful employment; access safe, affordable and stable housing; reach their educational goals; overcome health disparities; and improve their overall health and wellness.
GSUL services fulfill an empowerment mission agenda of the following five pillars: civic engagement and leadership empowerment; civil rights and racial justice empowerment; economic empowerment; education and youth empowerment; and health and quality of life empowerment.
“As we look forward to our 55th year in the region, and 30th year headquartered in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood, we remain committed to growing and sustaining our flagship programs benefiting diverse, underserved and marginalized populations regionally while aggressively venturing to reach new heights in Del Paso Heights,” says Dwayne Crenshaw, J.D., president and CEO.
Specifically, GSUL is looking to move forward with a mixed-use development on a .74-acre vacant lot they own adjacent to their Del Paso Heights headquarters to serve as a catalyst for further community economic development along Marysville Boulevard. It is anticipated the sustainability of this community-benefitting development project will be ignited and made more viable by GSUL implementing new programming in entrepreneurship, financial empowerment and home ownership. Moreover, targeted workforce development in high-growth job sectors with in-demand skills offering family-sustaining wages will become key components of GSUL’s work around jobs and careers.
“We offer an array of services to help generate employment opportunities for those in need of job training, a career job or professional upskilling for advancement or making a career change,” says Ronnie L. Cobb, GSUL director of recruitment, education and training. “Our programs have always been vital to those all too often overlooked and underprepared by society, and this has been even more critical during the pandemic.”
In its recently published “State of Black America” report, the National Urban League’s 2022 Black-White Equality Index put Black Americans at 73.9 percent attainment relative to White Americans across five categories: economic status, health, education, social justice and civic engagement. For instance, the equality index noted a median household income for Black people of $44,000, which was 37 percent less than that of White people. The data indicates Black people are also less likely to benefit from home ownership, which has fueled generational wealth among Americans.
“We’re all in on closing the generational wealth gap and boosting economic prosperity among the people and families we serve,” says Paul Kaiser, GSUL housing manager. “Financial empowerment leads to greater food and housing security, lower incidences of crime and violence, improved education outcomes, less stress and an overall happier home life. In financially capable communities, everyone benefits, and so does the whole region.”
Looking ahead, GSUL has tremendous opportunities arising from its planned mixed-use development. Commencement of the project will serve as a catalyst for a comprehensive community economic development revitalization initiative along the entire Marysville Boulevard corridor. As presently designed, the development will have 63,569 square feet of total building space in five stories. This will include a mixture of ground-floor commercial retail and three stories of 32 affordable housing units consisting of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.
“GSUL is ready to heavily lean into this opportunity by doubling down on our five-pillared empowerment agenda in Del Paso Heights,” Crenshaw says. “We envision an evolution of our existing presence and impact through organizing and leading a community-centric, public-private partnership deeply invested in and committed to significant improvement of the quality of life across sectors for youth and families in ‘The Heights.’”