Sacramento: Children’s Fund
A.C.T. Success Stories
Sacramento youth led community organizations drove the campaign for Measure L, establishing a Sacramento Children’s Fund. The fund earmarks an amount equivalent to 40% of local cannabis licensing fees. It also creates a permanent source of youth funding upwards of $10 million dollars a year.
Starting in 2016, community organizations and supporters spent countless hours volunteering, canvasing, and persuading Sacramentans to increase investments in the city’s children and youth, with priority given to those most impacted by poverty, violence, and trauma.
Sac Kids First, led by Youth Forward, began collaborating with All Children Thrive in 2021. A.C.T. funded and supported Youth Forward because of the direct impact that a children’s fund would have on all five of the A.C.T. community action areas. The funding could be used to promote healthy child development, create protective environments, improve youth development and civic engagement, strengthen economic supports for children and families, and/or create access to safe and stable housing.
After Sacramento city council voted 8-1 to put measure L on the November 2022 ballot, A.C.T. and Sac Kids First recruited youth and community members, conducted team meetings, and educated the community on the importance of a continuous investment in local youth. With A.C.T. guidance, youth and community leaders developed and distributed fact sheets and met with community members and local officials.
A previous attempt to create the Sacramento Children’s Fund was rejected by voters in 2020 by 54% to 45%. An analysis of the vote entitled A Tale of Two Cities found those who voted ‘NO’ came from predominantly white, wealthy neighborhoods. Supporters from diverse neighborhoods of lower income.
Opponents to the 2022 Measure L suggested ample money was already set aside for youth. They also expressed concerns about the authority and nature of spending decisions. Supporters like the Teacher’s Association understood the value in year over year investment to prevent childhood adversity.
In June of 2022, Mayor Darrell Steinberg reversed previous opposition to the Children’s Fund and instead previewed the initiative at his State of the city address. In a meeting with Sac Kids First, he said, “This is a statement that not only do we value young people, but we believe we should grant them real power, because that is what makes a difference in our society, and in our city and in the way we make decisions.”
On November 8th, 2022, Measure L passed resoundingly with 62.77% of voters in support. Measure L requires a portion of the General Fund to be allocated to a new Sacramento Children’s Fund and requires the budget to use a certain amount of the General Fund to maintain pre-existing levels of youth services.
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