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Your contribution to the Kennedy Commission will help create an environment which will result in the development of additional housing opportunities throughout the county. Your gift, when combined with others, will help: support professional education for those working in the industry of affordable homes; pass ordinances which facilitate the development of housing opportunities and; provide funding for public advocacy efforts.
100% of the Kennedy Commission's budget is funded by charitable contributions. About 77% of our funding comes from grants, with the remainder from our Annual Campaign and other fund-raising programs.
Approximately 80 cents of each dollar contributed supports our programs and services.
Our annual donors are encouraged to consider a gift at one of the following membership levels:
Individuals: $25 or more
Government agencies: $200 or more
Non-profit agencies with budgets under $300,000 annually: $250 or more
For-profit and non-profit agencies with budgets over $300,000 annually: $1,000 or more
To become a member, simply download the member application below, and mail to The Kennedy Commission.
Become A Member
Kennedy Commission Projects
Orange County Community Leadership Institute (OCCLI)
Gaining Ground: Housing Element Community Engagement Campaign
Homes For Early Learning: Child Care Centers Co-Located With Housing
Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development
Enrichment Toolbox: Community Outreach and Education Programs

Orange County Community Leadership Institute (OCCLI)

WHAT IS OCCLI: This is an exciting moment. OCCLI is a new leadership development project with goals to build leadership capabilities across Orange County. Collaborating to create interactive and instructive classes, the sessions will allow participants to meet and learn from other leaders across the county. These pilot sessions are designed to build upon prior training for existing leaders and require a set of skills and commitment to community change efforts. The first graduating class will be critical participants in forming the institute going forward and will have the opportunity to influence its implementation going forward. 

WHO ARE WE:  The Orange County Community Leadership Institute (OCCLI) is a collaborative effort of four trusted grass-roots and visionary non-profit organizations; each dedicated to building low-income families social movement networks. The partners in this collaborative effort are the Kennedy Commission (KC), Latino Health Access (LHA), Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO) and Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD).  

WHY HAVE WE COME TOGETHER:  Despite many small victories in our local communities, leaders from our organizations are hungry for bigger and better things. We believe small victories in our local communities are important and we continue to address them. However, these small victories have not addressed the unjust policies and systems that afflict our communities. These unjust policies and systems are complex and far reaching. Without a broader and deeper understanding of these policies and how they developed, our leaders will not be able to effectively change them. Also, many of our leaders and organizations have historically been working on their own in "silos". We need to build common power to go beyond small local victories. Our families are suffering much systemic hardship in our communities partly because we have not learned from each other and coalesced power.  

WHAT DO WE HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH:  OCCLI hopes to leverage the four organizational resources, institutional knowledge and networks to create the curriculum and intends to build upon the existing networks.  

The broad outcomes of this partnership will lead to the following over time:   1) Develop a common vision for social change; 2) Learn how to overcome barriers that keep us from reaching our collective vision; 3) Build leadership capabilities across Orange County.

These four organizations represent distinct advocacy and policy work that complement the formation of a leadership institute. The ultimate goal is to build individual and organizational capacity to advocate for social, economic and political change at the local, county and state level for issues impacting working families.

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Initiative

The California Endowment selected the City of Santa Ana as one of the Endowment's 14 "places" for its strategic initiative of Building Healthy Communities.  As part of the steering committee for this effort, the Kennedy Commission has been working with community partners to plan and implement the Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Residents and organizations have worked to develop priorities for the community of Santa Ana. Safe, quality affordable homes have been determined to be a top priority in the community. 

The California Endowment has started funding some initial programs.  Organizations and residents are currently meeting to plan community outreach and create a common vision to implement the funded programs.

The Kennedy Commission will continue to work with the community, partners and the City to increase affordable home opportunities and improve existing housing conditions.

Gaining Ground: Housing Element Community Engagement Campaign
Each city and county in California is required by law to plan for the development of new affordable homes. Each city has a General Plan, which acts as a local constitution for land use and development. This plan includes a housing plan known as the Housing Element. The Housing Element must be updated every 5 years. The current planning period is 2008-2014.
The regional council of governments allocates to each city and county a number of new homes that must be planned for. This number is known as the Regional Housing Needs Asessment (RHNA). Each city's RHNA is further divided into income categories: extremely low, very low, low, moderate, and above moderate. The RHNA is calculated based on a multitude of factors including land availability, population growth, job resources, etc.
While the law does not require cities to build these homes, it requires cities to adopt a plan which allows for the development of homes between 2008-2014. For example, within the Housing Element, cities must identify feasible sites to accommodate the construction of the allocated RHNA. Cities may also have to rezone land or remove building restrictions such as density or parking requirements to make the construction possible.
Cities are also required to engage the community in the Housing Element process, thus cities will hold public workshops to discuss their intentions with the upcoming Housing Element. Cities must also provide drafts of the Housing Element for public comment before the document is adopted.
It is extremely important for the community to be aware of the Housing Element process and for residents to attend workshops and express support for the development of affordable housing. The Housing Element revision process is an opportunity to obtain good housing measures implemented into our local communities, which will make the actual building of these homes more possible over the next 5 years.
The Kennedy Commission has launched the Orange County Housing Element Campaign, known as Gaining Ground. The campaign's goals are threefold:
  • Educate cities and citizens about workable solutions to the shortage of affordable homes (and, especially, show cities that have not built enough affordable homes how other cities have been more successful).
  • Get these proven strategies into cities' Housing Elements, where they become enforceable commitments.
  • Get more people and more organizations involved in housing advocacy locally and regionally for the long term.

For more information about our Housing Element Campaign, please use the links below.

Housing Element Advocacy Resource List (PDF)
Housing Element Advocacy Timeline (PDF)
Orange County RHNA (PDF)
Housing Element Campaign (PDF)

Housing Element Toolbox (PDF)

For a current list of cities which have released a Housing Element draft for public review, view Released Housing Element (PDF).

Homes for Early Learning: Child Care Co-Located With Affordable Housing
In 2007, the Kennedy Commission received a capacity building grant from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. This grant will enable the Commission to accomplish two important goals: complete an analysis of our organizational sustainability through the creation of a business plan and conduct research into the barriers to developing early learning (child care) centers co-located in affordable housing communities.

The Commission recognized that the co-located development model is working successfully in many California communities, but has not been implemented in Orange County. The Commission's research focused on identifying successful aspects of co-located development models from other communities and identifying the barriers to development in Orange County. The results of the Commission's research have been published in a White Paper. The results of our two "case studies", Anaheim and Irvine, will be published soon.

View White Paper.
View Statewide List of Co-located Sites
View Project Updates.
Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development

The Kennedy Commission has partnered with Orange County Congregation Community Organizations (OCCCO) and St. Joseph Hospital to form the Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Redevelopment (SACReD), a low-income community leadership initiative in support of redevelopment reform in the Logan and Lacy neighborhoods in the City of Santa Ana, California. Currently, the city's redevelopment and planning processes for these neighborhoods have been conducted without the meaningful outreach and participation of the community's low-income Latino residents. Funded by the St. Joseph Health System Foundation, the collaborative will implement a training program that will provide low-income residents the technical knowledge and skills needed to engage decision-makers in the redevelopment, land use and housing policy arenas.

View Project Updates.


Enrichment Toolbox: Community Outreach and Education Programs

Community Training Programs

Are you or do you know someone who is:

  • Looking for housing in Orange County?
  • Living in extremely crowded conditions?
  • Commuting long distances to work each day?
  • Having difficulty communicating with a landlord?
  • Experiencing credit problems?
  • Struggling to become personally empowered?

The Kennedy Commission offers a variety of training options tailored specifically to meet the needs of community members (residents), community-based groups, health care staff or patients, faith-based organizations, and business and city/county professionals. The training process may include an initial needs assessment, presentation development, presentations, follow-up sessions and final evaluations.

Individual presentations may consist of one or more sessions utilizing several instructional approaches to learning, including: interactive discussions, individual/group exercises, lectures, guest lecturers, Power-Point, videos, and reference materials.

View Available Training Topics.
Voter Education and Outreach
Civic engagement is a powerful part of developing and implementing policies that create housing opportunities.  The Kennedy Commission believes in providing the tools and resources needed for voters to be informed on current legislation that impacts their communities.
View Project Updates .
  17701 Cowan Avenue, Suite 200 - Irvine CA 92614 - Phone (949) 250-0909 - Fax (949) 263-0647