San Francisco—In a city with the most rapidly growing income inequality in America, an unlikely coalition will unite Thursday to help close the
achievement gap between children of San Francisco’s haves and have nots, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.

The group, which includes supervisors from the city’s wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods, tech giants and grassroots organizations, is sponsoring a fundraising reception to support a five-week literacy summer camp where nearly 200 Western Addition youth attend classes at Convent & Stuart Hall. The program, which is provided through the San Francisco Public Defender’s Mo’ Magic Program, combats summer learning loss with educational field trips, books and mentorship opportunities.

The event, More than Magic, will be held Thursday, May 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the General’s Residence in San Francisco’s Fort Mason. Tickets are $100 and are available through Eventbrite at morethanmagic2014.eventbrite.com

“More than Magic” is co-sponsored by Supervisor London Breed, who represents the Western Addition, where she was raised by her grandmother in public housing; and Supervisor Mark Farrell, whose district—where he also grew up–includes tony Seacliff, Pacific Heights and the Marina. They are working collaboratively to ensure Western addition children and teens have summer experiences similar to kids from wealthy neighborhoods.

“Research has consistently shown that students lose academic skills during the summer break and that the rate of that decline is directly tied to family socioeconomic status,” said Mo’ Magic Executive Director Sheryl Davis. “Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading and language has been attributed to summer learning loss.”

A Brookings Institution study released in March showed the gap between San Francisco’s rich and poor residents is widening more quickly than any other U.S. city.

“Normally, the story of income inequality is one of ‘us and them,’” said Adachi, whose office provides legal representation to San Francisco’s poorest residents. “In this case, neighborhoods that are often at odds about crime are working jointly to break the school to prison pipeline by providing opportunities to youth.”

Facebook is the title sponsor for the event. Additional sponsors include Recology, Google, PG&E, Conway Family Foundation, Lennar Urban, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, Wasserman Media Group, Safeway, BOMA, LinkedIn and Webster Tower and Terrace.

Breed and Farrell will speak at Thursday’s fundraiser, along with Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.

Mo’ MAGIC is a collaborative of service providers working together to support children and youth in San Francisco. Over the last eight years Mo’ MAGIC has convened over 50 service providers and helped create opportunities for youth to grow in the Western Addition.

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