Mayfair, San Jose

Cesar Chavez, who founded the United Farm Workers Association, came of age in the East San Jose community of Mayfair when the area was known for orchards and canneries.  Today, Mayfair is a vibrant urban neighborhood of 10,000 residents that stands at a complex and uneasy intersection. Poverty is endemic to the community and educational attainment is low, with fewer than one in 10 adults having attended college. Yet, residents uphold strong traditions of mutual support, civic advocacy and cultural celebration. At the same time, as housing costs escalate and new infrastructure links San Jose’s neighborhoods to the city center as never before, East San Jose is again a community in transition. 

From 2012 through 2023, Cowell’s investment in Mayfair comprised 62 grants totaling $4.7 million. Our support has principally sustained two inter-connected enterprises: 

  • The In Our Hands initiative of Somos Mayfair seeks to activate residents as leaders and align effort around the singular goal of ensuring that all neighborhood children arrive at school ready to learn and achieve basic literacy by the end of third grade. The initiative has trained and supported more than 200 resident promotores who have engaged more than 6,000 of their neighbors in programs focused on health, education and economic advancement.
  • The Si Se Puede collaborative links and aligns the efforts of four community-based agencies who work with families and youth to ensure access to basic needs such as food, housing and transportation, to foster cultural expression and exchange, and to engage residents in creating safety, opportunity and recognition.

Recent grants

School of Arts and Culture
For general operating support and organizational leadership capacity building.
Inner City Advisors
To help small, locally-owned businesses in East San Jose develop plans and readiness for growth.
To launch an environmental leadership internship program for youth in East San Jose.
The Audacity Performing Arts Project
To implement a literacy, arts, and technology program in East San Jose schools.