"Silicon Valley congressman nets millions for Black cultural center"

March 12, 2024


The Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center aims to break ground next year and host a variety of services, including an on-site health clinic and more than 100 apartments. 

Rendering of proposed Silicon Valley African American Cultural Center on The Alameda will be the new home for the African American Community Services Agency and a host of services. Courtesy of Walter Wilson.

“It’s going to be an amazing development and, more importantly, it’s not just going to be a box. It’s going to be a beautiful work of art,” Project Manager Walter Wilson told San José Spotlight.

Wilson added that pre-development is mostly complete and the project team is working on entitlements and designs.

The center has an estimated price tag of $200 million, but the project team is preparing for a 10-month campaign to raise $50 million for the project’s non-housing parts. Wilson said they’re already about halfway there.

“With the kind of resources here in this valley, I think it’ll be challenging but I think it is doable, in a 10-month period, to raise the $25 million we need to raise,” he told San José Spotlight.

The funding obtained by Khanna is the largest contribution yet. It’s part of a total $14.7 million secured by the congressmember for community projects across his district, all of which will go toward infrastructure and supportive services.

The project also received $3 million from the state, thanks to state Sen. Dave Cortese. Wilson said they sent requests for funding to the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office and state Assemblymember Ash Kalra for the next budget cycle. The project is looking to gather support from private companies in the area, with Google already signed on as a sponsor.

Year after year, research has shown that Black residents of Silicon Valley experience staunch structural inequality and are moving out of the region. The 2023 Silicon Valley Pain Index— an annual report by researchers at San Jose State University — spotlights inequality along the lines of wealth and race across the region. Last year, it showed that .01% of households in the region own $323 billion of total wealth and that about 26% of Black residents own a home compared to 63% of white residents.

While the center will serve as a hub for the Black community, Wilson said services will be open to anyone who comes in. The African American Community Services Agency serves people from any background, and he said the new location will give the agency space and opportunity to increase services tenfold.

“We’re moving very fast,” Wilson said. “(We’re) very positive about where we are, we’re picking up partners every day.”