Sister Cities Project aims for $1M fundraising goal

The Sister Cities Project's programs have partnered different communities together to promote equity.

The Solana Beach nonprofit Sister Cities Project is trying to raise $1 million over the next month to fund its programs for the next year.

“As a team we decided this was a goal we would want to raise,” said Shawn McClondon, the group’s founder. “It’s a very ambitious goal to reach in 45 days, but we sat down and looked at it and believed as a group it was something we can do.”

After launching on Nov. 30, which was Giving Tuesday, the fundraiser has accumulated nearly $4,000 and will continue for about another month. Organizers recognize that the goal is “extremely aggressive,” but think it makes a statement about their mission to create a more racially equitable society.

The Sister Cities Project has three areas of focus: cultural exchanges, which includes events between low-income, minority communities and their affluent, mostly White counterparts; workforce development through its “EcoAgency,” which helps Black youth tap into the digital economy; and business growth for Black women entrepreneurs to help them generate generational wealth.

The ultimate goal, according to a Sister Cities news release, is “economic equity for communities of color.”

“The point is to take all those three programs and actually create a franchise model so we can move this ecosystem from one city to another city,” McClondon said, adding that the organization has its sights set on New York, Oregon and possibly Chicago.

He continued, “I think we’re already making impacts in the communities we’re in.”

The Sister Cities Project evolved from an offer by McClondon, who is Black, to meet with his neighbors in mostly White Solana Beach during the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

“The very first step we need to take if we’re going to have some type of racial justice in America was to meet other Black people, to know them, to become friends with them, to expand your circle as far as minorities are concerned,” he said at the time.

The nonprofit formed around the same time that grassroots groups Encinitas 4 Equality and Solana Beach 4 Equality started galvanizing local residents to hold peaceful demonstrations and call for racial equity.

“For those people that, especially after George Floyd, are really motivated to want to do something and make change, this is a way they can do that,” McClondon said.

For more information about the fundraiser, visit