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About Us

Our Mission

The Bayanihan Equity Center provides culturally responsive services to address the needs and advance the rights of marginalized communities in pursuit of equity and justice. 

History of BEC

Under the Immigration and Naturalization Reform Act of 1990, more than 100,000 Filipino Veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces, in the Far East from 1939 to 1946, became eligible for naturalization. Over 60,000 of these veterans immigrated to the United States and became U. S. Citizens. These veterans did not qualify for Veterans Benefits, and the majority of them became dependent on Supplemental Security Income, soup kitchens, and the support of volunteers.

In 1998, service providers, individual members of the community and a number of Filipino World War II veterans started the Veterans Equity Center Task Force. The task force was comprised of individuals with years of experience in providing services to minority seniors and Filipino World War II veterans.


There was a high need for housing case management, counseling, legal assistance, and health services – just to mention a few. The task force developed a “one-stop-shop” delivery system of care that stabilizes and bridges the gap between existing services in the community with the veteran population in need of services.

The Veterans Equity Center first opened its doors to the public on December 1, 1999. 

Throughout the years, a growing number of low-income, immigrant older adults started accessing our services. To address the growing needs of the community, coupled with the high mortality rate among original consumers,
the Veterans Equity Center expanded its mission and formally changed its name to the Bayanihan Equity Center (BEC) in 2017.  

The BEC expanded its services to include a food pantry, exercise class for older adults, community choir, arts and crafts, and many more. BEC serves as an activity center for the older adults and adults with disability in San Francisco, especially for the South of Market residents.  

Meet the Team


Luisa M. Antonio

Executive Director


Mary Roque

Operations Manager & Data Collection Specialist


Joy Ng

Housing Caseworker


Dolly Marie Ramos

Community Service Worker & Data Systems Specialist


Ma. Elisa Baligod

Community Service Worker


Jan Lhor Bruan

Community Service Worker


Jesse Saekow

Community Service Worker

Board of Directors

Bernadette Borja Sy | President

Executive Director, 

Filipino American Development Foundation​

Beatriz Datangel | Secretary

Head of Marketing​,


Augustus Tagaro

Resident Engagement Specialist,

Mission Economic Development Agency

Luisa M. Antonio*

Executive Director,

Bayanihan Equity Center

Lea Mercado

Holistic Health Practitioner, 

Wholistic Healing Hearts Wellness Center

Darlene Sevilla, Esq. 

Staff Attorney, 

Tancinco Law Office

*Luisa M. Antonio is a non-voting member of the Board of Directors


Support our mission

Your contribution improves the program and services provided to low-income, immigrant families, seniors, and adults living with a disability.

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