The executive director of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Collective Impact is receiving an outpouring of financial and vocal support while he recovers from a beating with a wooden board by a man believed to be homeless.
The assault on James Spingola, who was raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore District where he runs Collective Impact, occurred July 15th around 11 a.m. (PST) when he asked two men suspected of being homeless who were hanging around the front doors of one of Collective Impact’s community centers to leave, according to San Francisco police and a GoFundMe fundraiser.
Spingola and other witnesses were able to detain one suspect until police arrived, while the second man fled. Spingola told police that one suspect hit him multiple times with a wooden board.
The assault that left Spingola with two black eyes and facial lacerations occurred by the front steps of the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center on McAllister Street in San Francisco. The center, owned by the City of San Francisco and featuring an indoor basketball court, outdoor tennis courts and a children’s playground, is one of three community initiatives behind Collective Impact to help children and youths make solid choices about their lives.
Police said they are not immediately identifying the 24-year-old suspect who is in custody. He is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means to cause great bodily injury and conspiracy.
Spingola could not be reached for comment. Chaniel Williams, a program manager for Collective Impact, said Spingola has been in touch with the organization while he recuperates and might return this week. A GoFundMe fundraiser to assist Spingola was launched Friday by the online forum Both Sides of the Conversation of San Francisco which donated $10,000 of $51,100 that was raised as of 3 p.m. Monday.
“I’m both disheartened and livid that James, a senior leader in our community, advocate for our children and activist, was viciously attacked today. James, lovingly known as Uncle Stank, was simply trying to keep transients from standing around the center in an attempt to protect both the staff and children occupying the building,” the fundraiser organizer wrote on GoFundMe.
Spingola also has served since 2018 as a Juvenile Probation Commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, according to Collective Impact’s website.