Rev. Calvin Jones Jr., January 26, 2015. Image courtesy of Providence Baptist Church.

A native of San Francisco, Calvin Jones, Jr., is known for his passionate work as a minister and philanthropist to families and youth involved or affected by crime and poverty. Son of the famous trombone musician Calvin Jones, Sr., and Julia Jones, Calvin, Jr., graduated from Balboa high school in 1969 where he played football and led the team to consecutive Thanksgiving Day titles in 1967 and 1968. He scored 42 touchdowns in 21 varsity games and continued to play football as the defensive back for the Denver Broncos until 1976. Calvin, Jr., was introduced into the University of Washington’s Football Hall of Fame and was chosen as the Associated Press First Team All-American Defensive Back. Calvin, Jr.’s teammate Kevin Hicks describes Calvin as “a juking and dancing runner, who would leave defenders tackling air.”

Calvin, Jr., earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Washington in 1975 and a Master of Divinity Degree from Harvard University in 1983. He then went on to lead one of the largest church congregations in San Francisco as pastor of Providence Baptist Church on McKinnon Avenue in Ingleside. In 1997 Calvin, Jr., kickstarted his humanitarian endeavors by forming the Providence Foundation of San Francisco: a collaborative foundation with the church to provide services that include a nutrition program, a homeless shelter, a summer day-camp, an after-school tutorial program, and the Providence Opportunities Program. Providence Baptist Church’s website describes their pastor as a man who “ministers with an open mind. He sees a need and creates the solution to fill the void.” As a shining example of faith-based community outreach, in 2004 Rev. Jones created a youth outreach program in the San Francisco Juvenile Hall where he ministered to children and their families to create better communication and life-altering skills. In an article written by the San Francisco Chronicle, Calvin, Jr., is dubbed as the “funeral preacher” for his dedication to serving those families grief stricken in the wake of San Francisco violence.

Rev. Jones continued his service to the vulnerable community of San Francisco with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation and others in providing seniors in the Bayview–Hunters Point community with affordable housing. Completed in 2008, the multi-use facility includes community and commercial rental space, a parking facility, a Providence Foundation Administration Office and a communal rooftop garden. A firm believer in community involvement, Rev. Jones’ engagement is outstanding: he was a Board Member of the Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, Commissioner of National Baptist Convention USA Prison Ministry, founding Board Member of the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, founding Executive Director of the Family School of San Francisco, and a member of the Mayor of San Francisco Citizens Advisory Committee for the Hunters Point naval shipyard. The Family School, located on Fillmore between Fell and Oak, provides education and childcare for women on welfare; women from the projects, with chemical dependency (although they must remain clean to stay at the Family School), and with histories of domestic violence can all find help here. While the women study for their GED upstairs, children are taken care of below among friendly people and optimistic decorations. Rev. Jones, Jr., founder and director of the school said to the San Francisco Chronicle: “$3,400 keeps a woman enrolled here for a year. It costs $30,000 to take that same woman and lock her up for using crack. One guess where the money’s going.”

Jones, Jr., has also worked to preserve his father’s, Rev. Calvin Jones, Sr.’s, musical legacy by cataloging all of his father’s music “to put out there so the world can hear him.” In 1977, Calvin, Jr., was invited by President Gerald R. Ford to be the Keynote Speaker at the Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Rev. Jones has also received numerous awards and recognitions of his changemaking work: CityFlight’s “10 Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area”; Distinguished Clergy of the Year, Alliance of Black School Educators of SF, and has been honored by the San Francisco Chapter of the NAACP. Calvin, Jr., has also spoken on numerous national platforms.

After 26 years of service, Calvin, Jr., retired as minister at the Providence Baptist Church. However, his faith based passion for serving his community is far from over. Most recently in 2016, Jones, Jr., as the Vice President of the Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, a California nonprofit corporation, entered into a $47 million contract to rehabilitate and convert Westside Courts from public housing to a HUD rental assistance contract. Westside Courts was particularly hard-hit by redevelopment in the 1960s and has a controversial past; this project is aimed at challenging the consequences of this history and is one of the most recent achievements of Jones Jr.’s impressive body of work.

Hannah Shepherd

Works Cited

“Denver Broncos Greats . . . By The Numbers: #26.” Mile High Report. 14 Apr 2011.

“Reverend Calvin Jones, Jr.—Senior Pastor.” Providence Baptist Church.

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