Oakland, California

Oakland, CA

Incorporated in 1852, Oakland experienced a wave of growth in the late 1860s after it was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. Its growth continued over the next several decades as it became a thriving transport hub, with a port, shipyards, and booming automobile manufacturing industry.  The city’s population doubled to over 150,000 after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, when many San Franciscans who lost their homes moved to Oakland. 

 As the city’s industries thrived through World War II, tens of thousands of laborers from around the country, including poor whites and blacks from southern states, and Mexican Americans from southwestern states, came to Oakland in search of employment.  Attracting new residents from across the country, Oakland became one of the most diverse major cities in the United States.

 As industries began to decline after the war, racial tensions grew, fueled by the mistreatment of racial minorities by a police force that was nearly 100 percent white.  It was in this climate that the Black Panther Party was founded by students at Oakland’s Merritt College in 1966.  The city’s challenges widened in the 1970s, as Oakland experienced serious problems with gang-controlled, large-scale drug operations. Crime soared, and Oakland's murder rate rose to twice that of San Francisco and New York City.

 With an estimated 406,000 residents as of 2013, Oakland remains one of the nation's most multi-cultural cities.  Its population is roughly 26 percent white, 27 percent African-American, 25 percent Latino, and 17 percent Asian American, with the remainder mixed race or other.  Unfortunately, the city also continues to face serious challenges, with one out of five city residents living below the poverty line.

 Today, community wealth building organizations and initiatives are playing an important role in helping to address some of these challenges and revitalize the city.   One area in which the city has had particular success is in sustainability and local food, and the efforts of food co-ops such as Mandela Foods, urban agriculture initiatives such as City Slicker Farms, and the city’s own Sustainable Oakland program are demonstrating results:  Oakland has been ranked by numerous groups as one of the most sustainable, greenest cities in the United States.   The city is also home to Prospera (formerly known as WAGES), whose exemplary model of helping low-income women form worker-owned cooperatives has helped over 100 Bay Area residents secure quality, empowering jobs.

An overview of these and other community wealth building efforts follows:

Anchor Institutions

Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland

The California Endowment (TCE) launched Building Healthy Communities, a 10-year effort to support the development of communities where kids and youth are healthy, safe and ready to learn. East Oakland Building Healthy Communities brings together residents, community- and faith-based organizations, and public agencies to collaborate to implement a 10-year plan for an East Oakland that can sustain safe, beautiful spaces for community residents. Read more about Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland...

Common Counsel Foundation

Founded in 1988, Common Counsel Foundation partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. The foundation’s donor and member funds focus on supporting organizations committed to grassroots community organizing for racial, economic, and environmental justice, policy reform, and social change.  In 2013, the Foundation and its member funds made 311 grants totaling nearly $3 million. Read more about Common Counsel Foundation...

East Bay Community Foundation

Established in 1928, the East Bay Community Foundation was the first community foundation in northern California.  As of FY 2013-14, the foundation had more than $395 million of assets under management.  Through its Economic Development grant program, the foundation aims to advance economic opportunity for adults and families in need, particularly those with significant barriers to employment and financial stability.  In April 2014, the foundation released its second report on unemployment, which outlined solutions for persistent unemployment among East Bay residents and highlighted the va Read more about East Bay Community Foundation...

Kaiser Permanente

Headquartered in Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health insurance company that also operates 38 hospitals, is one of the first health systems in the country that recognized the benefits of adopting more sustainable practices.  Kaiser ranks first in solar use among all U.S. Read more about Kaiser Permanente...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) aims to build healthy, vibrant, and safe neighborhoods with and for the diverse populations of the East Bay, including its Asian and Pacific Islander communities.  To do so, EBALDC develops and manages affordable apartments and homes, retail spaces for local, small businesses, and community centers, and delivers programs designed to foster increased economic opportunities for low-income families and individuals.  Since its establishment in 1975, EBALDC has invested more than $200 million in assets in the community, including a total Read more about East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation...

Lao Family Community Development

Started in a 3-bedroom apartment in 1980 by Southeast Asian refugees to help fellow refugees rebuild their lives after escaping countries suffering from political and social upheaval, Lao Family Community Development now has a 45-person staff, an Oakland headquarters, and two satellite offices.  Today, it aims to assist diverse refugee, immigrant, limited English, and low-income U.S. Read more about Lao Family Community Development...

The Unity Council

The Unity Council (formerly called The Spanish Speaking Unity Council) has worked with the largely Latino community in the Fruitvale District of Oakland for the past four decades. Its programs, which reach over 12,000 people a year, include affordable housing development, small business assistance, job training, childcare, youth services and senior care. It also owns a subsidiary business (Peralta Service Corporation) that employs area residents on work crews for beautification projects.  Read more about The Unity Council...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Community Bank of the Bay

Founded in Oakland in 1996, Community Bank of the Bay is a community bank serving Oakland, Danville, San Mateo and San Jose, California.  As the state’s first CDFI bank, its mission is to make a positive and sustainable economic impact.  With $128 million in assets, the bank focuses on providing financing to small businesses and nonprofits.  In 2007, it created a special fund, the Bay Area Green Fund (BAGF), to finance groups that are contributing to a sustainable economy.  The bank relocated its Oakland headquarters to an Energy Star and LEED certified building in 2013. Read more about Community Bank of the Bay...

OBDC Small Business Finance

Founded in Oakland in 1979, OBDC now provides loans, education, and networking opportunities to small business owners in nine Bay Area counties.  Over the past decade, it is credited with making 500 loans totaling more than $29 million and resulting in thousands of new jobs in the Bay Area. Read more about OBDC Small Business Finance...

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Oakland Community Land Trust

Established through the joint efforts of Urban Strategies Council and community partners, the Oakland Community Land Trust (CLT) was the product of two years of planning and building community support in response to the mounting foreclosure crisis. Granted an award of more than $5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding from the city, the Oakland CLT acquired its first of 130 properties in 2010, officially launching the NSP Homeownership Project. Read more about Oakland Community Land Trust...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Zachary's Chicago Pizza

The 115-employee Zachary's Chicago Pizza restaurant provides an example of how the ESOP form can allow family business owners to transfer ownership over time to their employees as they retire. In Zachary's case, conversion to ESOP ownership began in 2003 and has now accomplished 100% employee ownership. In a fall 2004 interview with the Berkeley-based Daily Californian newspaper, the restaurant’s co-founder, Zach Zachowski, explained the rationale for creating the ESOP: “If we sold the business to a corporation, the culture will change and so will the food and the staff.” Read more about Zachary's Chicago Pizza...

Green Economy

Green for All

With its West Coast headquarters in Oakland, Green For All is a national group that aims to build an inclusive green economy in a way that alleviates poverty and pollution at the same time. Read more about Green for All...

Mission-driven businesses (B-Corps and L3C's)

Cutting Edge Capital

Cutting Edge Capital provides consulting services to help small business, cooperatives, social enterprises, and nonprofits raise capital in in a manner compliant both with complicated securities law as well as a business’ values. Its efforts include helping the California Air Resources Board with the state’s new cap and trade system, developing strategies to increase financing for the local food system, as well as designing a community investment fund for western Massachusetts. For their impact, Cutting Edge Capital was recognized as a B Corporation that is “Best for Communities”. Read more about Cutting Edge Capital...

Impact Investing

Kapor Capital

The Kapor Center works to leverage information technology for positive social impact.  It has two arms:  1) Kapor Capital, which invests in for-profit information technology-focused, seed-stage startups that create positive social impact and economic value, and 2) Kapor Center for Social Impact, which develops partnerships that advance the presence and power of underrepresented populations in the tech ecosystem.  Kapor aims to make 20 to 25 new $100k-$250k investments a year. Read more about Kapor Capital...

Individual Wealth Building

Urban Strategies Council

The Urban Strategies Council aims to eliminate persistent poverty and transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities.  To do so, The Council works with community stakeholders to identify and build understanding of issues impacting urban communities, develop agendas for addressing those issues, and build alliances across diverse interests to achieve collective action. Read more about Urban Strategies Council...

Individual Wealth Preservation

Community Check Cashing

Community Check Cashing is a nonprofit organization established to help Oakland residents increase their income and assets, save money, and improve their financial position and knowledge.  To do so, it offers below-market priced financial services and products, financial coaching, and small business assistance.  Opened in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood in 2009, it is the first nonprofit, full-service, stand-alone check cashing store in the country. Read more about Community Check Cashing...

Local Food Systems

City Slicker Farms

City Slicker Farms aims to empower West Oakland community members to meet their immediate and basic need for healthy, organic food by creating high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens.  Founded by a community activist in 2001, City Slicker Farms started as a half-acre vacant lot growing food at a discount for local residents. Today, the organization’s operations include three community market farms (i.e., spaces open to the public), over 300 backyard gardens, a weekly farm stand, a greenhouse, and urban farming education programs. Read more about City Slicker Farms...

Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy

The Institute for Food and Development Policy (aka Food First) is an Oakland-based think tank that focuses on issues of ending global hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation by utilizing research, analysis and advocacy to help develop democratically controlled, sustainable local food systems. Read more about Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy...

Oakland Food Policy Council

Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC) has been a lead in successful policy initiatives in Oakland. They have worked with local organizations, such as City Slicker Farms, and successfully passed policies that remove barriers for a local, equitable, and sustainable food system. Their work has been local, regional, statewide, and national. Oakland Food Policy Council focusses primarily in areas of urban agriculture, economic security and development, procurement, and food access. Read more about Oakland Food Policy Council...

Municipal Enterprise

Port of Oakland

Although it's a public agency, the Port of Oakland funds its own operations through its three core enterprises:  the Oakland International Airport, its container port, and its nearly 20 miles of waterfront commercial real estate.  In 2010, the Port employed 37,116 people in jobs that paid 10 percent above the regional average, purchased $851 million from other local businesses, and generated $6.8 billion in revenues. Read more about Port of Oakland...

New State & Local Policies

East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) unites labor, community, and faith-based organizations with low-income workers and families to end low-wage poverty and create economic equity. Read more about East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)...

Local and Small Business Enterprise Program

Updated in 2011, Oakland’s Local and Small Business Enterprise Program aims to provide economic opportunity for all residents and businesses, stimulate economic development, and nurture a stronger, local economic base.  The program specifies requirements for the city’s contracting and purchasing, which include a 50 percent minimum participation rate of local firms in all construction contracts over $100,000 and all professional services contracts over $50,000; preference points and bid discounts to emerging and start-up businesses, and businesses employing Oakland residents and new hires; Read more about Local and Small Business Enterprise Program...

Oakland Green Jobs Corps

Considered a national model for urban, green-collar job training, the Oakland Green Jobs Corps is one of the first U.S. initiatives designed to help disadvantaged community residents transition to green careers.  Launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Ella Baker Center and other local nonprofit groups, the initiative provides college-credited training in green construction, solar installation and energy audit, followed by paid, on-the-job training and full-time employment.  The program has about 125 graduates per year and a 70 percent job placement rate. Read more about Oakland Green Jobs Corps...

Sustainable Oakland

The Sustainable Oakland program aims to help Oakland become a more sustainably city, in which all people have the opportunity to live safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, now and into the future.  The program focuses on catalyzing collaborative approaches to improve Oakland’s sustainability performance, and tracking and reporting on its progress.  One current collaborative initiative is Oakland Shines, which helps businesses manage energy costs by offering free technical assistance and cash rebates to eliminate or defray the cost of installing energy efficient equipment.  The city al Read more about Sustainable Oakland...

Social Enterprise

Inner City Advisors

Inner City Advisors is a nonprofit technical assistance group that helps build sustainable and responsible businesses that create quality jobs, reinvest in the community, and contribute to building a strong and vibrant local economy. Since its founding, the group has helped to create and retain over 7,000 jobs in the Bay Area, creating or retaining 2,717 jobs in 2013 alone that pay an average hourly wage of $14.50 and generate over $68 million in total wealth for the local community. Read more about Inner City Advisors...

Peralta Service Corporation (PSC)

A subsidiary of the Unity Council, Peralta Service Corporation (PSC) aims to provide Oakland residents with on-the-job training and living wage employment, while providing the general public with reliable, reasonably priced, and eco-friendly public area maintenance services.  Specific services include pressure washing, litter and trash pick-up, graffiti removal, public space and common area maintenance, custodial services, light repairs, landscaping, and festival cleanup.  In FY 2012, PSC generated over $1.3 million in revenues to support the Unity Council’s programs. Read more about Peralta Service Corporation (PSC)...

The Stride Center

The Stride Center aims to help individuals and communities in the San Francisco Bay Area achieve self-sufficiency.  To do so, it provides comprehensive career services to help people with barriers to employment access careers in the technology economy.  It operates a social enterprise, ReliaTech, which offers low-cost technology support and tools to underserved communities while providing jobs and paid internships to Stride students and graduates, and 100 percent of its net income supports the Center’s operating expenses.  With four locations in the Bay Area, Strive enrolled 346 students a Read more about The Stride Center...

Youth Uprising (YU)

Youth Uprising (YU) aims to serve as a neighborhood hub, offering East Oakland youth programs designed to increase their physical and mental wellbeing, community connections, educational attainment, and career achievement.  To provide real-world employment experiences, it has four social enterprises, which include YU Eat (Corner’s Café), an onsite internet restaurant/café and catering service; YU Count, which offers IT, data input, enrichment, and analysis services to businesses and non-profits; YU Create, a media production company offering video production, soundtrack creation, and graph Read more about Youth Uprising (YU)...

State & Local Investments

Cultural Funding Program

Established in 1985 to infuse Oakland’s neighborhoods with arts and cultural activities that increase exposure to, understanding of, and respect for diverse cultural heritages; promote activities that engage the community; and support the arts in schools and among youth, Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program helps fund Oakland-based art and cultural activities.  In FY2013-14, the program made 70 grants totaling nearly $1 million. Read more about Cultural Funding Program...

Transit-Oriented Development

Broadway Shuttle

The City of Oakland Broadway Shuttle is a free and green transit service linking the city’s key commercial districts and transit hubs.  Launched in 2010, the Shuttle aims to support local businesses, facilitate connections across the city, and reduce greenhouse gases.  About 2,700 people ride the shuttle on a daily basis. Read more about Broadway Shuttle...

Fruitvale Transit Village

Located in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland, the Fruitvale Transit Village is an innovative collaboration of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and a local community development corporation (Unity Council) to combine affordable housing, community space, and retail establishments in a transit-oriented development project.  Completed in the mid 2000s, the award-winning, 257,000 square foot project built on former BART parking lots includes a pedestrian street and plaza; 47 units of mixed-income housing; 114,000 square feet of community services, including a clinic, library, and senior cen Read more about Fruitvale Transit Village...

TransForm

Based in Oakland, TransForm aims to promote walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, ensure California is affordable, and address the nation’s climate crisis.  To do so, its work focuses on three core fronts:  1) engaging communities in planning; 2) developing and disseminating innovative programs; and 3) affecting policy change.  As a nonprofit founded in the Bay area, TransForm aims to make the region a model and testing ground for solutions that will foster more abundant, affordable transportation choices. Read more about TransForm...

University & Community Partnerships

Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD)

Established in 1962, the University of California at Berkeley-based Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) aims to advance knowledge and practice in ways that make cities and regions economically robust, socially inclusive, and environmentally resourceful.  To do so, it conducts collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practical work focused on revealing the dynamics of communities, cities, and regions and informing public policy. Read more about Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD)...

Worker Cooperatives

Design Action Collective

The Design Action Collective is a spin-off of Berkeley-based Inkworks Press collective. Throughout the 1990s, Inkworks Press offered graphic design services to non-profit, grassroots and activist organizations under the same roof as its offset print shop. In 2003, Inkworks decided that both its print and design services would benefit from the creation of a new collective. Like Inkwood, Design Action Collective is an independent, collectively run, union shop.  As of 2014, Design Action had 11 worker-owners aiming to offer their design skills to the progressive movement.
Read more about Design Action Collective...

Mandela Foods Cooperative

Established in 2009, Mandela Foods Cooperative is a worker-owned, full-service, 23,000 square foot grocery store located in West Oakland, California that helps fill the need for healthy food options in a community that has been historically underserved in grocery retail. It offers an example of using a cooperative to fill needs in a food desert. Mandela has a series of community service goals. It seeks to expand and promote local buying power and employment opportunity through its efforts to increase purchasing from small farms within a 170 mile radius of Oakland. Read more about Mandela Foods Cooperative...

Prospera (formerly WAGES)

WAGES

Founded in 1995, Prospera (which was formerly known as WAGES) is a nonprofit organization that raises start-up capital and provides technical assistance to promote the economic and social well being of low-income women through cooperative business ownership. Read more about Prospera (formerly WAGES)...

Radical Designs

Founded in 2004, Radical Designs is a worker-owned cooperative that provides web development services to progressive nonprofit and grassroots social change organizations.  The cooperative specializes in strategic on-line campaign consulting, web design and web application development, and the creation and leveraging of open-source applications. Read more about Radical Designs...

Transit-Oriented Development

Broadway Shuttle

The City of Oakland Broadway Shuttle is a free and green transit service linking the city’s key commercial districts and transit hubs.  Launched in 2010, the Shuttle aims to support local businesses, facilitate connections across the city, and reduce greenhouse gases.  About 2,700 people ride the shuttle on a daily basis. Read more about Broadway Shuttle...

Fruitvale Transit Village

Located in the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland, the Fruitvale Transit Village is an innovative collaboration of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and a local community development corporation (Unity Council) to combine affordable housing, community space, and retail establishments in a transit-oriented development project.  Completed in the mid 2000s, the award-winning, 257,000 square foot project built on former BART parking lots includes a pedestrian street and plaza; 47 units of mixed-income housing; 114,000 square feet of community services, including a clinic, library, and senior cen Read more about Fruitvale Transit Village...

TransForm

Based in Oakland, TransForm aims to promote walkable communities with excellent transportation choices to connect people of all incomes to opportunity, ensure California is affordable, and address the nation’s climate crisis.  To do so, its work focuses on three core fronts:  1) engaging communities in planning; 2) developing and disseminating innovative programs; and 3) affecting policy change.  As a nonprofit founded in the Bay area, TransForm aims to make the region a model and testing ground for solutions that will foster more abundant, affordable transportation choices. Read more about TransForm...

Anchor Institutions

Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland

The California Endowment (TCE) launched Building Healthy Communities, a 10-year effort to support the development of communities where kids and youth are healthy, safe and ready to learn. East Oakland Building Healthy Communities brings together residents, community- and faith-based organizations, and public agencies to collaborate to implement a 10-year plan for an East Oakland that can sustain safe, beautiful spaces for community residents. Read more about Building Healthy Communities, East Oakland...

Common Counsel Foundation

Founded in 1988, Common Counsel Foundation partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements. The foundation’s donor and member funds focus on supporting organizations committed to grassroots community organizing for racial, economic, and environmental justice, policy reform, and social change.  In 2013, the Foundation and its member funds made 311 grants totaling nearly $3 million. Read more about Common Counsel Foundation...

East Bay Community Foundation

Established in 1928, the East Bay Community Foundation was the first community foundation in northern California.  As of FY 2013-14, the foundation had more than $395 million of assets under management.  Through its Economic Development grant program, the foundation aims to advance economic opportunity for adults and families in need, particularly those with significant barriers to employment and financial stability.  In April 2014, the foundation released its second report on unemployment, which outlined solutions for persistent unemployment among East Bay residents and highlighted the va Read more about East Bay Community Foundation...

Kaiser Permanente

Headquartered in Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health insurance company that also operates 38 hospitals, is one of the first health systems in the country that recognized the benefits of adopting more sustainable practices.  Kaiser ranks first in solar use among all U.S. Read more about Kaiser Permanente...

Local Food Systems

City Slicker Farms

City Slicker Farms aims to empower West Oakland community members to meet their immediate and basic need for healthy, organic food by creating high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens.  Founded by a community activist in 2001, City Slicker Farms started as a half-acre vacant lot growing food at a discount for local residents. Today, the organization’s operations include three community market farms (i.e., spaces open to the public), over 300 backyard gardens, a weekly farm stand, a greenhouse, and urban farming education programs. Read more about City Slicker Farms...

Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy

The Institute for Food and Development Policy (aka Food First) is an Oakland-based think tank that focuses on issues of ending global hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation by utilizing research, analysis and advocacy to help develop democratically controlled, sustainable local food systems. Read more about Food First: Institute for Food and Development Policy...

Oakland Food Policy Council

Oakland Food Policy Council (OFPC) has been a lead in successful policy initiatives in Oakland. They have worked with local organizations, such as City Slicker Farms, and successfully passed policies that remove barriers for a local, equitable, and sustainable food system. Their work has been local, regional, statewide, and national. Oakland Food Policy Council focusses primarily in areas of urban agriculture, economic security and development, procurement, and food access. Read more about Oakland Food Policy Council...

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Community Bank of the Bay

Founded in Oakland in 1996, Community Bank of the Bay is a community bank serving Oakland, Danville, San Mateo and San Jose, California.  As the state’s first CDFI bank, its mission is to make a positive and sustainable economic impact.  With $128 million in assets, the bank focuses on providing financing to small businesses and nonprofits.  In 2007, it created a special fund, the Bay Area Green Fund (BAGF), to finance groups that are contributing to a sustainable economy.  The bank relocated its Oakland headquarters to an Energy Star and LEED certified building in 2013. Read more about Community Bank of the Bay...

OBDC Small Business Finance

Founded in Oakland in 1979, OBDC now provides loans, education, and networking opportunities to small business owners in nine Bay Area counties.  Over the past decade, it is credited with making 500 loans totaling more than $29 million and resulting in thousands of new jobs in the Bay Area. Read more about OBDC Small Business Finance...

Individual Wealth Preservation

Community Check Cashing

Community Check Cashing is a nonprofit organization established to help Oakland residents increase their income and assets, save money, and improve their financial position and knowledge.  To do so, it offers below-market priced financial services and products, financial coaching, and small business assistance.  Opened in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood in 2009, it is the first nonprofit, full-service, stand-alone check cashing store in the country. Read more about Community Check Cashing...

State & Local Investments

Cultural Funding Program

Established in 1985 to infuse Oakland’s neighborhoods with arts and cultural activities that increase exposure to, understanding of, and respect for diverse cultural heritages; promote activities that engage the community; and support the arts in schools and among youth, Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program helps fund Oakland-based art and cultural activities.  In FY2013-14, the program made 70 grants totaling nearly $1 million. Read more about Cultural Funding Program...

Mission-driven businesses (B-Corps and L3C's)

Cutting Edge Capital

Cutting Edge Capital provides consulting services to help small business, cooperatives, social enterprises, and nonprofits raise capital in in a manner compliant both with complicated securities law as well as a business’ values. Its efforts include helping the California Air Resources Board with the state’s new cap and trade system, developing strategies to increase financing for the local food system, as well as designing a community investment fund for western Massachusetts. For their impact, Cutting Edge Capital was recognized as a B Corporation that is “Best for Communities”. Read more about Cutting Edge Capital...

Worker Cooperatives

Design Action Collective

The Design Action Collective is a spin-off of Berkeley-based Inkworks Press collective. Throughout the 1990s, Inkworks Press offered graphic design services to non-profit, grassroots and activist organizations under the same roof as its offset print shop. In 2003, Inkworks decided that both its print and design services would benefit from the creation of a new collective. Like Inkwood, Design Action Collective is an independent, collectively run, union shop.  As of 2014, Design Action had 11 worker-owners aiming to offer their design skills to the progressive movement.
Read more about Design Action Collective...

Mandela Foods Cooperative

Established in 2009, Mandela Foods Cooperative is a worker-owned, full-service, 23,000 square foot grocery store located in West Oakland, California that helps fill the need for healthy food options in a community that has been historically underserved in grocery retail. It offers an example of using a cooperative to fill needs in a food desert. Mandela has a series of community service goals. It seeks to expand and promote local buying power and employment opportunity through its efforts to increase purchasing from small farms within a 170 mile radius of Oakland. Read more about Mandela Foods Cooperative...

Prospera (formerly WAGES)

WAGES

Founded in 1995, Prospera (which was formerly known as WAGES) is a nonprofit organization that raises start-up capital and provides technical assistance to promote the economic and social well being of low-income women through cooperative business ownership. Read more about Prospera (formerly WAGES)...

Radical Designs

Founded in 2004, Radical Designs is a worker-owned cooperative that provides web development services to progressive nonprofit and grassroots social change organizations.  The cooperative specializes in strategic on-line campaign consulting, web design and web application development, and the creation and leveraging of open-source applications. Read more about Radical Designs...

New State & Local Policies

East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

The East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) unites labor, community, and faith-based organizations with low-income workers and families to end low-wage poverty and create economic equity. Read more about East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)...

Local and Small Business Enterprise Program

Updated in 2011, Oakland’s Local and Small Business Enterprise Program aims to provide economic opportunity for all residents and businesses, stimulate economic development, and nurture a stronger, local economic base.  The program specifies requirements for the city’s contracting and purchasing, which include a 50 percent minimum participation rate of local firms in all construction contracts over $100,000 and all professional services contracts over $50,000; preference points and bid discounts to emerging and start-up businesses, and businesses employing Oakland residents and new hires; Read more about Local and Small Business Enterprise Program...

Oakland Green Jobs Corps

Considered a national model for urban, green-collar job training, the Oakland Green Jobs Corps is one of the first U.S. initiatives designed to help disadvantaged community residents transition to green careers.  Launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Ella Baker Center and other local nonprofit groups, the initiative provides college-credited training in green construction, solar installation and energy audit, followed by paid, on-the-job training and full-time employment.  The program has about 125 graduates per year and a 70 percent job placement rate. Read more about Oakland Green Jobs Corps...

Sustainable Oakland

The Sustainable Oakland program aims to help Oakland become a more sustainably city, in which all people have the opportunity to live safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, now and into the future.  The program focuses on catalyzing collaborative approaches to improve Oakland’s sustainability performance, and tracking and reporting on its progress.  One current collaborative initiative is Oakland Shines, which helps businesses manage energy costs by offering free technical assistance and cash rebates to eliminate or defray the cost of installing energy efficient equipment.  The city al Read more about Sustainable Oakland...

Community Development Corporations (CDCs)

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) aims to build healthy, vibrant, and safe neighborhoods with and for the diverse populations of the East Bay, including its Asian and Pacific Islander communities.  To do so, EBALDC develops and manages affordable apartments and homes, retail spaces for local, small businesses, and community centers, and delivers programs designed to foster increased economic opportunities for low-income families and individuals.  Since its establishment in 1975, EBALDC has invested more than $200 million in assets in the community, including a total Read more about East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation...

Lao Family Community Development

Started in a 3-bedroom apartment in 1980 by Southeast Asian refugees to help fellow refugees rebuild their lives after escaping countries suffering from political and social upheaval, Lao Family Community Development now has a 45-person staff, an Oakland headquarters, and two satellite offices.  Today, it aims to assist diverse refugee, immigrant, limited English, and low-income U.S. Read more about Lao Family Community Development...

The Unity Council

The Unity Council (formerly called The Spanish Speaking Unity Council) has worked with the largely Latino community in the Fruitvale District of Oakland for the past four decades. Its programs, which reach over 12,000 people a year, include affordable housing development, small business assistance, job training, childcare, youth services and senior care. It also owns a subsidiary business (Peralta Service Corporation) that employs area residents on work crews for beautification projects.  Read more about The Unity Council...

Green Economy

Green for All

With its West Coast headquarters in Oakland, Green For All is a national group that aims to build an inclusive green economy in a way that alleviates poverty and pollution at the same time. Read more about Green for All...

Social Enterprise

Inner City Advisors

Inner City Advisors is a nonprofit technical assistance group that helps build sustainable and responsible businesses that create quality jobs, reinvest in the community, and contribute to building a strong and vibrant local economy. Since its founding, the group has helped to create and retain over 7,000 jobs in the Bay Area, creating or retaining 2,717 jobs in 2013 alone that pay an average hourly wage of $14.50 and generate over $68 million in total wealth for the local community. Read more about Inner City Advisors...

Peralta Service Corporation (PSC)

A subsidiary of the Unity Council, Peralta Service Corporation (PSC) aims to provide Oakland residents with on-the-job training and living wage employment, while providing the general public with reliable, reasonably priced, and eco-friendly public area maintenance services.  Specific services include pressure washing, litter and trash pick-up, graffiti removal, public space and common area maintenance, custodial services, light repairs, landscaping, and festival cleanup.  In FY 2012, PSC generated over $1.3 million in revenues to support the Unity Council’s programs. Read more about Peralta Service Corporation (PSC)...

The Stride Center

The Stride Center aims to help individuals and communities in the San Francisco Bay Area achieve self-sufficiency.  To do so, it provides comprehensive career services to help people with barriers to employment access careers in the technology economy.  It operates a social enterprise, ReliaTech, which offers low-cost technology support and tools to underserved communities while providing jobs and paid internships to Stride students and graduates, and 100 percent of its net income supports the Center’s operating expenses.  With four locations in the Bay Area, Strive enrolled 346 students a Read more about The Stride Center...

Youth Uprising (YU)

Youth Uprising (YU) aims to serve as a neighborhood hub, offering East Oakland youth programs designed to increase their physical and mental wellbeing, community connections, educational attainment, and career achievement.  To provide real-world employment experiences, it has four social enterprises, which include YU Eat (Corner’s Café), an onsite internet restaurant/café and catering service; YU Count, which offers IT, data input, enrichment, and analysis services to businesses and non-profits; YU Create, a media production company offering video production, soundtrack creation, and graph Read more about Youth Uprising (YU)...

University & Community Partnerships

Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD)

Established in 1962, the University of California at Berkeley-based Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) aims to advance knowledge and practice in ways that make cities and regions economically robust, socially inclusive, and environmentally resourceful.  To do so, it conducts collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practical work focused on revealing the dynamics of communities, cities, and regions and informing public policy. Read more about Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD)...

Impact Investing

Kapor Capital

The Kapor Center works to leverage information technology for positive social impact.  It has two arms:  1) Kapor Capital, which invests in for-profit information technology-focused, seed-stage startups that create positive social impact and economic value, and 2) Kapor Center for Social Impact, which develops partnerships that advance the presence and power of underrepresented populations in the tech ecosystem.  Kapor aims to make 20 to 25 new $100k-$250k investments a year. Read more about Kapor Capital...

Community Land Trusts (CLTs)

Oakland Community Land Trust

Established through the joint efforts of Urban Strategies Council and community partners, the Oakland Community Land Trust (CLT) was the product of two years of planning and building community support in response to the mounting foreclosure crisis. Granted an award of more than $5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding from the city, the Oakland CLT acquired its first of 130 properties in 2010, officially launching the NSP Homeownership Project. Read more about Oakland Community Land Trust...

Municipal Enterprise

Port of Oakland

Although it's a public agency, the Port of Oakland funds its own operations through its three core enterprises:  the Oakland International Airport, its container port, and its nearly 20 miles of waterfront commercial real estate.  In 2010, the Port employed 37,116 people in jobs that paid 10 percent above the regional average, purchased $851 million from other local businesses, and generated $6.8 billion in revenues. Read more about Port of Oakland...

Individual Wealth Building

Urban Strategies Council

The Urban Strategies Council aims to eliminate persistent poverty and transform low-income neighborhoods into vibrant, healthy communities.  To do so, The Council works with community stakeholders to identify and build understanding of issues impacting urban communities, develop agendas for addressing those issues, and build alliances across diverse interests to achieve collective action. Read more about Urban Strategies Council...

Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Zachary's Chicago Pizza

The 115-employee Zachary's Chicago Pizza restaurant provides an example of how the ESOP form can allow family business owners to transfer ownership over time to their employees as they retire. In Zachary's case, conversion to ESOP ownership began in 2003 and has now accomplished 100% employee ownership. In a fall 2004 interview with the Berkeley-based Daily Californian newspaper, the restaurant’s co-founder, Zach Zachowski, explained the rationale for creating the ESOP: “If we sold the business to a corporation, the culture will change and so will the food and the staff.” Read more about Zachary's Chicago Pizza...