Our annual Oaklandish Innovators grants recognize local programs that exemplify the values of innovation and progress in all areas of civic life. It’s a year-round partnership that doesn’t just end with writing a check. Along with financial support, we also pitch in to help our Innovators with events, collaborative designs, and awareness campaigns. From community-based food distribution, to educational support for homeless youth, to tech training for underrepresented communities, to violence prevention workshops and crisis response for those who’ve had homicide impact their lives, the 2017 Innovators Awards winners are as diverse as Oakland. Here’s a full list of our recipients this year:
Youth ALIVE!: For 24 years, the violence prevention nonprofit Youth ALIVE! has worked to help the city of Oakland and its violently wounded people heal. They meet their clients where they are, at the hospital bedside of young shooting victims, in the homes of survivors of the killed, in the schools of our hardest hit neighborhoods. Their three primary goals: to convince angry victims and their families and friends not to retaliate; to provide ongoing case management to help the wounded and grieving get needed services and heal from their trauma; and to create young leaders for a more peaceful city. Youth ALIVE!’s frontline staff is comprised of men and women who grew up in the communities they serve. Some are former victims, some former gang members. They bring no judgement, but only understanding, knowledge, and a path to greater peace for traumatized individuals and the city.
Level Playing Field Institute: Level Playing Field Institute is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation. Level Playing Field Institute envisions a world where a true level playing field exists – a world where everyone has equitable access to opportunities, including the historically disenfranchised. They envision a world where disparities in resources, high-quality teachers, rigorous courses, and technology would not exist. Where all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, economic background, parent education level, or neighborhood would be provided with opportunities to excel academically, access rigorous courses, and be prepared to apply to, and graduate from, top colleges and universities across the United States. As a result, our communities and workplaces would benefit from well-prepared, competitive leaders representing broad perspectives and sectors of society.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland has a simple mission: to develop the community’s youth into positive contributors to society. Started in 1941, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland has been committed to providing support and guidance to youth of all backgrounds, particularly those coming from disadvantaged circumstances. Each year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland serves over 2,500 kids, ages 6-17, by giving them a safe place to learn, grow, and prosper, through ongoing relationships with caring adult role models. Although it is rewarding work, taking care of the community does not come on the cheap. It costs roughly $850 per child per year to make it all happen. And since their future goal is to reach a minimum of 5,000 kids – which would make up 10% of the Oakland Public School District’s enrollment, we decided to step in and lend a helping hand.
Hack The Hood: Hack the Hood is an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses in their own communities. During 6-week “bootcamps,” young people gain valuable hands-on experience, build a portfolio, and learn about opportunities in the tech industry, as well as build critical technical, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills with mentorship from staff and tech professionals working in the field. Their approach involves 21st century technical & professional skills training, real world hands-on learning, culturally relevant instruction and a peer community as well as career coaching and mentoring.
Congratulations to our new 2017 Oaklandish Innovators!