As we look back on 2016, many of us are glad to be moving on to what we hope will be a brighter 2017. Nonetheless, we have much to be thankful for amid all the saddening events of the last year. We here at Oaklandish are no different — we had high hopes for many moments in 2016. Some came through, others didn’t. All the while, we continued our support of the Town and many of its independent businesses and community groups.
So to remind the Town’s folk that small measures can ripple together to uplift a community, we wanted to revisit the nonprofits that YOU helped to support throughout the course of the 2016 calendar year. But first, a reminder of HOW your efforts helped to ensure Oakland’s inclusive growth:
Did you know that each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (and almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer)? That is a serious way to ensure local economies can thrive! (Source). Along with the return on investment, independent locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or locally-owned franchises). In other words, going local creates more local wealth and jobs. (Source)
Now here a few of the local nonprofits that you helped support through purchases at our retail locations:
Lotus Bloom Child and Family Services: Founded in 2006, Lotus Bloom is a multicultural organization that develops and provides innovative programs for inner-city children, youth and families. Operating with an all-volunteer Board of Directors and small part-time staff, Lotus Bloom’s centers serve over 400 families per year, offering early childhood programs, playgroups, literacy activities, and art programs at six different sites in four high-need neighborhoods throughout Oakland.
The Hidden Genius Project: The Hidden Genius Project applies a targeted universalism approach to provide holistic support and technology training to under-served male youth. The Hidden Genius Project’s intensive programs, including short and long-term catalyst programs, provide nearly two years of training and mentorship to high school students in software development and design, entrepreneurial thinking, and a variety of life and leadership skills sure to help the students long after their time with The Hidden Genius Project.
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.
Bottom’s Up Community Garden: Based in West Oakland, California, Bottoms Up Community Garden is a community-based organization that grows food on three separate lots, experimenting with urban agriculture and inspiring the local community to engage in food security. Located at 8th and Peralta, Bottoms Up has shaped its mission and values to reflect the needs of their immediate community. With a noticeable lack of healthy nutrition options in the neighborhood, Bottoms Up Community Garden started serving breakfast to those living in the area. What started with a basic menu and cups of warm coffee and tea, has flourished into a go-to destination for early morning commuters and folks hanging in the neighborhood
Peralta College Foundation: Founded in 1971, the Peralta Colleges Foundation works to enhance the intellectual, cultural and education needs of the Peralta College students, faculty and staff. Their programs provide scholarships and serve to financially support the academic and athletic departments and student groups. The Peralta Colleges Foundation is committed to providing students with access to post-secondary education and services so they can complete college and prepare for a successful career.
Upward Roots: Founded in 2010, Upward Roots was created to develop leadership and to empower under-resourced youth through youth-led, youth-driven community service. After launching their pilot program in the spring of 2011 at Esperanza Academy in East Oakland, which included 28 boys and girls, Upward Roots has continued to grow, enrolling over 600 students and supporting over 45 youth-led service projects that directly benefit schools and communities. Participants have focused particularly on areas such as homelessness, environment, health, and violence in their communities.
The Town Kitchen: The Town Kitchen, also the recipient of one of our 2016 Innovators Awards, was started with one goal in mind: to create a community through local food, one where low-income Oakland youths are able to shine. The Town Kitchen delivers chef-crafted lunches and employs low-income youth to serve the community. The Town Kitchen engages local youth, specifically ones with significant barriers to employment and education, and introduces them to the world of culinary arts. Kids in the program work with talented chefs and gain experience in food delivery services that allow them to thrive in the fields of business, technology, and workforce development.
Camp Reel Stories: Camp Reel Stories believes that when women and girls are better represented behind the scenes in the media, they will be better reflected on the screen. With only 16% of decision-makers in the film and television industry are women. Camp Reel Stories empowers young women to value and nurture their own unique voice, create their own media, view current media critically and thoughtfully, and aspire to leadership in all aspects of their lives. Camp Reel Stories offers women of all ages an opportunity to learn how to make films and tell their stories. They do this through a combination of workshops and camps for girls and women who want to learn how to make movies in the new digital media era.
Community Education Partnerships: The purpose of Community Education Partnerships (CEP) is to provide educational support to homeless children in the Bay Area. The primary function of the community-based organization is to recruit and train volunteers to provide high-quality academic tutoring for homeless children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. CEP recruits and trains volunteers to provide high-quality, individualized one-on-one academic tutoring and mentoring for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade homeless students. CEP additionally offers opportunities for Bay Area homeless students to participate in extra-curricular enrichment activities like field trips and CEP-hosted shelter-based activities, such as a Summer Reading Club, Family Reading Nights, and Back to School Nights.
Oakland Trails: OaklandTrails.org began as a committee of the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) formed by Stan Dodson in 2010. With a group of DIA volunteers, Stan led several trail maintenance projects to rehabilitate Dimond Canyon’s trail system, and in 2011, began a series of hiking tours to promote the trail system. Oakland Trails volunteer efforts have included many local hiking tours, free of charge, clearing overgrowth and fallen trees, the identifying, implementing, and supporting of needed trail repairs and the continued work towards long term trail repair. Stan has also recently released his 20-minute documentary named ‘Trailhead’ which can be watch for free here!
51Oakland: 51Oakland is a non-profit committed to building opportunity for Oakland Unified students to have access to culturally vibrant Art and Music programming. 51Oakland came into existence because of their strong belief that access to Art and Music is a critical element in a young person’s right to an education. 51Oakland believes that all students deserve opportunities to access the creative and communal benefits of arts and music, and that those skills contribute to a healthy and successful life throughout school and beyond. Partnering with Yoshi’s Jazz Club, 51Oakland provides OUSD students with access to programs, resources, supplies, instruction, mentoring and training in Music and the Arts. 51Oakland works hard to ensure that Oakland’s under-served students receive the benefits of Art and Music Programming.
For more information on the impact of shopping at, and supporting, locally owned businesses visit the American Independent Business Aliance’s website!