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Innovators Award

Besides our own projects, we also systematically contribute to other organizations who are doing positive work in Oakland. To engage with and support these programs is integral to the Oaklandish creed. We don’t consider it “giving back” to the community; it is being a part of the community. It’s simply who we are.

Our Community Support Initiatives include:
– Oakland Innovators Award Fund
– Local Arts-In-Action Grant
– Event & Fundraising Sponsorships


” … recognizing trail blazing community work in the East Bay Area”.

Oakland has historically been a hotbed of renegade activity, where boundaries are redefined and trends are created rather than followed. To help encourage the continuation of this “trailblazers’ legacy”, Oaklandish has created the Oakland Innovators Award, a fund that offers annual grants to those organizations and individuals who are doing pioneering work in our community. This award is meant to offer recognition and financial rewards to local programs that exemplify the values of innovation and progress in all areas of civic live, including arts, education, technology, and business. The recipients represent a wide range of social interests and populations, and are not restricted by any political agenda.

This award was created in the spirit of those Oakland legends who have had a direct influence on global culture; Architect Julia Morgan, Martial Artist Bruce Lee, Musician Larry Graham, Dancer Isadora Duncan, Aviator Joe Fong Guey, Artist Mike “Dream” Francisco, and Director Russ Myer, among many many others.



The Bikery offers middle school students the opportunity to earn a customized Donk bike they have built themselves. The experience teaches the value of work, the pride of ownership, and the feeling of freedom that comes from riding a bike they made through the neighborhoods they live in.

Planting Justice creates energy and water-efficient gardens that demonstrate how to grow a complete nutritional diet in our own urban neighborhoods. Their aquaculture Fish Farm and Edible Garden will provide student participants both nutritious food for their bodies and income for their college fund to feed their minds.

The art students of Sequoia Elementary School will create a 60-foot long mural of the timeline of the Dimond neighborhood from the native Ohlones until today. The mural will then inspire others as it becomes part of the landscape of the Dimond.

OAKLAND URBAN PATHS Oakland Urban Paths is a group of dedicated walkers, planners, and historians whose common mission is to maintain and celebrate the heritage of Oakland’s paths and stairways. These urban paths weave together neighborhoods and are an important piece of our physical and social infrastructure.

The Oakland Underground Film Festival emphasizes local filmmakers and provides a look at films that entertain, educate, and inspire. In addition to the annual event in September in Jack London Square, the OUFF produces original works and hosts events and presentations throughout the year.

Oakland Leaf works to foster a more just, rich, and loving society in our neighborhoods where self-determination is a reality. The annual All-Oakland Youth Talent Show is a testament to their success at helping Oakland’s youth to “be the ones we have been waiting for.”

Since 1950, Fairyland has been the place, on the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt, where children’s literature comes to life with whimsical storybook sets, gentle rides, friendly animals, and wonder-filled puppet shows. A place for kids to be kids.

WOBO’s mission is to improve neighborhood livability and vitality by making Oakland a better place to walk and bike. Their Oaklavía event will open car-free city streets for recreation and community building. Roadways become opportunities for strolling, cycling, roller skating, hula hooping, dancing, board games or just people-watching.

Read about previous Oaklandish Innovators Award winners…


Oaklandish began as a covert public arts campaign designed to bring a sense of history and culture to the underutilized public spaces of this city. Seven years later, we continue that legacy by encouraging other local artists to create their own Oakland-centric works in the public realm. With the Arts-In-Action Grant, Oaklandish aims to provoke public discourse and inspire creative activity throughout our urban landscape. This annual grant award of $5,000 goes to an artist for an approved project meeting the following criteria;

1. the work of art is located in public space, or is readily accessible to the public.
2. the piece in some way addresses or reflects the identity, culture, or history of Oakland.
3. the project is sponsored by a 501c3 non-profit organization.


Organizations that we have proudly sponsored include: JustCause Oakland, Youth Together, North Oakland Community School, Markus A. Foster Educational Institute, Hood Games, Indy Voter, Music For America, Future 5000, Youth Empowerment Center, Bushrod Recreation Center’s Rockridge Night Out, Children’s Hostpital Patient Care Fund, and George Mark Children’s Hospice.

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