Rising Rents Threaten to Displace Oakland Nonprofits

Oakland’s skyrocketing rents are affecting more than just low-income households. Now, the same nonprofit organizations that serve low-income people are beginning to suffer from the high-rents harming their clients.

Though the problem is less extreme in Oakland than in other Bay Area cities, many local organizations that work to empower low-income communities and people of color are being disproportionately impacted. What’s more, Oakland's city government appears to be exacerbating the crisis by not dispersing nonprofit funding in a timely manner.

“We’re losing real community treasures — whether they’re arts programs or workforce development — that contribute to Oakland’s culture and to its uniqueness,” said Regina Jackson, President and CEO of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC).

[Read the full article here in the East Bay Express.]

The Greenlining Institute recently purchased a downtown Oakland office building to provide a long-term affordable space for nonprofits.

The Greenlining Institute recently purchased a downtown Oakland office building to provide a long-term affordable space for nonprofits.

Why Local Matters: a Hub of Studies that Explain

In recent decades, policy across the country has privileged the biggest corporations. Yet a growing body of research is proving something that many people already know: small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities that are more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected, and generally better off across a wide range of metrics. Here’s a roundup of the important findings that are putting numbers to the harms of bigness and the benefits of local ownership, and that policymakers can use to craft better laws, business owners can use to rally support, and people can use to organize their communities.

Read the full story here and read/download the studies. 

What You Need to Know About Small Business Grants

Small business grants help you get free money. Are you sold? While the competition for grants awarded to small businesses is tough (Think: there’s no such thing as a free lunch), if you are lucky enough to receive one, you get all the benefits of a small business loan without having to pay any money back. Given the choice between taking on more debt or getting a grant you don’t have to repay, it’s an offer that’s hard to resist. 

Read the rest of the article here. [By Katelyn Peters, Content Editor, Townsquared]

Public Startup Pitch Decks All In One Place

[By Andy Sparks, originally posted in Medium.com]

A few weeks ago, Joshua Levy and I announced we were starting work on The Open Guide to Startup Fundraising. To say the guide is growing to considerable size would be an understatement. As we continue work, I thought it would be criminal not to share pieces of it along the way for founders who need the guide now not soon.

Part of what’s so cool about our guides is that the community helps build them. Looking for help last week, I tweeted a short list of great pitch decks I had collected. Thanks to the community and a bit more Googling, I’ve assembled the following list of reference pitch decks for founders to view when building their own: [click here for the full article and the decks]

Andy Sparks, Mattermark

Andy Sparks, Mattermark

International Cooperatives Day - Today!

International Co-operative Day takes place on July 01, 2017. It's an annual celebration of the co-operative movement observed on the first Saturday in July since 1923 by the International Co-operative Alliance. On December 16, 1992, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in resolution 47/90 "the first Saturday of July 1995 to be International Day of Cooperatives, marking the centenary of the establishment of the International Cooperative Alliance." [This text has been taken from www.cute-calendar.com]

Alliance for Community Development

We met with the Alliance for Community Development who is doing extremely innovative work in supporting entrepreneurs. For the last 6 years, the Alliance has been providing cohort-style mentorship to small business owners from diverse backgrounds in the Bay Area with a program called PROPEL. Since PROPEL launched in 2008, 7% of the graduates crossed $1 million in revenue which is at least three times the national average for women and diverse business owners. (Forbes April, 2015)

Often, getting the word to entrepreneurs is the only thing keeping them from accessing the extensive business support network and funding that's available for free (or cheap) in the Bay Area. This is particularly true among minority and low income communities. But honestly, I've been in business and "plugged in" for 17 years in the Bay, and I learn something new every day. The Alliance for Community Development is helping to address this by offering a simple tool. Just send a text message. Once you do that, they'll kick into gear, identifying your business needs, and helping you access programs that align with those needs. Simple, right? 

Independents Week!

Independents Week is an annual campaign, encompassing July 4, to engage local independent businesses and citizens in celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom our local businesses embody. Independents Week also is an occasion to recognize small businesses’ contributions to the community–and to affirm citizens’ role in shaping their community’s future. Please share the phrase "Independents Week" on your website to help spread the word! More info here.

Freelancer Accelerator: Uptima Business Bootcamp

Are you looking to take a leap to being your own boss? Are you looking to take a leap to being your own boss? Are you struggling to sustain yourself as a self-employed person?

In our Freelancer Accelerator, we guide you through a hands-on process of defining your service offering, developing client relationships and establishing the foundation to thrive as your own boss. This program is 6-weeks long and is well suited for individuals seeking self-employment in a personal or professional services industry, or as an artist or musician.

For more information or to register in this bootcamp, go here. For more upcoming business workshops and seminars, go here

New website, new leadership

Welcome to the new Oakland Grown website! In June 2017, Oakland Grown elected a new board and resettled headquarters in the offices of the East Bay Express. By August, you will see a robust marketing campaign, new membership and sponsor packages, a calendar of events, and more. Below, is a list of just some of the new initiatives underway from Oakland Grown!

  • Small business reporting, profiles, events calendar
  • High profile, sustained marketing campaign 
  • Training, workshops, seminars, networking events
  • Peer-to-peer business owner support groups
  • Fundraising for Oakland-based nonprofits
  • Galleries of Oakland’s artists, artisans, makers
  • Neighborhood, industry specific, regional events
  • Loyalty and rewards programs for consumers 
  • Co-marketing partnerships with local organizations
  • Hub for small business resources
  • Connection with local, indie business service providers
  • Community engagement & volunteerism
  • Guides to promote members and inform consumers
  • Advocacy for alternative, progressive business models