Wishing you the best in the New Year

Happy 2016 from Opportunity Partners

The coming break offers an opportunity to thank our partners and friends as we prepare for 2016. It’s been a busy year at Opportunity Partners. While we look forward to all that comes next, we wanted to share a little work and a little fun from 2015.

This dynamic crew of discussion facilitators rocked the City of Richmond’s Bermuda Room, sharing information about the role of anchor institutions in community development and shared prosperity. Our client, the Healthy Richmond Initiative, hosted a business breakfast for Richmond employers to learn about procurement opportunities. The Insight Center for Community Economic Development commissioned a later case study on changes in Richmond, Richmond Opens the Door, about how a community can prepare for opportunity so it benefits people and neighborhoods fighting decades of disinvestment. Photo: Katherine Rife, Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

With exceptional support from the talented team at Intechional Web and Mobile Development, we’ve helped the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO demonstrate broad-based support for community benefits at the Concord Naval Weapons Station as well as its own flair for organizing. Congratulations to its outstanding team, including Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, Joe Summers, and Steve Older who are building power for working families and communities.

More than 5,000 Non-Profit Housing Association voters participated in this November’s San Francisco election, contributing to the overwhelming passage of a $310 million housing bond. We’re working with NPH to support communities across the region, as they grapple with our housing crisis and seek new resources to create homes for everyone.

What a thrill to learn from Mills College Public Policy graduate students — in the classroom, then in meeting rooms and coalitions across the East Bay, since these young women hit the books and get around town, too. We studied strategy, organizational design, performance management, collective impact plus practical tips about demonstrating leadership and raising children. Much gratitude to Ignatius Bau, Henry A.J. Ramos, Olis Simmons and Brightstar Ohlson for guest speaker contributions and to retired professor Carol Chetkovich, shown here with her study of women entering service in Oakland’s Fire Department.

We close the year in gratitude and hopeful anticipation of work with you, your organizations and communities to create a more just and equitable world for all. Best wishes for the New Year and success in all endeavors.

Sharon Cornu
Founder & Chief Strategy Officer

Guest commentary: Two cases highlight the success of workforce training

By Agnes Ubalde and Elena Anaya Storm White completed training in digital graphic design and secured a competitive internship with a national advertising agency. Training at Youth Radio, funded by the Oakland Workforce Investment Board, helped her put what she visualized in her head on the screen, as well as developing professional and organizational skills for success. White was recently…

News from Opportunity Partners – March 2015

Talking power with the New Leaders Council We came to teach but we learned as well, conducting a power analysis training for the New Leaders Council Oakland Chapter, established by Dannette Lambert and Ecaterina Burton. With thanks to SCOPE in LA for the framework, Opportunity Partners has built out a workshop with visuals, action research, and reflection. This session focused…

California’s top-two primary and the challenge of making real change

Published in the Journal of Politics and Policy, UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. Imagine you are reading an article online – maybe this one – and you come to the end. Immediately below flash alarming photos and headlines about belly fat, mortgage rates, and cat videos. They call that clickbait. It’s how I feel…

Contra Costa Labor Council Mails

It’s campaign season, and Opportunity Partners is helping working families in Contra Costa County, led by the Labor Council and our long-time colleague Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, get the message out to members.

Project Equity: worker coops as economic security strategy

After a long dry spell, we seem to be living in a flood of wage increase discussions, whether they’re through executive order to federal contractors, legislative action, or grassroots organizing and initiatives. In the Bay Area, labor-community coalitions are moving increases in Oakland, San Francisco and Richmond, following a thunderous win in San Jose and a…

“Thanks for letting me tell my story. I read it and I like it”

Opportunity Partners creates messaging that wows both our client and the SSI grantee who spoke out To re-frame debate around SSI grants for aged, blind and disabled Californians, Opportunity Partners interviewed Mr. Jerry Higgs, a leader in Hunger Action LA about his experience with SSI benefits after a construction accident. Insight Center for Community Economic Development…

Best wishes, Sheila!

Sheila Blandon leaves Oakland for wide open spaces in Texas and a bright future. Sheila worked at Youth Radio, studied at Berkeley City College, and helped Opportunity Partners protect voting rights and advocate for affordable housing. She quite literally moved Opportunity Partners to a new level and was always the best dressed employee at client meetings!…

Reinvest in CA seniors to boost local economies

Check out an important piece by Henry Ramos in Huffington Post about California’s budget, and the needs of our aged, blind and disabled neighbors. Jerry Higgs suffered a career-ending back injury on a construction job. Two surgeries later, he’s facing a lifetime of pain killers and making ends meet on California’s below-poverty level SSI payments for the…

Oakland Votes Redistricting Coalition reports to community

When our beloved city started down the wrong path, ignoring the Voting Rights Act and the decennial call to draw new district lines, we pulled together a coalition of concerned residents and grassroots organizations. With support from the American Civil Liberties Union and The James Irvine Foundation, the Oakland Votes Redistricting Coalition persuaded the City…

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