A Path to Economic Well-being: The Endeavor Fund Cohort

We are thrilled to announce the seven Bay Area nonprofits receiving grants from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund’s most substantial philanthropic initiative to date — the Endeavor Fund. These seven nonprofits will be awarded a total investment of $24.5M over the next seven years to combat one of the toughest problems of our time; closing the racial and gender wealth gap. This cohort of nonprofits has over 150 combined years of experience in building systems for a more equitable future. They are leaders in fighting the barriers to economic well-being and share our steadfast commitment to centering communities by prioritizing values of family, belonging, shared responsibility, and possibility. Perhaps most importantly, the skilled individuals employed by these organizations are honored, trusted, and beloved by the people they serve. We proudly support these leaders and organizations — we share their vision of a better tomorrow and look forward to partnering with them to amplify their impact and contribute to creating a more equitable society.

A grey haired smiling woman in a read shirt saluting from the window of a dark blue car. A solidarity sign is taped to the passenger window behind her. East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)

is committed to advancing economic, racial, and social justice by building an inclusive economy based on good jobs and healthy communities. For more than 20 years, EBASE has united low-wage workers, communities of color, immigrants, and faith-rooted organizations to build power and create real change in worksites, neighborhoods, and at city halls. Its “whole worker” approach to coalition-building centers the voices of grassroots BIPOC leaders and meaningfully addresses a broad set of systemic challenges that are key to closing the economic and racial wealth gap: access to quality jobs, stable and safe housing, investment in public services, and community health.

Throughout its history, EBASE and its allies have won dozens of local policies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EBASE was at the forefront of fighting to protect the rights of tens of thousands of low-wage workers, who are majority people of color and were deemed to be essential workers — the backbone of our economy. EBASE won a nationally precedent-setting good jobs policy that has shaped large-scale economic development at the Port of Oakland, resulting in thousands of well-paying jobs. This transformative win benefits many residents of Oakland, primarily low-income, Black people, and people who were formerly incarcerated. EBASE is currently organizing tenants and convening coalition allies to pass local protections that ensure working families have stable and safe homes in response to the displacement of low-wage workers to Contra Costa County.

East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)

is a Black woman-led organization that promotes the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) women. The organization’s team of legal experts provides direct services in Alameda and Contra Costa counties for those enduring the structural barriers to prosperity. EBCLC’s services span eviction defense, debt alleviation, immigration relief, record remedies, education justice, public benefits advocacy, and transactional legal services.

By investing in systems change, EBCLC leverages real-time data from its legal practice to draft and champion legislation that addresses the most essential racial and economic needs in the community. Its unique ability to understand current trends led EBCLC to drive Alameda County’s eviction moratorium, the longest-lasting in the country, by tying it to the lifting of the COVID-19 public health order.

Looking from above into a commercial kitchen with chefs preparing food La Cocina

cultivates low-income women entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their food businesses. The organization focuses primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities because these entrepreneurs experience a comparative lack of resources and more significant barriers to entering the formal food industry. For over 18 years, La Cocina has been reducing barriers by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs — 94% of them women, 94% of them people of color, and 65% of them parents.

What started as a small grassroots organization in the Mission District of San Francisco has grown into the best-known kitchen incubator program in the United States and has inspired similar nonprofit incubators across the globe. There are currently over 80 active businesses that are part of the La Cocina community, which includes businesses at the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, the nation’s first women-led food hall. At its core is a commitment to preserving and reinforcing a vibrant, inclusive, and diverse local food economy. Food businesses are not merely ways to build wealth: they connect the whole ecosystem of an economy — customers, farmers, small vendors, neighborhood partners, the city, and more. La Cocina has built a place where women, BIPOC, and immigrant small business owners can claim a place at the table and be the catalysts for economic development for their communities.

Oakland Kids First (OKF)

is a youth-centered organization that advances racial justice and education equity. Every year, OKF provides hundreds of students of color across Oakland public high schools with paid internships, academic and postsecondary support services, case management, leadership development programming, and organizing opportunities. In short, OKF ensures that students have access to the programs and resources needed to navigate existing learning conditions and the support to transform systemic inequities through organizing.

OKF’s youth-led organizing campaigns include school-based advocacy, as well as citywide campaigns to provide students with the conditions they need to thrive. Recently, OKF youth leaders built a youth coalition to research and co-write the Oakland Youth Vote legislation with the City Council President, which would lower the voting age in local school board elections to include 16 and 17-year-olds. That policy passed the city council unanimously and made history when it passed with 67% of the vote. The Oakland Youth Vote campaign builds power for youth to make decisions about their own schools, hold elected officials accountable to meet their needs, and develop skills for a lifetime of civic engagement.

A group of young school children holding their Oakland Promise Certificates of Scholarship and cheering Oakland Promise (OP)

advances equity and economic mobility by providing Oakland’s young people and their families with opportunities and resources to fulfill their college and career aspirations. The organization brings a cradle-to-career, multi-generational support model to the Oakland community, with programs that start investing at birth and pave the way for economic security. Rooted in the belief that education is a key to breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty, OP offers programs to support children in every milestone of their educational journey, helping students and families navigate the complex systems of education across generations and overcome the barriers that often prevent low-income and first-generation students from accessing and completing college.

Since 2016, OP has secured resources to support individual college savings accounts and scholarships for over 1,400 Oakland children and families, empowering Oakland parents to save, build assets, and even buy homes. In the last seven years, it guided 9,000 high school students to college and their chosen careers and awarded a total of $18.5M in scholarships to over 2,800 graduates. This spring OP is poised to award a record-breaking 900 scholarships to Oakland public high school seniors starting their postsecondary journeys. The organization expects to support college savings accounts and scholarships for 30,000 children and families through the year 2035.

Four young adults wearing black Young Women's Freedom Center shirts and blue jeans walking on a sidewalk Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC)

provides support, mentorship, training, employment, and advocacy by and for young women and trans youth of all genders in California who have grown up in poverty, experienced the juvenile legal and foster care systems, have had to survive living and working on the streets, and who have experienced significant violence in their lives. The organization’s work is grounded in a holistic approach that meets immediate needs, builds each participant’s capacity for self-determination, and creates systemic change for our communities through local and statewide organizing.

In 2019, YWFC successfully organized to shut down San Francisco’s juvenile hall in order to stop the criminalization of BIPOC young women and trans youth of all genders. To prevent new pipelines to incarceration from being built to replace juvenile halls, YWFC launched the Beloved Housing continuum: a transformative, community-based alternative to incarceration for young people, their families, and communities. In 2020, the organization launched Freedom 2030, a ten-year campaign to end the incarceration of women and trans people of all genders in the state of California. YWFC has continued to win victories towards these goals, including organizing to get to zero girls incarcerated in Santa Clara County’s juvenile hall, passing statewide legislation to provide a Youth Bill of Rights in all county juvenile detention centers, and continuing to organize communities across the state of California in support alternatives to incarceration.

Two young women leading a classroom of student organizers Youth Organize! California (YO! Cali)

is a network of 115 organizations dedicated to expanding the capacity of young people and organizations in California to practice transformative youth organizing, build power, and create long-term transformation in our communities. YO! Cali builds leadership pathways and serves as a hub for youth organizing, with directly impacted young people at the forefront of a bold, multi-issue movement for transformation, liberation, healing, collective power, and justice. Launched in 2017, YO! Cali was established by more than a dozen youth organizing and multi-generational organizations to work toward an interdependent future of abundance and justice. YO! Cali focuses on four core strategies to strengthen the youth organizing ecosystem and social justice movement: capacity building, power building, healing justice, and field building.

YO! Cali leverages the power of youth leaders from low-income communities of color to transform the systems that perpetuate scarcity, inequity, and racial injustice. With hundreds of youth across the state, the organization drafted the Young People’s Agenda, which reflects their vision for a world with equity, freedom, and racial and social justice, rooted in mutual support, strength, leadership, and love. In addition to training youth leaders, YO! Cali mobilizes funders to rally behind the voices and vision of young people for our collective prosperity.

Economic Well-being, Blog, Grantmaking

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