We promote economic justice and alleviate poverty by increasing the financial resilience and sustainability of community-based nonprofits and enterprises.
We envision financially strong and culturally vibrant communities where each person has access to decent jobs, homes, health care, education, and economic opportunities.
Community Vision has a long history of supporting Oakland communities, the ancestral territory of the Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone people. Oakland became home for many Black families who migrated to the Bay Area from the south in the 1940s. The town was a “Harlem of the West” in the 1950s and was the birthplace of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.
Since our founding in 1987, Oakland has been one of our key regions of investment because of its rich and distinct cultural heritage, which continues to shape civic life and inspire community leaders worldwide. Due to racist and exclusionary practices, Oakland’s flatlands are a focal point for displacement. Separated from the more affluent hill neighborhoods by the 580 Freeway, the flatlands are a clear example of how financial disinvestment and public policy can create disparities and inequities in the availability and quality of community assets like grocery stores, thriving small businesses, maintained streets, and parks and green space.
In 2015, we deepened our support of Oakland communities by focusing on the city as a place-based initiative. Our approach, focused on addressing structural disparities, is grounded in equity and centers leadership, power-building, and wealth generation through health and wellbeing, placekeeping, culture keeping, and movement-building. In 2020, we provided COVID relief support to 51 nonprofits and small businesses across Oakland to ensure that communities have access to secure and affordable housing, food security, and crucial services offered by anchor community organizations.
The Central Valley is the ancestral territory of the tribes of the Yokut and Miwok peoples. Spanning over 450 miles, from the Tehachapi Mountain ranges just south of Bakersfield to the Cascade Range north of Redding, the Central Valley is comprised of two valleys: the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. In 2008, we launched our placed-based initiative in the Central Valley, with the goal of creating partnerships that amplify the community-based power-building work already happening in the area. The Central Valley is a complex geopolitical and economic region that encompasses a large part of California, and is known for its leadership as California’s agricultural capital. Community Vision celebrates the Central Valley as home to a diverse community of artists and culture keepers, housing and community development nonprofits, and environmental and food justice organizations, who preserve the nourishing spirit of the region’s people. We are invested in their vision and committed to our work with Central Valley partners. Together, we work to achieve economic justice, alleviate poverty, and increase the financial resilience and sustainability of whole communities.
Land is essential to people having food, a home, an income, and influence. Land ownership builds wealth more consistently than other assets and is one of the easiest assets to leverage for access to capital. In the U.S. the majority of wealth is built in real estate. This is why land related inequality is a central component of greater inequality. We believe access to land ownership is an important step in ensuring economic equity. We provide capital and strategic guidance to facilitate community-owned real estate to stabilize the community, create shared prosperity and support self-determination, in turn building collective political power. We also provide community support to mitigate gentrification and strengthen cultural place keeping.
Based in Richmond, RYSE emerged from the needs articulated by local youth organizers of color following the killing of four high school students in 2000. After many years of planning, the organization opened its doors in 2008, addressing the emotional, mental and political health of local young people.
Due to systemic racism, many different economic indicators that convey measures of wealth continue to demonstrate persistent race-based gaps. The greatest gaps remain in household wealth. Centuries of discriminatory policies and practices have made it particularly difficult for people of color to achieve economic security. Community Vision is leveraging our resources to build wealth within BIPOC communities and advance our mission of economic justice.
For more than 15 years, Mandela Partners has improved health and created wealth by partnering with local residents, community businesses, and family farmers to build assets through local food enterprises. They do this work through entrepreneurship training, micro-lending, and advising for visionary entrepreneurs who otherwise may not have access to such resources. They also manage the Ashland Market & Cafe and the Oak Harvest Kitchen, a restaurant and kitchen incubator in downtown Oakland that houses their Re-Generate Opportunity Program for reentry residents of Alameda County who receive training in food services and catering. As a long time partner, Community Vision and California FreshWorks have provided the nonprofit with multiple grants over the years, including one to support their COVID-19 response work.