Anonymous Donor Pledges $10 Million To Rise East Initiative To Transform Lives Of Black Residents In East Oakland
Selena Wilson, CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center and Rise East's leader, sees the major donation as not only an indication that the organization's plan is attainable but is key to unlocking an even larger fiscal contribution.
Rise East, a collective 10-year initiative to improve the lives of Black families and children in East Oakland, California, just had its prayers answered as an anonymous donor pledged $10 million toward its efforts, KTVU 2 reports. Spurred by the dedication of community leaders, the organization has worked to amplify five levels of power: economic, knowledge, people-centric, cultural, and political.
Rise East wants residents of the Bay Area and investors to “imagine an East Oakland where Black children and families are not only surviving but flourishing,” and now it seems that vision is closer than ever before.
Selena Wilson, CEO of East Oakland Youth Development Center and Rise East’s leader, sees the major donation as not only an indication that the organization’s plan is attainable but also a key to unlocking an even larger fiscal contribution.
“It is helping us to secure a $50 million match from a national funder,” Wilson said. “And in fact, we’re actually working on raising $50 million for that $50 million match. So a one-for-one match totaling $100 million, and we are $10 million closer thanks to this anonymous donor.”
Wilson explained that Rise East’s mission and the work it has already accomplished are made possible by the efforts of myriad community organizations who were already spearheading their own initiatives to support East Oakland. The decision to partner has made its reach and impact even more valuable as it focuses on transforming the lives of its residents.
“[We’re] really thinking about the holistic person all the way from inception through schooling, career years into old age,” said Wilson. “So it’s going to cover housing, learning, supports career, and all of these comprehensive services that we know it takes in order for a person to not only thrive but live with joy and prosperity.”
Rise East’s efforts will help to develop commercial corridors that will be used for affordable housing as well as Black-owned businesses. The investment areas it’s focused on aim to ensure that Black children and youth learn and grow; Black residents are safe, connected, and enriched; Black families have a place to live and thrive generationally; Black workers and small businesses have economic support for sustainability; and the health and wellbeing of Black families is tended to.
Another key component of Rise East’s efforts is a 40-by-40 block area of East Oakland the organization hopes to turn into a “Black Cultural Zone,” a geographic area where Black people have a significant presence and Black culture is celebrated and preserved.
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