Friday, December 20, 2013

Gratitude & Hope-Non-Profit Roundtable

The December Non-Profit Roundtable meeting was all about celebrating 2013, expressing gratitude for what has been beneficial and exemplary in our work and personal lives, discarding that which is burdening us, and carrying forward what is good.

 We began by sharing one professional activity or development that occurred during the year for which we were thankful. Following this brief introduction, we engaged in three incredible activities:

Activity One - Gratitude Leads to Happiness

First we watched the following SoulPancake video: Then we wrote our own brief letters or paragraphs expressing our gratitude about something, or to someone who has made a difference in our lives and/or profession. As part of our discussion, everyone voluntarily shared their letter. There was as much happiness in hearing others’ gratitude as there was in sharing our own. The conversation also noted how poorly we accept thanks or appreciation from others. A side activity would be to have each person in a group stand up and be honored for her/his special contributions. The honoree would not be able to respond or wave away the gratitude or praise, but simply generously receive it and take it in.

Activity Two - Burdens-Be-Gone

Recognizing that we often carry the burden of our mistakes, hurts, fears and confusions with us from day-to-day, month-to-month and even year-to-year, we agreed that this was a good time to let go of some of them. Each participant wrote on a piece of paper three different things that happened to him/her, either professionally or personally during 2013, that they wanted to release and let go. Without showing what we had written to others, we then folded the pieces of paper and put them all into a pot. Then we set them on fire! We literally burned away our burdens, shames, and upsets until they were ashes to be discarded. Initially, this activity was met with some skepticism, but during the burning, there was a great sense of catharsis. The worries, concerns, inadequacies and mistakes of the past year were gone -- never to be mentioned or thought of again.

Activity Three - Hope

Having energized our positivity with the gratitude activity, and having discarded our burdens, we were ready to move toward the future. In this activity, we each wrote down on three separate pieces of paper, three different positive actions, activities or practices from 2013 that we want to carry forward into 2014. We were all encouraged to keep these on hand, and to refer to them regularly, to keep ourselves on a positive track.

It is the pleasure of the Non-Profit Roundtable to share these powerful activities with the Oakland Chamber and Non-profit communities and encourage organizations and companies to perform one or all three of the activities. Individuals can do them on their own, as well.

Before, during and after the activities and conversation, participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, wine and other beverages to salute 2013 and open our arms to 2014.

We also took time to express our deep gratitude for the service and support we’ve received from Joe Haraburda, who is retiring from the Chamber of Commerce. Most Chambers of Commerce do not have anything like our Nonprofit Roundtable, and we thank Joe for his years of support. All of us from the Roundtable also give our thanks and appreciation to Paul Junge, who is leaving also leaving the Chamber. We with only the best to both Joe and Paul.

Special thank you to door prize donors Regus Executive Suites (, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (, CARD (, Cerebral Palsey Center for the Bay Area ( and DIVAS with Sol (, and everyone for bringing snacks and food.


* * *


The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in a conversation on how we can make the best use of our Chamber membership and planning for success.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (



Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Educational Opportunity Spotlight

From time to time, the Chamber is made aware of local educational opportunities relevant to our members and other community based organizations. See below for the most recent opportunity spotlight, with special attention to all high school juniors and seniors:

The San Francisco and East Bay Student Leaders® program is open to high school juniors and seniors in the following counties: San Francisco, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Student Leaders® Program is accepting applications for the 2014 Student Leaders® program through January 31, 2014.  

Since its inception in 2004, the Bank of America Student Leaders Program has recognized more than 2,000 exemplary high school juniors and seniors who have a passion for improving their communities.  The program helps students gain a greater understanding of how nonprofits create impact in the community and helps develop them as the next generation of community leaders through two components:
·        A summer eight-week paid internship with a nonprofit organization selected by the bank. This internship is designed to provide opportunities for the students to develop and apply leadership skills through hands-on work experience, while raising their awareness of community issues addressed by their Host Organization. 

The week-long, all-expense paid Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. from July 13-18, 2014. Conducted in partnership with the Close Up Foundation, the Summit introduces students to aspects of civic, social and business leadership and provides them with knowledge and skills they will use throughout their life to create positive community change.

Students can apply for the program by going to Please note the application opened on October 28, 2013 with a deadline of January 31, 2014.

For more information on the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, please visit

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Linked Learning: East Oakland Sports Complex Offers Oakland Students a Glimpse at the Real World

By Kevin Ingersoll, Teacher
Dewey High School
Health & Fitness Pathway

Thirteen students from our Health and Fitness Pathway at Dewey Academy had the honor of taking a backstage tour at the East Oakland Sports Complex (EOSC).
Dewey Students prepare to ask questions in EOSC

EOSC is part of the City of Oakland’s Parks and Recreation department. The complex provides hundreds of East Oakland residents a chance to take care of their health through exercise. It has state-of-the-art Fitness, Aquatic and Dance Centers as well as tennis courts, a baseball diamond and more. Students not only received a tour of the facilities and got to try out the new spin bikes that members can use, but they also got a chance to speak with staff members about their career paths. Pathway students also had the opportunity to see the 21st century skills we discuss in class in action in the real world. Staff members used customer service skills with guests, and all guests were treated with respect. Some students were surprised to learn that skills in media and technology were also used at the sports complex, especially at the front desk where staff scan IDs and register people to use the facility.  Our host, Anthony Schriver, told students about all of the potential jobs that they could get at the EOSC and the qualification that they would need for each position.

Trying out spin class bikes at EOSC
Our Career Exploration Visit helped my students link their schoolwork to potential careers in the Health and Fitness industry. In school we call this the Linked Learning approach. This was our second visit to the East Oakland Sports Center. Staff members are so generous with their time and inspiring to our students. I look forward to returning yearly with new groups of students. Thank you, East Oakland Sports Center staff!


Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

OPD gets nearly 80 new patrol cars

The City of Oakland is announcing the addition of 82 new vehicles to the public safety vehicle fleet, including a new type of police patrol vehicle.  Eight of the new vehicles were on display at a press conference in Frank Ogawa plaza just before noon today.

The new vehicle offers safety and environmental improvements over the Crown Vic. New features such as a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring and stability control reduce the risk of accidents. The new vehicles are expected to get 30% better fuel economy than the existing patrol cars. In addition, the SUV design provides greater space and better access for officers and their equipment.

Interim Police Chief Sean Whent said, “The addition of these new vehicles to our fleet is greatly needed and very much appreciated. Reliable police cars are an essential tool in effective crime fighting. Our officers rely on them not only to respond to calls for service but they often serve as office space for report writing and preliminary investigations so dependability and safety are important. We are committed to continuing to grow the Police Department and providing Oakland Police Officers with the tools necessary to continue to reduce crime.”

There are 82 new vehicles on order. The first ones ready have been used to train officers. The rest will be deployed over the next few months, as they are up-fit with equipment and communications upgrades by the Oakland Department of Information and Technology.

74 of the new patrol vehicles are part of a lease-purchase program for 153 vehicles for various City departments.  Also included in that program are:


•             8 unmarked vehicles for OPD

•             4 fire apparatus vehicles

•             36 parking enforcement vehicles

•             6 street sweepers

•             25 light trucks and vans for PWA, OPD, OFD and Human Services

The City has not bought this many vehicles in a single year since 2001.


Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Name of the Game is FUNdraising!

The November meeting of the Oakland Chamber’s Non-Profit Roundtable was all about realizing the FUN in fundraising and communications. Co-chair Âna-Marie Jones began the meeting with Roundtable favorite Empowered Introduction – The Candy Calling Card.
Attendees were encouraged to select a piece of candy (Hershey’s kiss, peppermints, Butterfinger, gum, chocolate gold coins, etc.) from a basket, and then introduce themselves, and end with how this candy is reflective of their organization. The responses were varied, clever and apropos to their organizations. For example, a youth services representative selected a toffee candy, noting that his clients’ faced issues that are sometimes hard, chewy and difficult. Another participant picked a Baby Ruth, and shared that his organization was not like others – they were much nuttier!
The candy choices and answers were diverse, interesting and sometimes quite funny or insightful, and each one created a greater sense of the organization.
The exercise concluded with the encouragement to: 1) go through the candy aisle of a store, randomly select different pieces of candy, and think about how each could be used to help you share about your organization; 2) share the exercise at your next staff meeting to test everyone’s wit and knowledge, and flex their ability to craft an empowering story about your organization; and 3) remember that having a tasty treat to offer at events, or to leave as your calling card, is a great way to extend your reach and increase recognition!
Give It a Shot! As many organizations staff booths and tables at fairs and community events, a question to ask is what do you have that draws people to your table – giveaways, games, balloons? Roundtable members tried the “Give it a Shot” exercise in which each person describes how s/he would use a shot glass at a booth or tabling event. A health center representative chose pomegranate juice, because it gives you a boost, is good for you, and helps you live longer. Another representative would fill the shot glass with seeds, noting that seeds represent how a community can grow and also results in beautiful flowers. CARD staffers would use it to show how the smallest safety items can make the biggest difference.

An Opportunity for Nonprofits! Another fun opportunity for non-profits and individuals who want to support a specific organization is to participate in the annual Oakland Running Festival. Longtime Chamber member Gene Brtalik, the Festival’s coordinator, shared with attendees the fun of the festival and the options for using this all-community event to stay healthy, raise funds and engage the community.
Wouldn’t “We saw you at the Oakland Running Festival” be a great introduction?
The Festival offers several options in its 2014 Charity Affiliation Program, including promotional packages for groups of “fundraising” runners and staffing a water stop. Another option is to simply group along the festival route in branded apparel (t-shirts, for example) to cheer on the runners.
The Oakland Running Festival is organized by Corrigan Sports, will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014, and anticipates having 10,000 runners. If you have more questions or want more information, go to the website ( or contact Gene Brtalik (

Making the Ask! In our Roundtable’s ongoing pursuit for participating organizations to continue to strengthen and increase their fundraising capacity, co-chair Jerry Metzker led attendees in an activity to increase individuals’ comfort level in asking for support. This activity divided participants in two groups. Each member of the first group was given a card with an “ask” for a small item on it. The members of the second group were each given an item (that was going to be requested). Then, both groups were instructed to match up. Sometimes the object-holder responded to the request with a question, such as “how will this help you?” or “how many do you need?” Through the asking individuals heard “no” frequently, they were not dissuaded from their task, because they knew that they were asking the wrong person for the wrong item. To achieve success—get what they wanted—they needed to ask the person that had what they were asking for. Asking for donations or funding requires a similar process. 

Most Memorable Fundraiser! We concluded the meeting with a facilitated conversation, where each member shared their personal or professional experiences of fundraisers that were particularly memorable.  While outstanding auctioneers were high on the list, fundraisers that seem organic to the organization were also very well-received. Ana-Marie shared about the fundraiser for Impact Bay Area ( where beyond the silent auction and a delicious food spread, graduates of the full-contact self-defense program shared how it had changed their lives, and several graduates were able to demonstrate their powerful skills – both physical and verbal – on the well-padded instructors.  Just witnessing the demonstrations left people feeling more confident.

* * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber Non-Profit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2013, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in our annual year-end celebration to enjoy each other’s hospitality, Jerry’s amazing cookies and saying farewell to 2013.

Co-Chair Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (


Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bell Investment Advisors Awards 2013 Annual Youth-in-the-Arts Grant

OAKLAND, CA, December 11, 2013 – Bell Investment Advisors,, announced today that the firm is awarding its second annual Youth-in-the-Arts Grant of $5000 to the Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre (CGR). CGR provides a transformative yearlong program for at-risk and underserved youth identified by teachers in the Oakland Unified School District. The organization’s mission is designed to foster an appreciation of the arts, create talented actors, and build leaders who understand the power of teamwork and commitment, and who have the confidence to take on just about any challenge.
In its first season, the group produced two full-length shows, Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, performing each show eight times for over 650 audience members, 56% of whom, research revealed, had never previously attended a live performance of any kind.
The $5,000 Bell grant will directly support production costs for GCR’s spring production of After Juliet, a play by Sharman MacDonald, and will assist the organization in moving to its new location, Flight Deck, a theater complex currently under construction in downtown Oakland. GCR is one of only four companies (and the only youth company!) accepted as resident companies for the 2013-2014 season.  
Upon hearing news of the award, GCR’s Executive Director, Lindsay Krumbein responded: “Bell Investment Advisor’s generous Youth-in-the-Arts Grant will make a huge difference in the success of Gritty City Rep as we work to provide theater arts opportunities for Oakland youth. We are thrilled and honored to be this year’s recipient of such an exciting award. I can’t wait to share the good news with our Youth Ensemble!”      
Gritty City Rep was selected as this year’s grant recipient from among 35 deserving applicant organizations. See a list of the finalists at
GCR is an example of the many youth-based arts programs that have sprung up in Oakland in response to severe budget cuts to arts programs in the Oakland Unified School District over the past several years.  By providing this grant every year, Bell Investment Advisors intends to bring attention and increased support to them, and strongly encourages other businesses to support them as well.
Organizations which have not received the grant in previous years are encouraged to apply for the 2014 Bell Youth-in-the-Arts Grant when it is announced in the spring.
Bell Investment Advisors is a privately-held registered investment advisory firm, managing over $500 million in assets. In its 22nd year of business, Bell offers investment management, financial planning, and career/life coaching services. For more information, visit
Nancy Isaacs
Bell Investment Advisors


Monday, December 2, 2013

America's Children's Holiday Parade- This Saturday 12/7


OAKLAND, CA -- The 14th annual America’s Children’s Holiday Parade, which will be telecast nationally via public television (PBS) and internationally through the American Forces Network, will be held in downtown Oakland on Saturday, Dec. 7.

The parade will march up the streets of Oakland, stepping off at 2 p.m. at 11th and Clay streets, working its way up to 14th Street and then to Broadway, where it will make a left turn and then a right on 20th Street to Lake Merritt.

This year the parade will be marching to the beat of a different drum when more than 20 high school marching bands – a whopping 3,000 band members – will be marching the parade route to help make the holiday season bright.

Other highlights will include pop artist Veronica Powers, nearly 40 children’s characters, such as Curious George, Garfield, the Berenstain Bears, Snoopy and Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang, the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees, and of course Santa.

Sponsors this year include presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente as well as Visit Oakland, Macy’s, Wells Fargo, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, The Clorox Company, Radio Disney AM 1310 and Telemundo.

Radio Disney will also kick off the holiday tree lighting at Jack London Square on Friday, December 6, the evening before the parade. The tree lighting ceremony will also feature some of the children’s characters that will appear in the following day’s parade.

The parade was founded and is managed by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The America’s Children’s Holiday Parade is also a holiday championship for the marching band circuit, sanctioned by the Northern California Band Association.

The parade truly is a national event, with parade items, entries and volunteers coming in from a number of different states, and from as far away as New York, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina and Hawaii.
If you want posters for your windows, let us know. Plus, you can help spread the joy by adding this event to you company newsletters and or website.
Follow us on Twitter, @oaklandholiday and don’t forget to include the hashtag #Oakchildrensparade.
Check out the website for up to date information-

Labels: , , , , , , ,