The San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Community Impact Fund has made a new $2 million loan to support The Unity Council’s Juntos Fruitvale project.
Located in the heart of Oakland’s Fruitvale district, the project will renovate and transform the long-vacant, Masonic Temple into a three-story, 10,000 square foot community hub for artists, social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and local businesses.
“Juntos Fruitvale will allow us to support our community in two pivotal ways,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council. “First, it will be a space for us to celebrate, share, and preserve our culture in the Fruitvale by offering two accessible venues for neighborhood residents, community organizations, and performing arts groups to host performances and events. Secondly, it will be a space for us to support the local economy through our Small Business Assistance Center and by housing Peralta Service Corporation (PSC), our social enterprise. PSC is a second-chance employer, and employs committed jobseekers with significant barriers to employment due to checkered employment history, criminal backgrounds, language, and more. For too long, the Fruitvale has been passed over for investment. Juntos is one more step toward building a thriving community through this vibrant cultural hub in our neighborhood.”
“The Unity Council has been an incredible partner and a pillar of the Fruitvale community; from housing to community development, they are leading the way,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. “The Juntos Fruitvale project is exactly why we have been increasing our impact investments. Look at the Fruitvale. It is a powerful community full of recent immigrants, and families who have been there for generations. It is alive with small businesses from fruit stands to restaurants and other small businesses. Juntos Fruitvale will help keep the Fruitvale a vibrant community and ensure that all our neighbors have access to what they need to thrive.”
Juntos Fruitvale is directly aligned with the foundation’s Equity Agenda of building a Bay Area where everyone can get a good job, live in a safe and affordable home, and have a strong political voice.
Juntos Fruitvale project is accessible via public transportation and connected to the Fruitvale Transit Village (and the BART station) via a pedestrian shopping street.
About the Unity Council
In partnership with you, our Bay Area Community Impact Fund donors, we are proud to support The Unity Council – a trusted SFF partner. A non-profit with a 57-year history in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, The Unity Councils’ mission is to promote social equity and improve quality of life by building vibrant communities where everyone can work, learn, and thrive. They offer a wide range of programs to the community in support of their mission: reaching more than 12,000 individuals and families annually in five languages. Some of their programs include early childhood education, employment services, and affordable housing development and management. Over the last year, SFF has awarded The Unity Council $350,000 in grants. One grant supports The Unity Council convening 10 Latinx-led organizations to strengthen the power building and advocacy infrastructure in the region. Another grant is for general operating support.
Read more stories of how the impact fund supports local small businesses and preserves communities of color in the Bay Area.