Social Capital Conference 2009 will feature 100 speakers addressing the problems that solely profit driven companies have created for our economy. This conference will focus on how having a double or triple bottom line can change America—for the better. “SoCap09 will bring together a unique mix of the world’s top social innovators–investors, donors, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders, today’s leading catalysts of change from across the globe.” This three day conference will feature “two days of overview plenaries and deep-dive sessions and workshops, followed by a third day of participant-led sessions.” This year’s SoCap Conference will be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. To learn more about SoCap 09 and how you can be a part of it, click here.
Archive for July, 2009
Come to Jack London Square on August 28, 29, or 30 to taste the best of the Bay Area’s street foods. There will be taco trucks, fresh produce, craft foods, ice cream vendors, and Northern California beers. For more information, click here.
Do you love Oakland as much as we do? Do you want to show your love and support for Oakland while helping others for a good cause? Then check out the Oakland Pendants designed by Oakland Unwrapped vendor Mangosteen. Featuring original photographs of classic Oakland scenes, from the Parkway Theatre to the cranes to Lake Merritt, these pendants will all remind you of this unique city.
Mangosteen founder Gabrielle Lessard first came up with the idea for these pendants when the Parkway Theatre closed. Lessard took images of the Parkway’s marquee, which read “We Love You Oakland,” and shrunk the images to turn them into pendants to, as Lessard said, “express our collective sense of loss.” While the Parkway Theatre pendant served as a lovely memorial to the now-closed Parkway Theatre, Lessard discovered a silver lining in her art; she realized she had many other photos of Oakland that would make fun pendants to commemorate the unique landmarks and everyday images Oakland has to offer. These images include scenes from Downtown, Chinatown, Lake Merritt, the cranes, the Fox Theatre, Old Oakland Victorians, and more. Check out this slide show of Oakland photos you can choose from. Pendants can be purchased from the Mangosteen website on Oakland Unwrapped! And check back to see what else Lessard creates from these iconic Oakland photos-designs for Oakland cufflinks, key chains, and wine glass markers are in the works.
Lessard, an Oakland-based attorney, community development leader, jewelry designer and photographer, is also an avid traveler, especially in developing countries. The people she met and things she saw on her travels inspired her to create Mangosteen; through Mangosteen, she sells her jewelry along with Fair Trade imports from the countries she visits and educates her consumers about the social problems in developing countries, such as human trafficking. Lessard donates the revenue generated from her sales to various development organizations in the countries she visits. Besides her work abroad, Lessard is a proud Oakland resident, as shown by her Oakland pendants and affiliation with Oakland Unwrapped. To see more of the unique stores on Oakland Unwrapped, check out the website here.
Everyone understands that the economy is in a bad place right now. We all know that unemployment and foreclosures are at highs not seen in the past 25 years. But, the media, government, and financial industry rarely address the situation in terms the general public can understand. NPR’s This American Life gets it. In an episode available for free here, Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson explain why taxpayers have no viable alternative to bailing out banks and how insolvency became an issue in the first place. Blumberg and Davidson simplify bank balance sheets and address three realistic solutions to the current crisis. This episode even mentions ways that some individuals are making an effort to reduce the amount of toxic assets out there. This is truly a great way to learn about what’s going on not only in your own neighborhood, but also in the world economy today. After listening to Blumberg and Davidson, you will have an opinion on what’s happening in the economy, and you may even know what financial experts are talking about when they’re interviewed on the news!
If you like this, also check out other programs from these guys, including Giant Pool of Money (May 2008) about the mortgage crisis and relationship between housing and the economy, and their daily blog and podcast.
How is a community bank different, anyway?
America’s largest banks can fulfill financial needs for their customers. However, many of these large banks — those deemed “too big to fail” — are often also too big to truly care about the welfare of their customers and the communities in which they sit. Community banks offer a community-conscious alternative.
Ever get charged $80 in fees when you are $5 short on a check? That’s just one of the hidden ways in which traditional banks often make their money – they process your biggest payment first so that all of your subsequent payments will cause overdrafts and incur fees. Community banks usually work to avoid these fees for their customers by processing as many payments as they can before you overdraft, and often calling you to let you know you’re about to overdraft before you even do it! When was the last time a big bank called you to help you save money (especially at their own expense)? They are also much more transparent about their fees – they tell you what they are instead of hiding them and claiming to have free accounts. Learn more about the fee practices of banks from the California Reinvestment Coalition: http://calreinvest.org/banking-insurance/overdraft-fees
Want to make sure that there are jobs in your community? Everyone knows that it’s hard for businesses to get loans right now, and it’s especially hard for smaller businesses. Loans are the lifeblood of many small businesses, and when these dry up, businesses have to start laying off their employees. Luckily, community banks work hard to make those more difficult loans to smaller businesses, and – by their charter – they make those loans right in the neighborhood. So when you deposit money in a local community bank, you are also contributing to the economic health of your neighborhood.
Community banks do a lot for their clients and communities; but OneCalifornia Bank goes one step further. Because OneCalifornia Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, holds the financial shares of OneCalifornia Bank, all bank profits will be re-invested in local community activities and community development. OneCalifornia Foundation invests in individual and family projects such as financial literacy classes, foreclosure prevention, Acorns to Oaks (a savings matching program for young children),and in small business services such as Oakland Unwrapped, Oakland Business Assistance Center, and the Indie Awards.
Each customer at OneCalifornia not only gets fair and transparent banking services and fees, but also helps to make Oakland and the Bay Area a better place. America’s economic outlook may continue to look bleak, but even in these tough times, community banks throughout the nation are proliferating. According to this article, community banks are “where people come first.” To learn more about the differences between community banks and larger banks, follow this link.
OneCalifornia Bank and Foundation opened their doors in Oakland two years ago on June 27! On Thursday June 25, 2009, OneCalifornia Foundation joined the Bank in celebrating their second anniversary with a mixer catered by Seison, a local restaurant in Oakland’s Washington Inn Hotel. When OneCalifornia’s founders, Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor, and their team opened the Bank and Foundation two years ago they were hoping to create an effective and sustainable community development organization. In these two years, many residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in Oakland and the Bay Area have been supported by OneCalifornia Bank’s financial services and OneCalifornia Foundation’s charitable giving.
Most of the Foundation’s activities over the past two years have focused on developing projects that address the financial and money management needs of local individuals and families, and the training, technology, and marketing needs of small businesses. Over 100 people have attended OneCAL SAFE (Checking and Lifetime Savings Accounts with Financial Education) financial literacy courses since the Foundation’s inception. The Foundation also has over 150 local businesses on its Oakland Unwrapped! website and partners with several local nonprofits in various community development missions. Says Erin Kilmer Neel, OneCalifornia Foundation’s Program Officer, “The Foundation is an exciting place to be, and I think a real benefit to my home of Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole. We are helping families save their money, helping businesses start and grow every day. We are always working to improve our existing programs as well as solve new problems in innovative ways. On top of all of this work, it’s amazing and powerful to be able to offer people bank accounts and loans.”
Meanwhile, the Bank has helped the Bay Area community by providing bank accounts to the underbanked, making loans to local medium and small businesses, and promoting the financial development of various nonprofit organizations. According to Russ Haycock, OneCalifornia Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, “The past two years have been exciting and humbling for the banking industry. What a great time to start a community development bank. We can hold our heads high as a management team and founders for the strong and healthy performance of OneCalifornia Bank. This is the beginning of a very meaningful journey, and we are poised to make a significant difference for the future of the industry.” OneCalifornia Bank has not fallen prey to the financial crisis that many other banks have succumbed to and thus has been able to truly help the Bay Area community these past two years.
In the two years OneCalifornia has been open, not only has it gained certification as a Community Development Financial Institution, it has also helped many small businesses survive in this difficult economic climate, furnished SBA loans, provided financial literacy classes, aided various nonprofits, and is even in the process of gaining green certification from the Bay Area Green Business Program. OneCalifornia is growing every day and helping facilitate economic opportunity in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area. The Foundation is also currently in the process of starting a program in the Mission District in San Francisco to assist individuals in managing their money with innovative financial products. Every day, OneCalifornia helps more people by providing them with a place to bank that doesn’t funnel money out of their community and a place where everyone has an opportunity to improve their financial situation.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support!
The Oakland Museum of California’s bike docents will be leading bike tours around Oakland on the third Sunday of every month. This tour will encompass downtown, Fruitvale, the Port of Oakland, West Oakland, Brooklyn, and/or Lake Merritt. If you want to explore Oakland with those who know it best, join them at the Oakland Museum of California’s 10th Street entrance at 10:00AM. The tour is free, just bring your own wheels! For more information, click here.
Oakland Events, LLC, is proud to present the 2nd Annual Lakefest ‘09! Lakefest ‘09 takes place on the weekend of August 1 & 2 on Lakeshore Avenue, from Lake Park Avenue down to Mandana Boulevard. Located in the Lakeshore and Grand Avenue shopping districts, and right by Lake Merritt, Fairyland Playground, and the Grand Lake Theatre (an Oakland Indie Awards Winner), this event will feature Arts & Crafts booths, wines tasting tents, live music, gourmet food booths, a kids activity area, the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers Market, and more. Come down and check it out! For more details, check out their website: oaklandfest.com.
Bamboo isn’t just panda food anymore. Bamboo is quickly becoming an alternative to wood for flooring and fences as well as to cotton for t-shirts and socks because of its sustainability. (Bamboo grows rapidly and without pesticides, which means bamboo uses fewer natural resources than other plants and has a smaller impact on our environment.) But did you know that bamboo also makes for a comfortable pair of underwear? Jennifer Lynne Matthews, founder and designer of Porcelynne Lingerie, does just that-she makes her undergarments from a sustainable bamboo blend.
Matthews originally developed Porcelynne Lingerie in 2002 as an alternative to uncomfortable underwear. Focused on fit, she hand makes all of her garments, from underwear to sports bras, tank tops to sleep masks. Since day one, Matthews’s products have been environmentally friendly: she makes all her lingerie from fabrics rescued from factory cutting floors, preventing them from ending up in a landfill. Her newest line of lingerie is made from a sustainable bamboo blend, which is not only soft but also naturally antibacterial and biodegradable. Matthews chose bamboo not only because it is a quality product and good for the environment, but also because she can help to educate her clientele about sustainable practices through her actions. And Matthews’s sustainable practices don’t end with her products; Porcelynne Lingerie uses no plastic wrap in its shipping products and packaging is used sparingly.
Besides being an eco-conscious entrepreneur, artist and fashion designer, Matthews is also a teacher at San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and the author of Fashion Unraveled: How to Start, Run, and Manage an Independent Fashion Label. With her teaching and her book, she serves as a mentor to her students, offering advice on how to run a successful business and produce innovative fashions in a sound manner. She also participates in regional industry leadership circles and co-founded a fashion industry group in Oakland to further support budding entrepreneurs. Calling Matthews’s work “sustainable,” therefore, has a double meaning: she uses sustainable practices in her own business and supports and nurtures other budding fashion entrepreneurs so that they will create and maintain successful businesses.
Jack London Square is hosting a ton of fun weekly events this summer, including:
Live music, board games, and cocktails outside Heinolds’ Last Chance Saloon. Family friendly, of course! Mondays through July 27. 5:30 - 8pm
Waterfront Flicks - Every Other Thursday
Fun movies and Oakland trivia games 7:30pm
Dancing Under the Stars - Every Friday
Free outdoor dance lessons Fridays through September 25th. Prix fixe menus at JLS restaurants and a different dance every night! 8:30pm
See details and more events at the Jack London Square website.