Mission: To promote social equity and build vibrant communities where everyone can work, learn, and thrive.
About the organization: Founded in 1967 by local community leaders who wanted to advance representation of Latinos in political and policy decisions in Oakland and the surrounding communities, the Unity Council operated the first Spanish-language focused employment center in Oakland and served as a community-based anchor institution in President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. In the 1980s and '90s, the organization acquired real estate and eventually, in 2004, opened Fruitvale Village, a mixed-use development that includes prime retail spaces, offices, and apartments and serves as a model for public transit-oriented development. Today, the organization provides programs focused on children, families, and seniors; youth empowerment and achievement; small businesses; and career and financial empowerment.
Current programs: The Unity Council's services include Head Start and Early Head Start preschool programs, the Fruitvale-San Antonio Senior Center, the Latino Men and Boys and Latina Mentoring & Achievement programs, youth career services, and a summer youth employment program sponsored by the City of Oakland's Summer Youth Employment Program. Its small business, housing, and neighborhood services include the Fruitvale Business Improvement District, housing access and navigation, senior housing, and property management, while its career and financial empowerment services include the Fruitvale Neighborhood Career & Resource Center, a Talent Development Academy offered in partnership with AC Transit, and Peralta Service Corporation.
COVID-19 response: In response to COVID-19, set up a Resilience Fund that provides direct cash assistance to immigrants, food for children and seniors, technical assistance for local small businesses, housing stability grants and resources, and other services for low-income families, immigrants, and communities of color. The Unity Council website also offers COVID-19 updates, including general resources and information and resources for undocumented Californians, local small businesses, and children, youth, and educators.
Website: Visitors to the Unity Council site can learn more about its history, impact, and services; fill out an intake form; and/or keep up with the latest developments. They also can get involved by making a donation or signing up to volunteer.
Funding: The Unity Council is supported by individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies.