Reflecting & Rejoicing Celebrating 60 Years of Impact »

Maria Sanchez is an Oakland resident and a true Fruitvale living legend. For the past 30 years, she has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Latinos living in the Fruitvale District in Oakland.

People that know Maria and know her work refer to her as “Fruitvale’s Mayor.” As The Unity Council’s Business Improvement District Manager she connects small minority-owned local business to the resources they need to grow and become sustainable. Maria also organizes Summer Night Markets and other events to promote local shopping and coordinates cleanups and beautification projects around the neighborhood to promote safety. Maria always tells her army of volunteers, “If the neighborhood is clean and looks pretty, people will take care of it because they will feel proud of the place where they live.”

Before her work at The Unity Council, Maria Sanchez worked as a Health Promotora for La Clínica de La Raza. She led educational workshops on nutrition, safety, and family communication for parents in Casa CHE (Community Health Education).

 Cool Facts About Maria Sanchez:

  • Maria first started working at The Unity Council as Community Organizer under the Main Street program sponsored by LISC. The Main Street program was similar to the Fruitvale Business Improvement District.
  • Maria helped organize the Fruitvale Dia de los Muertos Festival when it first started 22 years ago.

About The Bussiness Improvement District

The Fruitvale Business Improvement District (BID) physically and economically revitalizes the commercial corridors of International Boulevard, Fruitvale Avenue, and Foothill Boulevard. The BID is comprised of and works directly with over 350 locally owned businesses and property owners. We work to create clean and safe streets, offer community-building activities and attractions, and build business skills among our small business owners to support sustainable growth. These ongoing services result in increased economic activity, a lowered perception of crime, and a greater sense of pride in the community.