The City of Oakland CARES Act Small Business Grant Program supports Oakland small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants may be used to cover day-to-day operating costs, such as worker payroll, rent and fixed debts. Check eligibility requirements online.

Applications Due: OCTOBER 12, 2020 @ 5PM PT

Online applications in four languages are available at:

The Unity Council can help you apply!

Call our Small Business Helpline Monday – Friday at 510-535-6916 for application assistance in English and Spanish, Khmer, Mam, Tagalog, Cantonese & Mandarin. Questions? Email

The Unity Council is thrilled to announce a $2 Million investment in our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts from Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative!

This gift is a transformational investment in our capacity. We are humbled by Jack Dorsey’s generosity, his bold commitment to give away ~28% of his wealth publicly, transparently, and quickly (and his invitation to other billionaires to do the same), and grateful to him not only for the investment, but for the visibility that this brings to our work. 

This generous donation will support various programs: from food security, to small business recovery, to anti-displacement housing programs, and to expanding our capacity as an organization to meet the heightened level of need felt by our community. Here are a couple of highlights:

  • Emergency Cash Assistance: At least $500,000 of this gift will go to our emergency cash assistance program, which has to date supported close to 500 families with checks of $500. Often these families have received no other CARES act stimulus support due to immigration status. With this gift, we are able to provide cash assistance to 1,000 more families who are in dire economic need.
  • Small Business Recovery & Resiliency: We work with 350 small businesses in Fruitvale’s bustling and diverse business district. The vast majority of entrepreneurs and merchants are small, family-owned businesses that are struggling under the stay-home order. Small businesses like the ones we work with are the soul and character of the neighborhood, and we are working tirelessly to help them succeed, and stay in our neighborhood. We offer one-on-one technical assistance and education on how to market their business, get their business online, and implement new safety measures that keep their employees and customers safe. We are helping small business owners re-negotiate their leases with their landlords, and re-hire and retain their employees through partnerships with the public workforce system. This gift allows us to hire additional staff in this program so that we can provide even more in-depth services to more members of our community. 
  • Food Security: In April we began bagging groceries for home-bound, low-income seniors and residents of affordable housing, through partnerships with the Alameda County Food Bank and World Central Kitchen, a program that we had never done before and did not have the staffing for. We packaged all of our Head Start meals into grab-and-go meals for hundreds of families with children under 5. We have since then distributed more than 52,000 meals at sites across Oakland and Concord. We know that simply giving meals out is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and Jack’s investment, in addition to a generous grant from the Stupski Foundation, will help us develop a strategic new program of The Unity Council that pulls together small businesses, community-based organizations, and schools and childcare providers to tackle food access from a place-based neighborhood point of view.  

The relevance of our Mission has never been more important. Our goal is not just to stop the impacts of Covid-19 on our community. Our goal is to reverse decades of disinvestment in the people, businesses, and neighborhoods we love, support, and consider our home. We do not want to go back to the way things were. We want to build a new future grounded on equity, access, and power. And together, we are making it happen day by day.

Thousands of protestors in downtown Oakland, CA on June 1

The past few days have been full of grief and anger at the police brutality and injustices that continue to plague our communities. The Unity Council demands justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

While these deaths are at the forefront of public consciousness, they represent only the latest in a long line of injustice and acts of brutality that are manifestations of systemic racism and the racist economic system that has prevented low-income communities of color, like Fruitvale, from receiving equitable access to investments in our streets, businesses, homeowners, schools and parks.

We stand with the thousands of nonviolent protesters that have turned out over the past few days to demand an end to racist systems and to make clear that Black Lives Matter. Protesters of every background and identity have hit the streets to demand change, demand accountability by our elected officials and police, and to call attention to the impact of racist laws and economic policies on our people.

We understand protest. 55 years ago, our organization grew from protest, and from activists demanding change. We know that big systemic change is possible – and the tireless push by activists and demonstrators is essential for making it happen.

And while we are proud of Fruitvale’s role as a site for activism and public protest, Fruitvale residents and business owners are still in a fight for their lives with Covid-19. African American and Latinx communities are the hardest hit by Covid-19 in terms of health and economic outcomes. Fruitvale, the densest and most diverse neighborhood in Oakland, is now the epicenter of Covid-19 in Alameda County. Our Fruitvale neighbors need the basics right now – food, money, access to healthcare. The Unity Council has not let up since the Covid-19 shelter in place order began to meet these needs and protect our community. Tomorrow morning, on the very spot where there is a planned demonstration tonight, we will be serving community members food and distributing groceries. Soon, this very site will become a testing site by La Clinica de la Raza. This site is surrounded by small businesses locally owned by women, immigrants, and African American, Latinx, Asian, Arab, indigenous people. The residents that live on E. 12th, International, and Fruitvale are as diverse as the Bay Area.

Now is a time for action, and for us to lift up the voices of our Black brothers and sisters. We believe this can happen while also respecting Fruitvale neighbors and businesses. Let’s stay aware of the health risks of protest. Let’s keep our social distance, wear our masks, and if we feel sick, stay home. We can also show solidarity for our fellow community members by preventing the spread of this disease.

In solidarity
– Chris Iglesias, CEO

Located at 3611 E. 12th Street in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, Casa Arabella is a new 94-unit, multi-family project of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units. The anticipated completion of Casa Arabella is December 2019.

Applications to join the lease up waiting list for housing at Casa Arabella will be open and available online from Monday, June 10, at 9:00am to Monday, June 17, at 9:00am.

Click here to read the Casa Arabella Information Sheet

Click here to open the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

For more information about the Casa Arabella Waiting List please go to

Jae joined The Unity Council’s Community Programs Department six months ago as the Senior Manager of Community Impact. Jae is an experienced administrator and strategic thinker with a demonstrated history developing cross-sector programs that advance racial equity. Jae has dedicated his career to developing pathways that support leaders of color to transform the education and health sectors.

In his role, he oversees several community programs and impact analysis. He is responsible for program planning, management and supervision of financial and housing access services; as well as leading department-level data analysis to inform program sending, and to establish progress toward organizational goals.

Before coming to The Unity Council, Jae consulted with Be The Change Consulting, where he offered nonprofits program design, contract management, community outreach, fundraising, and evaluation support.

Even though Jae is new to The Unity Council, he is not new to the Fruitvale neighborhood. Jae was the Executive Director of Street Level Health Project, an Oakland-based community center dedicated to improving the wellbeing of underinsured, uninsured, and recently arrived immigrants in Alameda County.

On February 19th and 20th, nine Latino Men & Boys (LMB) program youth and four Mentors were part of the Obama Foundation’s MBK Rising! conference, a convening for the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative held in Oakland that brought together the growing network of MBK communities, elected officials, cross-sector leaders, young men of color and the organizations working hard to help them achieve their dreams.

Erick Vargas, LMB Coordinator, thought the LMB youth walked away with a positive reinforcement: they are worthy and should have the right to a wealth of knowledge and exposure. “Though they felt foreign to be in an environment surrounded by politicians and celebrities, they have every right to be there as well.”

Our youth were thrilled to hear from President Barack Obama during a town hall meeting with Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors and R&B singer John Legend. President Obama highlighted what is working to improve the lives of boys and young men of color, and lift up the young voices in the room.

The Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias was also a guest at the two-day event and described it as a huge success for the city of Oakland and organizations like The Unity Council. “This was a powerful message directed to young men of color that people believe in them,” says Iglesias. “There is a huge foundation being laid across the country that supports our youth of color, their lives and journeys to be strong, productive folks in society.”

The LMB program has been part of the Obama’s Foundation MKB Alliance for the past five years. We collaborate with Urban Strategies Council, The City of Oakland, The Mentoring Center, and The Oakland/­Alameda County Alliance for Boys and Men Of Color to expand evidence-based initiatives to reduce youth violence, grow effective mentorship programs, and measurably improve the lives of boys and young men of color.

“We want to continue to provide these amazing opportunities for our youth, because we want them to know that we are investing in them,” says Vargas. “This event aligns with our mission to give our student the appropriate tools to learn about their identity and culture needed to build their confidence and learn about their purpose.”

Click here if you would like to support our LMB program by making a donation today!

For the first time in the history of the Fruitvale Dia de los Muertos Festival, we will be hosting a VIP area for supporters, donors, and sponsors! Do you want to get in on this VIP action? Join us by making a generous donation today.

Tequila El Rey – VIP Area Sponsor!

Special thanks to Tequila El Rey who will be providing tastings of their premium tequilas to guests 21+. Tequila El Rey last year won the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and this year were Gold Medal Winners for Reposado and Silver tequila in the Monterey Bay Tequila & Cuisine Competition.

“Headquartered in Oakland, California we stay true to our roots and take pride in being a part of such a diverse and robust community.”

Thank you, Tequila El Rey! 

Roses’ Taproom – VIP Area Sponsor!

Beer tastings at the VIP area will be provided in part by Roses’ Taproom. Open for one year in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, Roses’ Taproom is not your typical brewpub. Light, airy, and family- and female-friendly, Roses’ welcomes all to enjoy fresh brewed pints with unusual flavors and styles. “Brewing everything from classic provincial beer styles like crisp Kolsch and floral Saison to experimental offerings like Toasted Coconut Porter with lime wedge and pink Belgian Golden Strong Ale brewed with hibiscus and pink peppercorn, it’s our goal to continuously surprise and excite beer drinkers and expose non-beer drinkers to this ancient, magical beverage that sits at a perfect intersection of art and science.” Thank you, Roses’ Taproom!

Southwest Airlines – VIP Area Sponsor!

Southwest Airlines is the official airline of The Unity Council, providing our staff and clients with transportation to conferences, classes, and other professional development opportunities. This December, eight teachers and parents in our Head Start Program will be attending the Parent and Family Engagement Conference in Orlando, FL. “These conferences provide unique opportunities for parents in our program to gain organizing and leadership skills, so that they better advocate for their child’s learning needs,” says Luis Arenas, our Director of Children & Family Services. “Without Southwest’s support we would not be able to offer this to as many parents, and Oakland’s early-learning community would suffer as a result.” Thank you, Southwest Airlines!

First Republic Bank – VIP Area Sponsor!

The VIP Area would not be possible without the support of First Republic Bank. “We take pride in our strong partnerships and relationships with nonprofits across affordable housing, the arts, education and economic development. Through our corporate giving program, we hope to encourage more dialogue around giving, to spark fresh ideas about how our financial resources and our hours can change people’s lives for the better, and to be more aware of what nonprofits really need.”

  • Over $7 billion:  Since 2010, First Republic has dedicated over $7 billion to finance affordable rental housing and promote community development in low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities and underserved minority neighborhoods.
  • Close to 500: First Republic supported close to 500 nonprofit organizations in 2017, through charitable contributions, volunteerism, and other support.
  • Over 8,800 service hours: Employee Volunteer Program provides every employee with 2 paid work days for volunteerism, with over 8,800 service hours given in 2017.

Thank you, First Republic!

There is still time for you to register to vote – do so by October 22nd! You can register very quickly and easily at And remember, the election is coming up on Monday, November 6th.


We all know that not everyone in our community can vote. If you are under 18, not a citizen of the U.S., or are on parole or in prison for a felony charge, you are not eligible to vote. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact! Below is a list of ways that YOU can get involved and have an impact, even if you are not eligible to vote. If you are elgible to vote, its even more important that you do so knowing that many of our neighbors and friends cannot. Vote with them in mind on election day.

Here are a few ways to get out and participate in the election process even if you can’t vote:

  • Pre-Register to Vote: If you are 16 and older you can pre-register to vote in California, and you’ll be automatically registered to vote on your 18th Here’s how to do it.
  • Become a High School Poll Worker Volunteer: Learn more and apply here.
  • Become a Bilingual Poll Worker and earn up to $205! Bilingual poll workers are needed throughout the county! You must be fluent in English and one other language, including Spanish, Khmer, Vietnamese and others. You must be a lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder). Apply online HERE. Ignore the box that says you must be a registered voter in the State of California – this does not apply if you are a bilingual poll worker.
  • Volunteer for a candidate or campaign! Is there someone running for office that you really believe in? Or, is there a ballot measure that you want to support? You can volunteer for their campaign! Volunteer activities often include calling registered voters, passing out flyers in the community, going door-to-door to talk to voters, and more. You can even volunteer to do office work to keep the candidates campaign on track.
  • Volunteer to Register Other Voters: The League of Women Voters is a nonprofit group that is unaffiliated from democrats or republicans. They work throughout the nation to get more people to register to vote, and they need your help! You can volunteer with them in Oakland – click here to learn how.
  • Call Your Elected Officials: Elected officials represent you – even if you didn’t vote for them! They are elected at every level of government, from the school board to City Council, to County Supervisors, to State Senators or Assemblymembers, all the way up to the U.S. Senators, Congressional Representative, and President and Vice-President. You have a right to call, email, write a letter, send a Tweet, or post on their Facebook page and let them know what you think of the issues. The League of Women Voters has a page on their website that lists every elected representative for Oakland, from the local districts all the way up to national positions.
  • Join a Local Action for a Cause You Believe In: Whether it’s Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, or a March for Climate Action, or the LGBTQ* Pride Parade, when people get together to march for a cause it makes an enormous impact. Politicians and elected officials do notice this, and this type of activity provides all activisits with a boost of energy needed to sustain a long-term movement for social justice. Next time you hear of a march for a cause that you believe in show your support by showing up.

Remember – if there are people in your life that can vote, make sure they are registered by Monday, October 22nd! Their vote makes a difference in your neighborhood, town, region, state, and in the entire country.

The Unity Council thanks all of the golfers and attendees of the 2017 Golf Tournament, held on Monday, September 18th, 2017 at Metropolitan Golf Links. Together, we raised over $45,000 for The Unity Council’s programs and services, including the life changing work of the Latino Men & Boys program.
With prizes and goodies throughout the day, including local restaurant Taqueria Reynoso serving delicious tacos all day on the course, breakfast from Pena’s Bakery and Guadalajara Restaurant, beer all day from Ale Industries, there was nothing to complain about.
Donors helped us raise over $10,000 in just a matter of minutes. If you have yet to fulfill your pledge, or would like to make an additional donation, please visit or call Dana Kleinhesselink at 510-535-6924. We appreciate every single dollar of support. 
The golfers and attendees who came to the event confirmed their commitment to improving the academic, social, and life outcomes for Latino males in Oakland. Our Latino Men and Boys (LMB) program makes an immense impact on Latino students. The LMB program works with young men (ages 12-20) and their families to improve outcomes in health, education, behavior, family interaction, and career planning.
We thank all of our partners who have faithfully supported our work over the years, as well as our new friends who have joined in our shared commitment to LMB. We can’t do it without you!
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to our Development & Communications Department at or call 510-535-6924.

Joint statement from Fruitvale, Oakland Community Leaders

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, SEPTEMBER 6TH 2017 – Yesterday’s announcement by the Trump Administration to end DACA is immoral; an egregious insult to the values of this nation and an assault on the trust of our community.

We stand in solidarity with the more than 800,000 DREAMers who are affected by such a cruel decision by an Administration that has continued to show cowardice in stoking the fervor of division, hate, and bigotry. We are committed now more than ever to working alongside our young people, community advocates, and elected officials to ensure DREAMers have the protections they deserve.

Our organizations have deep roots in the community for more than four decades, providing equity-based support to the people of the Fruitvale District of Oakland – one of the largest Latino neighborhoods in the Bay Area – including in the areas of workforce development, education, immigrant and citizenship support, access to mental and primary care health services, developmental services and legal services. Our commitment to providing these resources and services has never been stronger.

The young people covered by DACA are our neighbors, friends, coworkers, family members, and community leaders. We know these young people are determined leaders, who, with DACA, were finally given a shot to pursue higher education, access to better jobs, and improve their family’s economic stability. They contribute to the vibrancy of our community and represent the strength and hope for the future of Oakland, Alameda County, California, and the United States. We will not let them down!

We are coming together to support efforts nationally and locally to protect DREAMers and their families, and to push forward a path to citizenship. We remain as dedicated as ever to provide healthcare, legal, education, workforce development and social services to all members of our community, regardless of their immigration status.

Noel Gallo
Councilmember, District 5
City of Oakland, CA

Paul R. Chavez
Executive Director
Centro Legal de la Raza

Alicia Contreras
Executive Director
Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation

Jane Garcia
Chief Executive Officer
La Clinica de la Raza

Chris Iglesias
Chief Executive Officer
The Unity Council

Aaron Ortiz
Executive Director
La Familia Counseling Services