Resilience, Unity and Equity

A Message From Our CEO

Dear Social Equity Partners,

There’s no doubt that the essential workforce is the engine that powers the Bay Area economy. I am proud that The Unity Council played a critical role in ensuring low income workers and residents had access to free COVID-19 testing and vaccines, healthy food, affordable housing, quality education for their children, and safe jobs.

The pandemic shed light on the stark inequalities we already knew existed. Essential workers have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic and have also fallen further behind. With the support of our funders and partners, we closed racial equity gaps. However, our work is far from over. Our dedicated essential workers continue to take care of us, and now more than ever, we must show up for them boldly.

While we seem to be returning to some normalcy, the impact of the pandemic lingers for the immigrants, families, children, youth, and seniors who depend on our services. Getting back to “normal” would be a missed opportunity for Oakland and Concord. We intend to get better. In the spirit of resilience, unity, and equity, we invite you to join us.

In partnership,

Chris Iglesias

Chief Executive Officer

Making an Impact in the East Bay

Mission, Vision & Values

Our Mission

The Unity Council’s mission is to promote social equity and improve quality of life by building vibrant communities where everyone can work, learn, and thrive.

Our Vision

We envision a joyful, united, and engaged community where people have the power to shape their lives.

Our Impact Goals for FY 21-22

  • Support families through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Create spaces that cultivate safety, preserve culture, and provide stability
  • Advocate and provide resources for our essential workers

Our Programs

COVID-19: The New Reality and Catalyst for Change

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Unity Council quickly adapted our services and programs to meet the urgent needs of our community. Throughout the year, our programs met the needs of 4,480 individuals. Our most requested services were employment and career services, emergency housing financial assistance, and financial capability services.

With the awareness that the pandemic continues to disproportionately burden local immigrants, families, children, seniors, and businesses, and with critical support from our generous donors and partners, our efforts and impact are ongoing.

Opportunities for Impact: Adapting TUC Programs & Services

Administration and Staff

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TUC had to shut down our in-person services through our career & resource center. While we still serviced clients through phone and remote services, we saw a smaller number of overall clients served. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, TUC continues to maintain and pay its 300-person workforce.

Career & Resource Center

An unprecedented 4,352 community members requested services by submitting intake forms. Staff from the Oakland Workforce Development Board trained our Career Services staff so that we could meet the surge in requests for public benefits enrollment assistance.

Head Start and Families

While continuing to navigate the challenges of new pandemic surges, TUC served 739 children in our Early Head Start and Head Start programs. Additionally, we offered grab-and-go meals for our enrolled families and provided much needed diapers and wipes. TUC partnered with other community organizations to provide housing and rental financial assistance.

Latino Men & Boys (LMB) and Latinx Mentorship and Achievement (LMA)

As a result of the decline in OUSD student enrollment throughout the pandemic, we experienced a drop in clients within our LMB/LMA programs. Youth Achievement staff continued to serve their students remotely, and offered laptop distribution assistance and technology support. They conducted bi-weekly wellness check-in phone calls with students and their families, and connected them to Community Programs’ financial assistance and other external resources.

Senior Center & Services

The COVID-19 pandemic posed the highest risk to seniors, who were also unable to access our in-person services. Because our senior center was closed at this time, only a fraction of our previous clients continued to receive services. TUC partnered with the Alameda County Community Foodbank and World Central Kitchen to provide emergency food distribution for youth, families, and 800 seniors.

Community-Building Through Social & Cultural Connection

Part of fulfilling our mission at The Unity Council means creating spaces where our community can thrive, heal, and celebrate. For 26 years, our annual Oakland Dia de los Muertos Festival has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the Fruitvale neighborhood to enjoy music, art, and activities while paying respect to los Muertos.

Fruitvale, a predominantly Latinx area, is one of three neighborhoods in Alameda County that were hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, more than ever before, it was critical to create a space for grieving Latinx communities to heal together.

Arts & Culture Activities

  • 40+ participants in Healing Virtual Panel
  • 25 ofrendas created by local artists and community members
  • 1 poster commissioned to local artist, Daniel Camacho

Health & Wellness Activities

  • COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots distributed to East Oakland residents with Kaiser
  • Free COVID-19 testing provided with City of Oakland
  • 100+ drumming healing circle participants with La Clínica de la Raza

Economic Development Activities

  • 30k+ estimated festival visitors
  • Muertos Mercadito: 15 virtual vendors, open for 30 days
  • Fruitvale Restaurant Week: 16 restaurant and 5 bakery participants

Supporting Small Businesses Through the Pandemic

Our Small Business Assistance team serves over 350 local businesses per year with a range of technical assistance services including business planning, accounting and financial management, access to capital, and marketing & communications.

During the pandemic, local businesses faced an inordinate number of challenges, from operational to financial hardships. In response, TUC hosted open-air clinics to help business owners apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other grant opportunities. In October 2021, Onward Oakland: Adelante Oakland was launched to help small businesses develop an innovative business model, establish a digital presence, and cultivate capabilities for future sustainability and growth.

Building Equity Through Affordable Housing

In response to the urgent housing needs of local seniors, TUC partnered with BRIDGE Housing to develop Casa Sueños (“House of Dreams”). This mixed-use housing development will provide 181 units of affordable housing in the Fruitvale Transit Village. TUC and BRIDGE celebrated the development’s groundbreaking in October 2021 and expect completion in Fall 2023.

Casa Sueños Groundbreaking
181 affordable housing units

Nuestra Comunidad:

A Year in Review

Financials & Leadership

Making an Impact in the East Bay – FY 21 Financials

Revenue Breakdown

Expense Breakdown


Board of Directors

Jose E. Corona, Board Chair
Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation
Vice President of Programs & Partnerships

Casey Williams, Secretary
LCW Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Associate

Mirella Almarez
Senior Research Associate, WestEd

Claudia Burgos
AC Transit, Director of External Affairs

Emilio Cruz
Carollo Engineers, Senior Vice President

Miguel Duarte
Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Oakland Athletics

Lili Gangas
Kapor Center, Chief Technology Community Officer

Silvia Guzman
Head Start Policy Council/Committee

Ralph Holmes
Piper Sandler, Managing Director

Mariah LaFleur
Kaiser Permanente, Thriving Schools Manager

Adhi Nagraj
McCormack Baron Salazar, Senior Vice President

Daniel Zamani
Salesforce, Sr. Manager, Product Management

Senior Executive Team

Chris Iglesias
Chief Executive Officer

Luis Arenas
Vice President of Children & Family Services

Joyce Boyd
Chief Financial Officer

Heather Brown
Director of Property Management

Teresa Estrada
Vice President of Human Resources

Armando Hernandez
Interim Chief Operating Officer
Vice President of Community Programs

Tiffany Rose Naputi Lacsado
Director of Economic Development

Erica Lara
Director of Peralta Service Corporation (Social Enterprise)

Aubra Levine
Vice President of Real Estate Development

Karely Ordaz
Chief of Staff

Erin Patch
President and Chief Operating Officer

Arturo Rodriguez
Director of Operations

Rafael Velazquez
Interim Director of Community Programs, Associate Director of Health and Social Services