Breakfast and Dialogue in Oakland

UpTogether celebrated our work in Oakland, California last week with a breakfast and dialogue among members, community partners, staff and the Board of Directors.

“Everyone came together and just talked like family,” said UpTogether member Antonisha.

Oakland has a significant place in UpTogether’s past and present. Our organization was founded in Oakland in 2001 as the Family Independence Initiative. We’ve been investing unrestricted cash in families and learning from their lived experiences ever since – in Oakland and around the country.

Our footprint in Oakland grew in 2021 when we launched Oakland Resilient Families. Six hundred families received $500 monthly payments for 18 months to two years. More than half of the participants reported using the “no strings attached” funds for basic necessities, such as food, transportation, childcare and housing. Others said they used the money to pay off debt, save for a home and spend time with family. Many described being motivated to exchange social support, particularly around challenging experiences that affect under-resourced communities of color, and feeling less stress and anxiety. Citywide, our Oakland Resilient Families showcased the value of trusting and investing in our communities. 

Our work in Oakland continues with the Town Story Collective, set to launch In early 2024. UpTogether will partner with organizations across Oakland to initiate our first narrative change campaign, which will be aimed at uplifting the inherent strengths of all people in poverty. Narrative change is a big component of UpTogether’s new strategic plan, which aims to change systems that are currently failing to adequately address poverty.

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The breakfast event gave our members a seat at the table with local leaders, philanthropists, and supporters who share the belief that investing in families with unrestricted cash is a real solution to shrinking the racial wealth gap and elevating the value of our communities.

Prior to the pandemic, UpTogether held regular in-person meetings with members. We hope to hold more events like this one in the coming months.

UpTogether member Tara found value in the opportunity, saying she liked "meeting and talking with other members and staff, networking and focusing on how we can come up with ideas that could change people's lives for the better living in the Bay Area."

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