Akonadi Foundation awards $100,000 to strengthen Oakland cultural organizations

Grants aim to build capacity of five organizations advancing racial justice through the arts

Oakland, CA — Akonadi Foundation announced today the launch of BOOST: the Beloved Community Fund’s Organizational Strengthening Pilot to support under-resourced arts and cultural organizations serving communities of color in Oakland. In this pilot, funded through a grant to Akonadi from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, five Oakland-based organizations received a total of $100,000. The full program will run for two years.

“Culture can be a powerful tool to build movements and leverage voice, power, and self-determination in our communities,” said Lateefah Simon, president of Akonadi Foundation. “Through this innovative model, we will be able to offer deeper support, leading to stronger organizations that will, in turn, strengthen, unify, and cultivate solidarity across our city.”

The Beloved Community Fund, one of Akonadi Foundation’s grantmaking program areas, advances racial justice in Oakland by supporting free public art and cultural events that celebrate and are rooted in Oakland’s communities of color. Since 2013, Akonadi has awarded $1.8 million through the Beloved Community Fund to over 260 Oakland organizations, prioritizing community arts and cultural groups that have limited access to institutional funding.

The rising cost of living in Oakland threatens the survival of arts and cultural organizations led by and serving communities of color in Oakland. As a response to a critical need to strengthen the infrastructure, capacity, and leadership of these arts organizations, Akonadi partnered with the Hewlett Foundation to expand investments to provide capacity-building support.

“Thriving arts organizations are critical to the well-being of the communities they serve,” said Emiko Ono, program director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Performing Arts Program. “Strengthening these organizations through capacity-building support is an investment in communities across Oakland and part of the Hewlett Foundation’s longstanding commitment to public engagement in the arts in the Bay Area.”

Through the initiative, five grantees will receive technical assistance, capacity building support, and the opportunity to reflect on how to sustain and grow their work.

  • BAY-Peace is a youth-of-color-led organization that offers holistic leadership programs that integrate performing arts, healing, personal transformation, policy advocacy, and community organizing as tools to engage Oakland youth, equipping them with the knowledge and support necessary to tackle community issues and become change-makers.
  • Intertribal Friendship House, founded in 1955 as one of the first urban American Indian community centers in the nation, helps to keep urban Native people connected to their culture and traditions through powwow dance, drumming, beading classes, and through social gatherings, cultural events, and ceremonies.
  • Music is eXtraordinary/Oakland Public Conservatory is a music education and events production organization providing conservatory-quality music education for people in urban areas.
  • Somos Familia is a volunteer-run organization established in 2007 with the mission to create support and acceptance for Latina/o/x lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or questioning youth and their families.
  • Studio Grand is a non-profit multi-use space that supports local families, youth, and emerging and established artists by hosting a mix of music, performance, educational, visual art classes and events. Studio Grand’s programming centers leadership and programming on historically marginalized communities including people of color, immigrant, and LGBTQAA communities.

About the Akonadi Foundation

Akonadi Foundation’s mission is to eliminate structural racism that leads to inequity in the United States. Through an ecosystem grant making lens, Akonadi supports and nurtures racial justice movement building in Oakland by supporting grassroots organizing, culture shift, and policy change. Since its founding in 2000, the Foundation has given over 1,600 grants totaling $35 million to nonprofit organizations, primarily in the Bay Area as well as across the country. For more information: Akonadi.org. On social media @akonadi_oakland