Urban Strategies Council History

Since 1987 the Council has been leading the way with groundbreaking research and strong community partnerships.  Some of our highlights are noted in this timeline.

2015

Along with our partners, the Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform (AC3JR) successfully advocated for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ passage of a proposal to allocate 50% of public safety realignment funds to community-based re-entry programs.

With Oakland Reads 2020, released Grade-Level Reading Update, 2013-14.

With Oakland Achieves Partnership, Council releases third Oakland Achieves Public Education Progress Report.

2014

AC CAN receives Platforms for Prosperity Award from the Corporation for Entrepreneurial Development, representing national recognition of partnership with Alameda County Social Services Agency.

Release our first Impact Report, taking a deeper look at work and successes in recent years.

With Oakland Achieves Partnership, Council releases second Oakland Achieves Public Education Progress Report.

With Oakland Reads 2020, release Oakland Reads 2020 Baseline Report: An Examination of the Pathway to Third Grade Reading in Oakland from 2010 to 2013.

Board of Education adopts the School Governance Administrative Regulations (SGAR) and Resource Guide developed by Council with the School Governance Task Force.

We successfully partner with the City and CBOs to pass a law requiring the establishment of an Independent Redistricting Commission in Oakland.

2013

To educate people about the impact of predatory financial products and practices on families and communities, the importance of credit, and local low-cost credit-building products, AC CAN develops The Savvy Consumer Toolkit, an innovative financial education curriculum. The Toolkit receives 2013 Innovation Award from the California Asset Building Coalition, which named it the most promising anti-poverty strategy to scale up.

Aspen Institute selects the Oakland-Alameda County Alliance for Boys and Men of Color as site for national collective impact initiative focused on opportunity youth (16-24-year-olds disconnected from school and work). Local initiative aims to move 10% of opportunity young adults into education and career pathways leading to family-sustaining career employment in growth sectors of the East Bay economy.

With OUSD, Council convenes Site Governance Task Force and leads process for school community stakeholders to develop regulations and implementation plan for the district’s new site governance policy.

With the Oakland Achieves Partnership, Council releases Attending School Every Day: Making Progress, Taking Action report on attendance.

Successfully crowdsource new ordinance requiring the City of Oakland to publish open data.

With Oakland Achieves Partnership, Council releases Oakland Achieves: A Public Education Progress Report.

As co-leaders of Oakland Votes Coalition, Council educates residents across the city about their right to contribute to the redistricting process. Coalition compels City of Oakland to address all districts during the process and secures agreement enabling organization of districts around communities of interest. The Coalition more than triples the number of resident-submitted maps and increases engagement and capacity building in community meetings.

2012

Release three major reports for the Office of African American Male Achievement in OUSD, exploring disparities in suspensions, chronic absence, and factors that impact students’ trajectory toward high school graduation.

Council organizes Oakland regional hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California and helping to create a statewide policy agenda to improve conditions for boys and men of color in education, health, employment and criminal justice.

After 24 years in our first home, we move from Preservation Park to Uptown Oakland.

The Council sponsors and leads planning for the second Code for Oakland Hackathon.

Council forms the Alameda County Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform (AC3JR) to advocate for reducing reliance on incarceration and improving outcomes for those returning from incarceration. Through AC3JR’s efforts, Alameda County achieves the highest percentage of realignment funds devoted to community based services of any county in the state.

Release seminal report on investor acquisition of Oakland foreclosures: Who Owns Your Neighborhood? The Role of Investors in Post-Foreclosure Oakland. After the Council’s report, the city passes ordinance requiring speculators to register their non-owner occupied properties with the City to ensure their habitability and maintenance

Release report establishing that 100 blocks in the city did not contain 90 percent of homicides and shootings; we had to include over 1,303 blocks to reach the 90 percent figure. In the Council’s analysis, the 100 most violent blocks accounted for just 17 percent of homicides and shootings. The report notes the difference in findings between the analyzed data and the mayor’s plan, indicating the importance of using scarce public safety resources in an effective manner.

After consulting with the Council and reviewing our research findings, OUSD approves a Voluntary Resolution Plan, ending the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights investigation and outlining steps to reduce disproportionate discipline of African American students by the end of the 2016-17 school year.  From 2010 to 2014, suspensions decrease by 30% for Black students and 35% district wide.

Council becomes a co-convener and backbone partner for the citywide Oakland Reads 2020 initiative, aimed at increasing the number of third graders reading at grade level from 42% to 85% by 2020.

2011

We receive an award for most Innovative Crime Mapping from the Department of Justice.

Council convenes the Oakland-Alameda County Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, comprising community partners and leaders of public systems working to improve health, education, and employment outcomes for boys and men of color through policy advocacy, systems reform, and innovative programs.

Conduct visual inspections of more than 300 investor-acquired foreclosed properties and extensive research and data analysis of the local foreclosure market.

OUSD Board of Education adopts a five-year strategic plan to develop every site as a full service community school and to operate as a Full Service Community School District (one of the first in the country). The recommendations developed by the Council-led Full Service Community Schools Task Force form the foundation of the strategic plan.

Mayor Quan announces “100 Block Safety Plan” to concentrate police and public agency resources in 100 blocks of the city where “90 percent of the homicides and shootings occur” without releasing information on which blocks are targeted. After receiving dozens of requests from residents, community leaders and elected officials, the Council undertakes a detailed spatial analyses and mapping of homicides and shootings in the city over the previous two-year period.

2010

OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith asks the Council to partner with OUSD and the East Bay Community Foundation in developing the Office of African American Male Achievement, which aims to improve outcomes for young Black males in Oakland public schools. The Council develops and tracks key indicators of the well-being of African American male students.

We rebuild our groundbreaking community data system, InfoAlamedaCounty.org entirely in-house and launch a powerful mapping tool for free public access.

We partner with the U.S. Census Bureau, the Kapor Foundation, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s office, All of Us or None, Women on the Way and Rubicon Programs to help ensure that Census 2010 achieves a complete and accurate count of formerly incarcerated people and their families.

With OUSD, the Council convenes and leads a nine-month process by a multi-sector Task Force to develop recommendations on the infrastructure and tools necessary to transform OUSD into a Full Service Community School District populated by full service community schools.

2009

OUSD Superintendent and Board President request Council to facilitate district’s creation of plan to address racial, economic, and geographic disparities. At the conclusion of Council-led workshops, Board unanimously approves document to guide planning process to recreate the district as a full service community school district.

Healthy Oakland clinic opens, serving vulnerable people including the formerly incarcerated, implementing recommendation of Reentry Health Task Force.

Council facilitates community re-engagement sessions as Oakland Unified School District emerges from receivership.

The Council-incubated Oakland Community Land Trust is incorporated.

2008

Launch AlamedaReentryServices.org to serve returning prisoners and to help them find services to aid their reintegration into our communities.

Found and staff the Reentry Health Task Force, releasing report with on the health needs of people returning from incarceration. One recommendation is the establishment of a clinic to serve the formerly incarcerated.

Create a customizable database of maps allowing foreclosures to be mapped by region, date, bank ownership, and property status. Develop a toolkit on foreclosure response for a range of partners.

2007

The Council begins to track foreclosures and notices of default in Oakland. Alongside resident leaders of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (AACE), our longtime partner, we began to bring attention to this looming crisis.

Alameda County Community Asset Network (AC CAN) is born out of the Council’s work on the EarnIt!KeepIt!SaveIt! free tax preparation campaign, representing a commitment to engage low-income families in wealth building activities year-round.

Found and staff the Alameda County Reentry Network of community leaders and agencies reforming systems and coordinating services for those returning from incarceration.

Facilitate development of Alameda County Re-entry Network Strategic Plan 2008-2012, outlining goals, objectives, strategies, activities, and timelines to create a system to address the needs of the formerly incarcerated in Alameda County.

2006

Work with the Bayview Hunters Point community in San Francisco and helped them to win a comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement for the Hunters Point Ship Yard and Candlestick Park redevelopment projects.

Convene local organizations and help lead fight to secure a comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement for the Oak to Ninth development on Oakland’s waterfront, now called Brooklyn Basin, including commitments of 465 units of affordable family-size housing, 300,000 hours of new apprentice work for Oakland residents, and $1.6 million in funds to community-based organizations providing pre-apprenticeship training to Oakland residents.

2005

Council begins working with County Supervisor Nate Miley’s effort to implement the countywide blueprint for violence prevention. We serve on the Initiative’s Leadership Group, working with other stakeholders to implement the blueprint and develop infrastructure for addressing all forms of violence in the county. The Blueprint is adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

Policies of mass incarceration lead to wave of people returning to communities after incarceration. To inform local response, Council releases Report on People Under Criminal Justice Supervision.

Council becomes local learning partner to support Lower San Antonio neighborhood in Making Connections initiative funded by Annie E. Casey Foundation. Council provides data, technical assistance, and facilitation to improve outcomes related to family economic success.

 2004

Council forms asset development committee to focus on creating asset-building opportunities for low-income people.

 2003

With Oakland Community After-School Alliance, Council helps Oakland secure largest per-capita rate of federal and state funds for after-school programs.

2002

Council co-founds Oakland Community After-School Alliance, a collaborative of community-based organizations advocating for universal access to high-quality, sustainable after-school programs.

2000

With Oakland Community Organizations, the Council supports campaign for small schools and greater decision-making authority at school sites in flatland Oakland neighborhoods.

1999

With PolicyLink and Peralta Community College District, design and implement Community Capacity Building Institute to connect community college credentialing to employment in social and community change jobs.

With Council support, Village centers open at Lowell and Havenscourt Middle Schools, Roosevelt Junior High, and Lockwood Elementary.

The Council-incubated National Community Building Network becomes independent organization.

1998

Convene the Village Center Steering Committee to guide the village center implementation and began building local capacity around this work.

Organize the community planning process for 21st Century Community Learning Center and state afterschool programs, raising over $4 million for new community-school collaboratives.

 1997

Work with Mayor’s office to restructure the informal Education Cabinet into the Oakland Education Cabinet.

1996

Release Call to Action: A Blueprint for Youth Development in Oakland, advocating for development of Village Centers with youth development opportunities and comprehensive support for families in every neighborhood.  City Council adopts a youth development policy and endorses the Village Center concept.

1995

Release Chance 2: Prospects for Oakland’s Infants, Children and Youth in the 1990s and Beyond, a follow-up report to 1988’s A Chance for Every Child, explicitly applying a racial equity lens to child well-being and linking child and youth outcomes to equitable economic development an community building.

1994

Alameda County Policy Academy Team wins state approval to experiment with blending public funds to integrate and improve services to vulnerable families.  From Alameda County Leadership/Technical Team, County forms Interagency Children’s Policy Council (ICPC), which includes Council leadership.

Oakland is designated Enhanced Enterprise Zone.  ICPC, with Council support, develops community building projects using blended funds in two low-income neighborhoods.

The Council’s Middle Grades Reform Advocacy Project, comprised of middle school students and adult allies, survey 518 students and release a Youth Agenda for Schools.

 1993

Found and staff the Alameda County Leadership/Technical Team to mine the results of promising collaborative practices and build on the work of the Interagency Group for School-Linked Services in Oakland.

Release “Overview of Collaboratives in Oakland,” detailing the objectives, strategies/services, and target populations of 12 existing collaboratives.

 1992

Found and staff Oakland Interagency Group for School-Linked Services. Conduct data match comparing 8,300 names of low-income Oakland students with records from 19 public programs, to examine service utilization and overlap. With these data, six Oakland schools win state funding for the new school-linked service initiative.

Produce report Partnership for Change: Linking Schools, Services and the Community to Serve Oakland Youth.

Co-found the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership with the Urban Institute to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems in community-building and policymaking. Neighborhoodindicators.org

With Commission for Positive Change in the Oakland Public Schools, release report Keeping Children in School: Sounding the Alarm on Suspensions, drawing attention to high and racially disproportionate suspension rates and recommending strategies for change.

 1990

September 1990: With Commission for Positive Change in the Oakland Public Schools, release report Good Education in Oakland: Strategies for Positive Change.

1989

Oakland Unified School District’s subsidized early childhood programs are threatened with decertification by the state. The Council studies the programs’ challenges and strengths, convenes national group of experts, and generates plan for improving quality while bringing programs into compliance. Programs are not decertified; a few years later, OUSD’s child development programs win award for quality.

Our report, Connections: Linking Oakland Youth with Caring Adults is released and we raise funds to found The Mentoring Center which has since worked with more than 25,000 youth and volunteer mentors in the Bay Area.

1988

Our first report released; A Chance for Every Child; our community collaboration work begins, with a focus on schools and family services.

Release Changing the Odds: Expanding Early Childhood Development Programs for Oakland’s Low-Income Families with Oakland Early Childhood Development Initiative.

1987

Council founded by Angela Glover Blackwell.