Oakland Announces Recipients of Activate Oakland Event Sponsorships

Grants will support more than 120 community events and activations throughout Oakland

Panther Skate Plaza roller skating event photo by David Meza

The City of Oakland and Visit Oakland are excited to announce that 38 event sponsorships have been awarded as part of the Activate Oakland Event Sponsorship Program. Activate Oakland is a new program by the City of Oakland Economic and Workforce Development Department intended to activate public spaces and support community events in Oakland’s downtown and neighborhood commercial areas. The 38 sponsorships will go to support more than 120 community events throughout the City. Sponsorship recipients will receive marketing assistance and up to $15,000 in financial assistance to help realize their activations. The events will occur in 18 of Oakland’s commercial districts, supporting hundreds of small businesses, artists, and arts and culture organizations.

Some of the proposals that received funding include:

  • Weekly Panther Prowl Roller Skate Night, at DeFremery Park every Thursday, 6-9pm

This weekly free outdoor roller-skating event provides a safe, inclusive and accessible space for roller skaters of all identities, ages and abilities, and features live local DJs playing Funk, Soul, R&B, Disco, Hip-Hop, House, Rock, and more. Local musicians also perform live, debuting new music and videos for the community. A free lending library of roller skates and protective gear is available during the event (soon to be expanded with Activate funds), along with free snacks, drinks, and hot food from local restaurants.

  • Our Youth Matter Outreach Series: Starting December 23rd – 11th Annual Toy Giveaway, at Rainbow Recreation Center - 5800 International Blvd.

The 11th Annual Toy Giveaway will kick off an expanded series of youth outreach events that will also include a March Easter Egg Hunt, May Youth Resource Fair and Children’s Business Fair in July, and August Back to School Bash. The Toy Giveaway Holiday event for kids and families will give away toys, books and goodie bags to 500 kids and families. In addition to toys, this first event in December will also feature activities for children including games, crafts, a hot cocoa bar, free food, a 360 photo booth, gift wrapping, and karaoke. Santa is also scheduled to make an appearance!

  • Foothill Fiestas every Second Saturday on Foothill Blvd b/t 35th and Fruitvale, starting May 2024, 11am-3pm

Four monthly block parties featuring dance, theater and music performances and demonstrations of food, merchandise and kids’ arts and crafts activities in connection with local businesses. The block parties will showcase the culture of the Foothill community including performance by Diapason, a Son Jarocho band playing music from the western Vera Cruz area of Mexico, youth performances of Khmer/Cambodian classical dance, and street theater performances by Teatro Jornalero, a day-laborer/actor troupe performing their life stories in English, Spanish and Mam.

  • Chinatown’s AAPI Heritage Night Market – May 5th, 2024

Oakland’s first-ever Chinatown night market will feature an enticing variety of food stalls representing different cuisines from around the world, showcasing Oakland Chinatown’s legacy businesses and diverse food offerings in a bustling late-night market setting.

  • Prescott Night Market, First Tuesday, 4-8pm, May-September 2024 at 1620 18th St.

This night market builds off the success of the Prescott Farmers’ Market to transform Tuesday evenings in West Oakland into a monthly community gathering, bringing together West Oakland’s vibrant tapestry of community, culture, and commerce, featuring local food makers, artisans, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

A complete list of grant recipients and a map of funded Activate Oakland event proposals can be found at www.ActivateOakland.com.

Activate Oakland grant recipients will also receive marketing and technical assistance from Visit Oakland to support these new and small events and assist the often first-time event organizers producing their proposed events.

“Activate Oakland events will showcase Oakland’s diversity – in its ideas, people, cultures, and small businesses – and bring new attention to Oakland’s commercial corridors like Little Saigon on International Boulevard and the Prescott neighborhood in West Oakland,” said Mayor Sheng Thao. “These activations will not only bring vitality to our commercial districts, but also build community and enhance public safety – leveraging our other public safety investments and contributing to Oakland’s economic recovery.”

“Visit Oakland is thrilled to see so many creative and interesting activations taking place in The Town,” commented Peter Gamez, President & CEO of Visit Oakland. “We are proud to support the hosting organizations and look forward to promoting their events to welcome locals and visitors to Oakland. This vibrancy will have a very positive impact on our small businesses, artistic and commercial corridors and our entire Oakland community.”

“As someone who's lived in Oakland my entire life, it feels empowering to receive these funds and this co-sign from my city, City of Oakland, that the work I'm doing is valuable, said Shauncy Jackson, recipient of Activate Oakland event sponsorship for Oakland Don't Play Inc. Game Night Series in the International - Deep East Oakland commercial corridor. “It's refreshing to see the City invest in our underserved community. With these funds, we will be able to open our monthly game nights to the whole community free of charge, expanding opportunities for neighborhood fellowship centered around games of charades, twister, dominoes and karaoke, and creating a safe community space that also showcases Oakland's authentic culture.”

The Activate Oakland Event Sponsorship Program offered $320,000 in funding provided by the City of Oakland. The program was extremely competitive, receiving 732 applications for small events and activations in Oakland's commercial districts requesting more than $8.5 million in sponsorship funding. Applications were reviewed by a diverse team of 25 stakeholders including arts and cultural practitioners, small business owners, nonprofit leaders, local event organizers, City staff, and marketing, organizational planning, and development professionals. The applications were reviewed for consistency with the Activate Oakland equity-based scoring criteria and program goals. Visit Oakland and the City of Oakland then finalized the specific funding allocations.

Applications are now closed for the Activate Oakland Event Sponsorship Program. For more information about the Activate Oakland program please contact Visit Oakland at activate@visitoakland.com or visit www.ActivateOakland.com.

About Visit Oakland

Visit Oakland is a non-profit organization marketing Oakland, California as a travel destination. Visit Oakland offers a wide variety of complimentary services and materials for travelers interested in visiting Oakland. For more information, check out visitoakland.com. Want to share the Oakland love with the world? Follow @visitoakland on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. #visitoakland #oaklandloveit

About City of Oakland Economic & Workforce Development Department

The Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) works to bring about a vibrant, innovative, globally competitive economy in Oakland by increasing investment in Oakland, supporting the growth and success of Oakland entrepreneurs and small businesses, expanding job opportunities for all residents, and enhancing the City’s sense of place and quality of life. Made up of six divisions that include Business Development, Real Estate, Public/Private Development, Workforce Development, Cultural Affairs, and Special Activities, with a staff of 68 led by Interim Director Sofia Navarro, EWDD is responsible for Special Event permitting, annual cultural funding grants of $1.5 million to organizations and cultural events, the Neighborhood Small Business Assistance Program, managing City-owned real estate, the Workforce Development Board, and is actively working across a broad base of stakeholders to stimulate development and investment in the City of Oakland.

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Posted: November 21st, 2023 2:39 PM

Last Updated: December 4th, 2023 10:59 AM

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