The Economic Mobility work of Oakland Thrives centers around identifying and scaling policies and practices that foster economic security and mobility for Oakland’s children, families, and communities. We believe that eliminating disparities in wealth caused by systemic racism and oppression is the key to creating a thriving city for all Oaklanders. This starts with aligning our public, private, and philanthropic systems to best support the solutions to poverty already being created by the communities most impacted by it. 

Hard Work is Not Enough – The Impact of Race and Place

Strategies aimed at increasing economic mobility in Oakland must take into account the dynamics of race and place that perpetuate it. Research shows that where a child grows up greatly influences their opportunities for upward mobility. Policies like redlining and chronic disinvestment practiced for generations continue to traumatize entire neighborhoods in Oakland and perpetuate cycles of poverty. Disparities by race, gender, and immigration status deepen with each economic downturn. Racist policies and rhetoric that have intended to turn Americans against people living in poverty have entrenched painful myths and stereotypes, particularly against Black Americans.

Strategies for Success 

Catalyzing large-scale economic mobility requires coordinated action from the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to promote systems-level change. Those actions fall broadly into five buckets of interlocking strategies first identified by the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty:

    • Provide support that empowers families to meet their basic needs while deferring to the wisdom of their own lived experience.
    • Ensure zip code is not destiny through holistic approaches like neighborhood stabilization and revitalization, justice system reform, and access to financial services.
    • Transform data used to get valuable underutilized data out of organizational silos and into practice and research.
    • Create access to good jobs through career pathways and new job creation.
    • Change the narrative about families living in poverty away from deficit-based stereotypes to one of strength and resilience.

Current Projects

Oakland Thrives serves as the backbone organization holding the work of our partners on several projects with the potential to boost equitable economic mobility through systems change.

  • Oakland Resilient Families Guaranteed Income Pilot
  • Alameda County Mobility Action Plan
  • Narrative Change Research and Implementation
  • Oakland Resilient Neighborhoods Collective Impact Plan

Advisory & Community Engagement

  • All-In Alameda County
  • Alameda County Community Action Partnership
  • Bay Area LISC
  • Black Cultural Zone
  • Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)
  • Code for America
  • COVID-19 Community Outreach Working Group
  • Department of Economic and Workforce Development, City of Oakland
  • Department of Human Services, City of Oakland
  • Department of Race and Equity, City of Oakland
  • East Bay Community Foundation
  • East Bay Economic Development Alliance
  • East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC)
  • El Timpano
  • Greenlining Institute
  • Mayors for a Guaranteed Income
  • Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
  • Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce
  • Oakland Metro Chamber of Commerce
  • Oakland Promise
  • Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce
  • Office of Councilmember Loren Taylor
  • Office of Councilmember Treva Reid
  • Office of Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao
  • Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • Results for America
  • SPUR Oakland
  • Unity Council
  • UpTogether (formerly known as Family Independence Initiative)
  • Urban Institute
  • Youth Ventures JPA Trustees

To get involved

For more information, email the Director of Housing and Economic Mobility Aly Bonde at


  • “Roots, Race, and Place,” Othering and Belonging Institute, October 2019
  • “Restoring the American Dream,” The US Partnership for Mobility from Poverty, January 2018