Oakland Digital in the Media
  • $3M Capital Campaign: An Oakland Community Place

    Written by Designer & Journalist, Melody Stone

    A problem with many facets: As real estate prices continue to rise many local non-profits are struggling to find affordable operating spaces. Additionally, budding local design talent lacks the community to gain experience and build their portfolios close to home. Bay Area tech companies need a diverse pipeline of talent.  

    A recent study found 82 percent of middle-skill jobs require basic digital proficiency. Last year, we had 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide, yet produced less than 43,000 computer science graduates. The digital divide creates extreme economic disadvantages, as non-digital jobs pay substantially less.

    Our solution: one place to bring together all these parties to create a thriving and healthy nonprofit community and a diverse and competitive pipeline for local community-minded design talent (e.g., UX / UI / Graphic Artists).

    BRIDGEGOOD is a product out of Oakland Digital and supported by, Golden State Warriors Community Foundation, and Walter & Elise Haas Fund. The platform brings together creatives and non-profits. It’s founder, Shaun Tai’s vision to take the platform offline and into a brick and mortar space in the heart Oakland.

    Modeling the concept after Google’s Community Space in San Francisco (188 The Embarcadero), the location would serve as free operating space for 501(c)(3)’s and free coworking for budding Oakland & East Bay talent (in exchange for completing three design projects a month for non-profit members).

    Entry level designers and creatives would get experience working on real-world community projects. This would build out the talent pool available to tech companies in the Bay Area, with the aim of increasing diversity and inclusion within tech.

    This bold and ambitious project has the potential to solve problems within the tech industry and the Oakland & East Bay non-profit community.

    “It’s about economic mobility, building a pipeline of talent for tech, business and the creative world and it’s about tech equity. It’s about leveling the playing field for those who are entering the world of design,” says Tai.



    The city of Oakland is 55 percent African American, but only 13.5 percent of tech jobs are held by African Americans. Oakland Digital focuses on developing creative talent in community colleges to create a diverse talent pipeline. Creating a physical space where those connections can be made and talent can be foster will help bridge the diversity gap even more.

    “Oakland Community Place will compliment what exists in the Oakland ecosystem while filling gaps: free access to job training, leadership development, and professional opportunities,” explained Tai.

    The Numbers


    Vacancy rate for office spaces in Oakland.



    Increase for downtown office space rents from 2014 to 2016.



    Of Oakland residents are African American.



    Of tech jobs are held by African Americans.


    Together, let’s design the future of work. Oakland Digital is in the process of creating the ‘Oakland Community Place’ – a vibrant 10,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility for Nonprofit Employees & Student Creatives. We would like to hear from you – be a co-creator and share your ideas! To attend, register at Video with Mayor Libby Schaaf | Make a donation |

  • Year of the Women x Oakland Digital

    Photos & Videos from Oakland Digital’s Celebration Gala
    Year of the Women


    Kapor Center honors Oakland Digital

    Oakland Digital is a design studio for good providing digital literacy, opportunity, and inclusion to students seeking careers. WATCH VIDEO

    Caroline Barlerin, Twitter


    Passionate about what can be created at the intersection of social good and technology, Caroline leads Twitter’s community outreach and philanthropic efforts. WATCH VIDEO

    Regina Rodgers, BlackRock


    At BlackRock, we are committed to building access to better futures for underserved individuals and communities. WATCH VIDEO

    Catherine Aker, Oakland Athletics


    The A’s Community Fund, which takes a dynamic approach to education and economic opportunity, invested more than $500,000 throughout the East Bay. WATCH VIDEO

    Summer 2017 Design Graduates


    Oakland Digital is a design studio for good providing digital literacy, opportunity, and inclusion to students seeking careers. WATCH VIDEO

  • Inspiration Awards 2017 | Dec 3 | “Year of the Women” | Honoring Twitter, Oakland A’s & BlackRock

    INSPIRATION AWARDS 2017 Benefiting Oakland Digital

    Inspiration Awards is a heartfelt gala and fundraising celebration honoring three champions bringing about positive change through their passion, dedication, and innovation. It’s your chance to meet Bay Area thought leaders in the fields of technology, business, and philanthropy.

    By attending Inspiration Awards, you are supporting digital literacy education to hundreds of businesses and nonprofits, mentorship to thousands of multimedia students, and spreading inspiration throughout our community.

    For nine years Oakland Digital, a 501(c)(3) design studio for good, has directly impacted the lives of 4,800 East Bay entrepreneurs. Our core programs, Inspire Oakland and Digital Equity, have boosted the local economy by $4.2 million, leading to opportunities for 21st-century employment and economic independence.

    Over the past year, we’ve successfully integrated, our exciting web application that has bridged the design & marketing needs of 625 business owners with 3,000 talented creatives. Oakland Digital has created a unique space of education, information exchange, and community-building that is increasing our impact and expanding our reach.

    Join the ecosystem of incredible Bay Area leaders that support our thoughtful, life-changing work: sponsor a table, purchase an advertisement, or make an in-kind donation.

    Catherine Aker, Oakland Athletics

    Catherine Aker joined the Athletics organization in January 2016 and was promoted to her current role of vice president, communications and community engagement in March 2017. Aker oversees the A’s baseball and corporate communications efforts, including the strategic communications for the A’s new ballpark, in addition to the club’s community engagement and Oakland A’s Community Fund. The A’s Community Fund, which takes an innovative and dynamic approach to education, youth sports, and economic opportunity, invested more than $500,000 throughout Oakland and the East Bay in 2017.


    Regina Rodgers, BlackRock

    Philanthropy built on what matters. At BlackRock, we are committed to building access to better futures for underserved individuals and communities. We partner with best in class organizations that use forward-thinking approaches to solve pressing social and environmental challenges. Our areas of focus 1) Building innovation: partnering with dynamic social enterprises putting innovation to work to accelerate social impact across a range of outcomes; from financial inclusion to food security. 2) Building inroads: creating access to improved livelihoods for underserved populations, including immigrants, women, and veterans, either through building skills or breaking barriers. 3) Building infrastructure: creating pathways to innovative water and energy solutions at the household level. 4) Building insight: joining with thought leaders to contribute additional rigor and analysis, expanding the realm of what’s possible in the social impact space.


    Caroline Barlerin, Twitter

    Passionate about what can be created at the intersection of social good and technology, Caroline Barlerin leads Twitter’s community outreach and philanthropic efforts. She brings a unique perspective to her role, having led partnerships for a software startup, designed a bicycle-powered rice thresher for small-acre farmers in Burma, led Level Playing Field Institute, and created the blueprint for Taproot Foundation. Most recently she launched the Twitter NeighborNest, a neighborhood learning center supporting low-income families by providing access to technology, classes, and resources to learn, connect and grow with the guidance of Twitter volunteers. She’s @CBarlerin on Twitter.


    IA:2017 Host

    Chrystine Villarreal, MIXhalo

    Chrystine Villarreal is a long time advocate of social change, especially through youth empowerment. Prior to her role as the President of MIXhalo, a startup that is creating the new standard for live sound, Chrystine curated the content for TechCrunch’s Global Disrupt and Annual Crunchies Award Show. Chrystine was successful in utilizing this role to highlight underrepresented founders and leaders in the community on a global stage. Before TechCrunch, Chrystine developed a world class revenue department for BUILD, a national organization that uses entrepreneurship to engage youth from under resourced communities. She also worked at Khosla Ventures and spent many years working in local, statewide and national politics.


    Distinguished Speakers

    Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland

    As a lifelong volunteer, Mayor Schaaf has two decades of public service experience that began while she was a young attorney and co-founded the non-profit Oakland Cares, which organized and implemented hundreds of volunteer community improvement projects across the city. She later left her legal career at Oakland’s largest law firm to build and run the first centralized volunteer program for Oakland public schools at the Marcus Foster Institute.

    Mayor Schaaf is honored to serve the people of Oakland and to help promote her hometown as the greatest place to live, work, play and do business. She is committed to revitalization that preserves and celebrates Oakland’s diversity and leads to direct prosperity for long-time residents and newcomers.

    Her four areas of focus as mayor are: holistic community safety, responsive trustworthy government, sustainable vibrant infrastructure and equitable jobs and housing. She is dedicated to ensuring the safety, education and fair treatment of all Oakland residents.



    Shaun Tai, Oakland Digital

    Shaun Tai is the Executive Director of Oakland Digital, an award-winning design studio. He dedicates himself to enhancing tech literacy and opportunity among Entrepreneurs and multimedia Students.

    Shaun also leads the direction and product strategy for BRIDGEGOOD, a web application that connects Creatives to professional opportunities. The platform is supported by

    Shaun received an MA in Architectural & Urban Design and a BS in Advertising from San Jose State University. Prior to SJSU, he graduated with honors from Cal State East Bay with a BA in Digital Arts and was named “Distinguished Young Alumnus” of the academic year 2015.

    In September 2016, Diablo Magazine ranked Shaun #6 in their prestigious 40 Under 40 campaign. In March 2017, SF Business Times named Shaun 40 Under 40 alongside the Bay Area’s brightest CEO’s and Directors. In April, Cal State East Bay recognized Shaun as a 40 Under 40 “Civic Service & Activism” Recipient, Class of 2017.


    Live Music


    Gabriela is a rising singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles and the greater Bay Area. Her versatility spans multiple genres and platforms of performance both live and recorded, including national and international commercial and film. She looks to inspire self responsibility, re-connection and individual and collective healing through the conduit of collaborative, multi-media art and expression.

    Having moved to Oakland at the age of 18, she created a professional career as a Bay Area performer for private and creative events, while concurrently pursuing music production, management, her own artistic creations and healing curriculums for 7 formative years before just recently transitioning South. Gabriela independently released her debut original EP “And Who Am I Today”, a 4 track collection in September of 2015. She will be releasing her first full length album in the Summer of 2018 and publishing a book of passages centered in tools for personal empowerment in the following future.

    2017 Board of Directors – Oakland Digital

    Tim RosenblattPresident

    Chelsea SeabronVice President

    Linda PoengTreasurer

    Kevin LouieSecretary

    Martin Kojnok

    Erica Hong

    Gert Lombard

    Lisa Sy

    Michael Shih

    TiYanna Long

    Allison Bernstein

    Katy McKenzie


    Purchase tickets and learn more at 

  • Design that Pops: Oakland Businesses Get a Fresh Start

    Through a collaboration managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and AnewAmerica Community Corporation with partners: Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and The Unity Council, these organizations provide a spectrum of technical assistance services to businesses impacted by construction of AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project on International Boulevard.  In addition to technical assistance, a limited Business Assistance Fund (BAF) program is available to those most impacted. In conjunction with AC Transit, these programs were created by the City of Oakland to help business mitigate the new physical environment created by the BRT.

    Roció Navarro owns Artesanías y Botánica Del Sol. Although she has been in business for the last 18 years on the Boulevard, she decided to move her shop from 4030B to 5115 International, in hopes of increasing exposure.

    Yudy Herrera working with businesses along the BRT corridor.

    After a visit from Oakland Digital, a non profit that helps local business increase their marketing and digital presence, Designer Yudy Herrera assessed the business and determined they needed to modernize their brand. The first step: create a new custom logo able to be reproduced in both digital and  and print formats. The second step: build and optimize their social media presence including the creation of design elements, verify accounts and digital literacy. The final step: designing and ordering the business cards. Roció was so impressed by the look of Yudy’s creative solution that she ordered an 8’x 22’ banner to serve as a storefront sign.

    After over 15 hours of a collaborative design process, Roció reported that her sales increase $400 more on the day the signage was installed. Yudy says,

    Oakland Digital is thrilled to continue serving the businesses along International most impacted by the BRT project. We are now on our 8th year of providing digital literacy, equity, and tech inclusion. Our success stories like Roció’s keep us inspired and validates our mission that design is positively impacting our communities.

    Marsha Murrington, Senior Program Officer of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) explains the value of technical assistance to small businesses: “In the big picture, we are looking at introducing optimization tools that teach small businesses to become proactive in exploring ways to expand their customer base, to increase sales; and by introducing systems to enhance their operations also helps them become more efficient enterprises. We are hopeful that businesses like Artesanias y Botanica Del Sol will inspire change in others as it becomes more viable.”

    Learn more about Oakland Digital at Hire a local Designer for your next marketing project at

  • pledges $50M to prep people for ‘the changing nature of work’ pledges $50M to prep people for ‘the changing nature of work’

    Oakland Digital weekly work sessions from’s 188 The Embarcadero Community Space – combining Design, Engineering, and Thought Leadership. Photo courtesy 

    Google’s philanthropic arm is funding efforts to help workers adjust to the economic changes Google itself is helping to create.

    Google’s philanthropic arm,, announced Wednesday that it’s committing $50 million over two years “to help people prepare for the changing nature of work.”

    “The way we work is changing, and we want to make sure that as many people as possible can make the most of the new jobs, industries and opportunities that are emerging–some of which we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago,” wrote president Jacquelline Fuller in a blog post.

    The economic and social shifts that are sure to disrupt the workforce in the coming decades will likely be driven in part by Google itself, which has taken an “AI-first” approach to business. In the meantime, Google offers some products that help connect workers with jobs.

    Its new philanthropic efforts focus on three areas where nonprofits could potentially help: Skills training, connecting job-seekers with positions that match their skills, and supporting low-wage workers. is initially funding groups in the US and Europe and plans to expand to other regions soon.

    In the area of skills training, announced it’s supporting Social Finance. The grant will fund the group’s research into which youth training programs most effectively use contributions from trainees, governments, and future employers.

    To help job seekers better connect with jobs, Google is backing Code for America, which helps people use government services for help in finding jobs, and Bayes Impact in France, which uses machine learning to deliver custom recommendations and tips to job seekers.

    To help low-wage workers, Google is supporting a program called Alia, run by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Alia lets domestic workers, for a small monthly fee, pool their money to serve as a sort of insurance.

    The $50 million initiative comes on top of past commitments has made to building economic opportunity, such as its support for Oakland Digital, which equips low-income students with skills in graphic design and web development.

    International students working with Oakland Digital’s UX design team. Photo courtesy 

    Original article: by Stephanie Condon for Between the Lines | July 26, 2017

  • Oakland Digital honored at 2017 Impact Award | Kapor Center for Social Impact

    The Kapor Center for Social Impact presented their inaugural Impact Awards on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in their uptown Oakland theater.

    The awards celebrated outstanding efforts to boost greater inclusion in tech entrepreneurship and in the tech ecosystem.

    Categories include:

    • Building an Inclusive Tech Ecosystem in Oakland
    • Promoting Access to Quality STEM Education
    • Fostering Diversity & Inclusion in the Tech Workforce
    • Gap-Closing Entrepreneurship

    Oakland Digital was honored at the 2017 Impact Awards, noted for “Building an Inclusive Tech Ecosystem in Oakland.” On behalf of our Board of Directors, Staff, and Beneficiaries, we would like to thank the Kapor Center for Social Impact for this award. 

    The Kapor Center launched its inaugural Impact Awards on June 21st, recognizing outstanding efforts to boost inclusion in tech entrepreneurship and in the tech ecosystem. Leslie Miley, Therese Lawless, Regan Patterson, Genius Plaza, and Oakland Digital each received commendations for their respective forward-looking work. TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey served as the special guest moderator at the awards ceremony.

  • Google’s Community Space in the Bay Area

    Editor’s note: Today we’re opening the doors of Google’s Community Space, located in our 188 The Embarcadero office in San Francisco, which offers Bay Area nonprofits free access to event space and co-working areas. Since January, we’ve run a pilot program with more than 50 organizations who have hosted 100+ events to ensure that the space and resources are flexible and beneficial to the needs of local organizations. As part of today’s opening, we’re also sharing that in 2016 alone, supported Bay Area nonprofits with $50M in direct grant funding, and Googlers have volunteered over 89,000 hours of their time to local organizations.

    This post comes from Shaun Tai, the Executive Director at Oakland Digital and Product Lead at He talks about his experience hosting weekly programs in the Community Space and the many ways he and his team are supported by and Googler volunteers.

    Every Wednesday this year, Oakland Digital has brought a group of community college students to Google’s 188 The Embarcadero office so they can collaborate, learn, and work on community-benefit projects. These students are part of BRIDGEGOOD—an online hiring platform that connects under-resourced creatives (e.g., graphic designers and artists) with real-world design and marketing projects generated by businesses and nonprofits throughout the community.

    Oakland Digital has proudly participated in a pilot program that has been running for 50 local organizations to provide feedback for their new Community Space. Nonprofit organizations know that finding affordable space in the Bay Area is a constant and growing issue. Working in close collaboration with local organizations, Google’s 8,400+ square feet of event and meeting space is an absolute game changer. It’s flexible enough for nonprofits to host collaborative brainstorming sessions to larger capacity, full-day seminars. Since the pilot started, there have been more than 100 events in the space, and in true Google fashion, their teams have “launched and iterated” by taking feedback and implementing changes into the space so it could better suit our needs. Other perks: the space comes fully-stocked with a microkitchen, a conference room, an area to hold workshops, a maker’s space, Chromebooks, VR equipment and more.

    Google’s support of Oakland Digital started in 2012 when Googlers Mary and Steve Grove educated small businesses at Oakland City Hall about the power of technology. Each year, our relationship and community impact has grown—from board membership, thought leadership, and in 2015, funding. Google shares Oakland Digital’s belief that creativity can change the world— and recognized that an overlooked pipeline of creative talent comes from community colleges.

    As such, provided significant support—a multi-year, six-figure grant for us to build, design, create, and deploy our BRIDGEGOOD web application. Oakland Digital is most proud that local students are a part of design and engineering process—having access to Google’s community space has inspired and boosted the confidence of our beneficiaries. The equipment, the technology, and the space itself has allowed us to work more productively together.

    The energy that exists at, combined with access to this new Community Space and its nonprofit-driven programs, is fueling positive change and will make a difference. It’s that same combination of energy and access that will help other local Bay Area social entrepreneurs further their scale and impact.

    So to my fellow Bay Area nonprofits and social good innovators, I invite you to come check out Google’s Community Space and apply for membership to start the process to host your events and programs in the space today at Membership for the space is free—just click on “Become a Member” at the top right. The website also includes details on what is included in the space and programs that will coordinate throughout the year.

    Stay inspired, continue to spread inspiration, and remember that with creativity and leadership, anything is possible.

    Originally posted at

  • 2017 TechCrunch Crunchies “Social Impact” Finalist, Oakland Digital

    “Diversity is much more than numbers… we need tech to respect us as people. There’s more talent from pipelines that tech doesn’t know yet,” says Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (ODALC)‘s Executive Director Shaun Tai at TechCrunch‘s 10th Annual Crunchies.

    OUR ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF STARTUPS AND TECHNOLOGY: TechCrunch kicks off 2017 with the 10th Annual Crunchies Awards Show, the award ceremony to recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet, and technology innovations of the year.

  • Increasing & Expanding Impact: Oakland Digital 2017

    Programs & Initiatives for Businesses (entrepreneurs) and Creatives (student designers):

    • 1-on-1 Support – personalized digital literacy and tech training for small businesses; by appointment – $50 /hour (scholarships available), contact
    • – Businesses, post 7-day projects for local design students (get started at
    • GOOGxBG – Designers & Creatives, see what it’s like to work as a UX/UI/Visual designer at Google – join us each Wednesday through March (must register at www.bridgegood.comDiscover, Free Events)
    • Inspire Oakland 2017 – Annual region-wide billboard competition; Instructors & educators, to participate or have Oakland Digital visit your school, contact or call 510-435-2945, ext. 0
    • BRT Project – design and marketing for 200 small business owners spanning 9.5 miles of International Blvd and East 14th St (Q2 – Q4)
    • #StudioForGood – open labs for entrepreneurs and students to work on professional and personal projects; every 2nd & 4th Fridays (must register at

    Stay connected with Oakland Digital’s daily grind, +