Announcing East Bay State of Mind 2019

By Jonathan Bash January 18, 2019

It's that time of year, again! East Bay State of Mind is Rubicon’s special event that raises funds and awareness for our life-changing services.

 

Thursday, April 4, 2019 | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Starline Social Club |  map

36 Martin Luther King Jr Way | Oakland, CA

 

BUY TICKETS OR A SPONSORSHIP BY CREDIT CARD HERE

 

Community connections are a core part of how Rubicon works to achieve its mission because we know that no one person or organization can break this cycle alone. It takes many collaborators -- our participants, staff, and you. East Bay State of Mind is an opportunity to treat yourself, and your guests, to a fun and inspiring evening in support of Rubicon’s vision of an East Bay without poverty.

About Our Values Awardees & Keynote Speaker

This year we're hosting our second annual values awards: celebrating the community leaders who made real change happen, all while demonstrating our core values of hope, humility and justice for all.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship of East Bay State of Mind connects your business or organization with people who are passionate about creating an equitable East Bay for all. We offer sponsorship packages for both business and individuals. 

View our sponsorship packages:

Corporate Sponsorship >>

Individual Sponsorship >>

 

OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS 

(as of 2/14/2019)

Corporate Sponsors

Renewal Level:

East Bay Community Foundation
First Republic Bank
Kaiser Permanente
Rubicon Bakers
Virginia's Live a Little
Seyfarth Shaw

Individual Sponsors

Paul Leonard
Claire Levay-Young
Sophia Loh
Karen Norwood
Mary Purcell
John Shrewsberry
Sarah Sternau
Tatiana Ware

 

Corporate Event Partners

Heffernan Insurance Brokers

 

Special Thanks & In-Kind Donors

Mulberry's Market

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The Reentry Success Center: Breaking Barriers to Break Poverty

By Jonathan Bash December 18, 2018

One in three Americans have interacted with the criminal justice system at some point in their lives. This one touchpoint can be life-changing, introducing dozens of new barriers that can follow an individual throughout their life, making it a challenge to get a job, rent a home or raise a child.

These barriers not only hold them back, but their children and the community, perpetuating intergenerational poverty. That’s where the Reentry Success Center (RSC) – a collaboration between Rubicon Programs and community partners – comes in.
 
The RSC is there for those reentering society after incarceration, as well as their families during – and after – their loved one is in prison or jail. While at the Center, staff, volunteers, community members and fellow returning residents work together to help people transition into a good job, put a deposit on an apartment, and reconnect with their friends and family.

“I was released from jail three weeks ago after a ten month sentence at West County,” says Michelle, a new member of the Reentry Success Center. “The Center was talked about a lot while there. I heard so many success stories, so I came here two days after my release.”

Michelle says she knew she needed a support network to get back on her feet. The Center sounded like the perfect fit.

“In jail, we don’t have to talk to each other. You are isolated. You push people away. But you have to work together to move forward in the community,” she says. “We come out uninformed about our rights. We don’t have the direction or structure to do what we need to yet.”

At the Center, she found the structure she was looking for; she soon signed-up for classes that have helped her move forward, including a Life Skills course, a Cognitive Skills class, and Trauma and Grief Therapy sessions. These opportunities have helped her acclimate to the workforce and manage some of the challenges in her personal life.

“My 9-year-old son tells me that I need to communicate better, so for now, I’m focusing on that. I’m also working to collect some of the skills that I need to thrive in my career.”

Another priority is learning how to navigate the job search process with a criminal record. “It’s hard to find a great job or get a career started,” she says. “There are many obstacles. Some employers look at me like a criminal. They put me in a box.”

Luckily, changes to California’s employment laws have made it a bit easier for her to have a fair chance. A.B. 1008, “Ban the Box” legislation signed in 2017 by Governor Jerry Brown, became law after a coalition of formerly incarcerated advocates came together to push for change.

Now, employers are no longer allowed to ask about an applicant’s criminal background until a conditional offer of employment is made, allowing people to show who they really are without preconceived notions and prejudices clouding an employer’s judgement.

“This allows people to sell themselves,” says Lawrence, the Reentry Center’s Volunteer Mentor Coordinator. The law has already helped some employers see the light.  “Now, there are many so-called ‘felon-friendly’ employers out there.”

Getting a job can still be a challenge, but those challenges are often overcome with hard work and dedication. “People have no job history and no references, so we try to take the skills they’ve learned on the street and apply them to today’s job market.”

Lawrence recruits and manages volunteers and mentors who help Center members build new careers – and lives. He’s seen many of his friends, family and colleagues go in and out of the system, and knows from experience what they have to do to succeed.

“It’s been documented that what happens in the first 72 hours after release has the greatest impact on whether an individual recidivates,” he says. “That timeframe is critical: You either go to a shelter, go home to your family, or you fall back in with the ‘homies’ who got you into jail in the first place.”

That’s why housing and community support go hand-in-hand during the reentry process.

“We’re fortunate to have a relationship with the probation department. They often bring newly-released individuals to the Center so they can get the resources they need and avoid their old ways.”

Richmond residents also benefit from a fair-chance policy that makes it more difficult for landlords to discriminate against potential tenants with a criminal record.  This increases access to housing, which in turn makes it easier to get and keep a job.

“When you first come home, you often stay at a shelter and get a temp job. But soon enough, you find out your shelter has residency cap – 30 days. How can potential employers contact you if you’re bouncing back-and-forth without a phone or mailing address?”

Having a stable home makes a world of difference. No one knows this better than Tommy, a participant who has completed the Center’s 8-week Alpha Program, a comprehensive curriculum that serves people who are at the highest risk of recidivating. “I’ve been living in shelters so that I can save my wages for a deposit, and now I’m in the process of looking for a permanent place to stay, a studio in Richmond,” he says.

Tommy says that the Alpha Program changed his life, helping make jobs and housing accessible. “I learned to reenter home life and work life. Then, I got a full-time job – just one month after Alpha.”

“It gave me a second chance at a first-class life,” he says.

After nearly a decade in incarceration, Tommy knew there had to be a better way. “Being told what to do, when to eat…letting someone take control of your life…it’s no way to live. I robbed myself of so many opportunities to advance and be happy. But now, I feel different. I look different. I talk different. I’m out of the unemployment line, and that feels great.”

“Everyone has struggles, but when you surround yourself with positivity, you can overcome those struggles,” he says. “I’m so grateful for the Center’s positive environment, all of these positive people, and all of this new information that has brought so many good things into my life.”

Tommy ties most of his success to the people he has kept around him. “I always had emotional support from my family,” he says. “But the Center had my back. They told me I don’t have to go into this alone, and they stayed by my side.”

 “When you get out of jail, it can feel like you are a newborn baby. You’re naked. You have nothing. But you don’t have to see it that way. It’s only temporary. And you don’t have to fall back on your old ways, or with old, negative people.” You have to make a conscious choice.

“I’m an Eagle. And Eagles can fly. There’s a reason Eagles don’t hang out with Turkeys. Turkeys can’t fly. You have to keep people around you that give you strength.”

In other words, he draws energy – and strength – from the Center.

“I’m going to keep coming here until it closes down. And I hope that day never comes.”

Help Rubicon break poverty by donating or explore the full participant journey here.

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Rubicon’s commitment to racial justice

By Lisa Dyas October 18, 2018

In 2015, Rubicon conducted its first org-wide cultural assessment. We knew that achieving our vision of an East Bay without poverty would take not only outstanding services for our program participants, but also carefully building a Rubicon culture and infrastructure that would empower every single employee to bring all of their talents to the table. 

The survey results were promising - our staff felt highly engaged to their work and to each other. What an overwhelming percentage of respondents wanted to better understand, however, was Rubicon's commitment to dismantling racism and systemic inequity in our communities.

To define our stance, a diverse group of Rubiconians came together over a period of six months to examine the history and legacy of racism in our country and communities. They looked at the ways systemic injustice has, and continues to, impede our progress toward achieving our mission. The Antiracism Stance grew out of their learnings, hope for the future, and Rubicon's unequivocal commitment to doing the hard work of calling-out racism where we see it - starting first with our own practices and workplace culture. 


Rubicon’s Antiracism Stance

Rubicon unequivocally opposes racism. We are resolved to explicitly and publicly affirm our identity as an anti-racism organization. We will understand and eradicate racism’s impact within our organization. We will ensure that prejudices and stereotypes do not creep insidiously into the work we do and how we do it.


We recognize that when we are not actively dismantling systemic racism, we are passively upholding systemic racism. Rubicon refuses to uphold a racist system which opposes our values of Hope, Justice, and Humility, and devalues life. We know that dismantling racism, in our lives, our organization, our field and our community, is a prerequisite to achieving our mission and upholding our values. We will lead or join the work to breathe life into a new system of equity.


We exist in a culture of white supremacy. A culture that requires people of color to explain themselves, to prove systemic racism’s existence, to demonstrate the gravity of its effects, and to justify the necessity of dismantling it. A culture that wields these tools solely to retain power and to divide and destroy. However, we are too strong and determined to allow people to be belittled, questioned, and silenced. We will not wield these tools any longer. We are crafting our own tools. We commit to uprooting the damage done by the culture of white supremacy and systemic racism while cultivating a more just society.

  • To cross the Rubicon is to commit to an irrevocable act. To that end, we commit to:
  • Examine and recalibrate inequitable power relationships and resource allocations throughout the organization
  • Foster full participation by people of color in decisions that shape Rubicon
  • Value the contributions and interests of employees of color in shaping our culture, and determining our policies and practices
  • Acknowledge in our work with participants that poverty is a result of oppressive systems
  • Engage each other through a daily ritual of mutual respect
  • Truly value racial diversity as an asset instead of simply tolerating or managing it
  • Confront and dismantle racism within the organization and the broader community
  • Earn community legitimacy as an antiracist organization
  •  Partner with others in combating all forms of racism

The work for justice and equity is informed by the backs of those who withstood lashes and beatings, endured genocide, internment camps, exploitation, and police brutality. We follow in the footsteps of those who bravely spoke out and demanded justice despite great risk. We expect discomfort and pain; no transformative change happens without it. However, we will not use that as an excuse to avoid this work; we will sit with pain and discomfort until equity is realized. When challenged, we will respond with love, passion, curiosity, tenacity, and a desire for shared growth, until we crumble the very foundation of systemic racism.


We will not always get it right, but we will always strive for what is right. We ask every person who reads this statement to help transform Rubicon and the communities we serve into places where we connect with Humility, act with Hope, and live with Justice.

***
Racism is the systematic oppression of people of color; occurs at the individual/internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels; may be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional.


White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.

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Rubicon’s Associate Board

By Jonathan Bash September 6, 2018

 

The Associate Board raises awareness and resources to help meet the needs, address the challenges, and uncover the untapped potential of our neighbors living in poverty.

We're currently recruiting new members. Join us to meet other emerging leaders with a commitment to equity for our East Bay communities. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

More Information: Brochure

Additional Details: Job Description

Apply for the Associate Board: Application

Questions? Contact Alex Pfeifer-Rosenblum, Development Manager

 

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The Rubicon Rangers: The Final Report

By Sandy Chung August 27, 2018

The "Rubicon Rangers" series is a first-person account of Rubicon's intern experience, authored by the interns, Jessica, Sandy and Justin, themselves.

The Clothing Closet Update

Having spent the summer in Rubicon’ old file cabinet room, the interns were able to transform the disorganized room into a welcoming boutique-style closet for the organization’s participants, where they can to choose a fresh, professional outfit that puts them on the path to success.

Now, with four wall racks packed with professional suits, the closet finally looks complete. The middle of the room is loaded with dress shirts ranging from different colors and sizes.

Since the interns’ project began, the clothing closet have gone a long way. Each and every men’s dress shirt has been checked for damage, and steamed to ensure a wrinkle-free look. All of the clothing is sorted by size and hung neatly on racks. On the tie racks, a variety of ties are provided to accompany each of the dress shirts with different, but complementary, patterns and prints. Professional dress shows are also displayed on the shoe rack by size.

As for women’s wear, the team sized various pants, dresses and blouses and arranged them onto the rack. Women’s shoes include flats and heels in every size. Thanks to a large shoe donation that arrived.

Accompanying the closet is a private fitting room that includes a three-pronged mirror, so the participants can view their newly picked outfits from every angle. The room also features a Persian rug and bench to make it feel more like a store fitting room or their own home, helping participants to feel comfortable and confident before their job interviews.

Our entire team is incredibly grateful for this opportunity to help break down poverty here at Rubicon. Our team has learned so much at Wardrobe for Opportunity, taking the skills we learned there and applying them to our own closet.

Community at Rubicon

At Rubicon, you can truly sense the scale of love and support for each of the various communities across the East Bay. In this organization, discrimination does not exist, conversation and cultural exchange is encouraged to overcome the difficulties that people of color and other identities experience. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like the Black Rubies and an LGBTQ group give employees a safe space to tackle thorny issues and improve their community.

Rubicon employees have a strong bond and frequently work with employees outside their department and in offices throughout the East Bay. Employees build strong regional bonds that last a lifetime.

As an intern, this welcoming community here was apparent on day one. With our final days at Rubicon coming to an end, we’re coming to terms with the bittersweet fact that we’re going to have to leave this supportive environment, where care is showered upon participants and coworkers alike.

This same love and understanding nature is shown to the participants throughout their time at Rubicon, from the workshops to the electives and one-on-one coaching sessions. Impact coaches and facilitators constantly encourage and inspire participants to land on their feet and make the best decisions that will help improve their wellness, assets, income and connections.

Goodbye, Rubicon!

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