Oakland Financial Empowerment

Preparing the next generation of Oaklanders



Oakland Financial Empowerment project focuses on drawing strength from the city’s proud, diverse identity to ensure housing and economic security for all Oaklanders.

CDL embarked on a series of strategic partnership with a number of City's various programs that are collectively working to enable all residents to be economically secure, accrue wealth, and achieve their full potential, regardless of race or status. In supporting the City's mission to build a model for responsible economic growth and business attraction, CDL is also committed to building economic security, especially for those whom have thus far lacked access to equitable opportunity.

Note: Through this project, CDL is supporting the Mayor’s economic resilience and security goals to reduce the asset poverty rate, unemployment rate, and increase living wage jobs in Oakland, including the following 10-year goals:

  • Reduce the asset poverty rate of African Americans (63 percent) and Latinos (69 percent) by half.

  • Reduce the unemployment rate of African Americans (14 percent) and Latinos (9.7 percent) by half.

  • Increase the percentage of Oaklanders that have living wages by 50 percent.

To learn more, see pg. 58 in our Resilient Oakland Playbook.



  • Support asset building for low income parents, and children through the Oakland Promise College Savings Initiative.
  • Create pathways to career success for young men & women of color. Through programs coming out of the Mayor's office such as: Oakland Promise, Classroom2Careers
  • Design a suite of inclusive economic development services to help entrepreneurs of color gain equal footing in Oakland’s economy.The City will expand programs to benefit lower-income and minority entrepreneurs, including the Kiva loan program and an Online Business Portal to help small business start, scale their operations and increase jobs.
  • Align economic resilience goals with the Oakland Thrives wealth impact table.

Strategic Pathways for Engagement

We have narrowed down a focus on three main projects that serve this holistic initiative. We are looking at intervention points from birth to age 24, and are focused on identifying opportunities to maximize our impact in strategic projects that serve this population. The projects and opportunities CDL has identified are:

  • The Oakland Promise Parent Engagement
    • Brilliant Baby Program Parent and Pediatric Service Provider Engagement
    • OUSD Parent and Teacher Engagement
  • Wealth Impact Table Youth Summer Jobs and Financial Empowerment Program


The Oakland Promise Parent Engagement

Oakland is evolving the model for college savings programs and demonstrating the value of holistic service planning through the Oakland Promise, a cradle-to-career initiative aimed at tripling the number of college graduates from Oakland within the next decade.

The CDL is supporting this initiative to develop a competency for service design in order to ensure Oakland’s services effectively address families’ needs, are responsive to how and when families want to receive support, and are delivered in a manner and location that is trusted. The CDL’s primary mission is to bring residents’ perspectives and ideas into service planning from the start. 

The Oakland Promise is led by the City of Oakland Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), East Bay College Fund, the Oakland Public Education Fund, and over 30 implementation partners including hospitals, community organizations, and colleges.

Amanda Feinstein, The Brilliant Baby Program Director

Amanda Feinstein, The Brilliant Baby Program Director

...growing up, my mom didn’t have a savings account... So when stuff came up and I wanted to do certain sports at school, it’s like, ‘Oh, you can’t really do that, because we can’t afford it.’ So I want him to be able to do whatever it is that he wants to do...
— Oakland Parent

I’m really excited about the Oakland Promise. I’m going to talk to our parents about it tomorrow.
— OUSD Teacher

Rethinking Youth Summer Jobs

The City of Oakland has joined forces with the County of Alameda, Oakland Unified School District, and local community organizations via the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to collaborate on more effectively directing resources that impact the well-being of over 170,000 families in Oakland. The JPA's five priority action areas, also known as the 'Impact Tables' are focused on health, wealth (earnings and savings), education, housing, and safety. The CDL is partnering with the Wealth Impact Table to co-facilitate the process in which the key stakeholders, in this case, the underserved youth aged 16 to 24, can have better career opportunities through financial empowerment and more transparent and inclusive growth opportunities.

Wealth Impact Table members, in concert with research undertaken by CDL with local youth and service providers have identified redesigning Summer Youth Jobs program as a short-term priority action area to improve outcomes for youth.

Poverty is not a lack of character; poverty is a lack of cash.
— Rutger Bregman, Historian


Founding Funder