Joe Gross, 72, Served on Berkeley School Board

Joseph J. Gross

Joseph J. Gross, who served on the Berkeley School and was executive director of Neighborhood House of North Richmond, died on April 25. He was 72. Mostly recently a resident of Albany, he was born on April 3, 1941 in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and became active in the 1960s in the Civil Rights Movement. He worked on voter registration in McComb County, Mississippi with the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1970, Gross traveled to Guyana and worked for two years in Tanzania.  He moved to Berkeley in 1978, joined Berkeley Citizens’ Action, helping to reelect Gus Newport as mayor of Berkeley. He was elected to the Berkeley School Board in the 1980s and served as executive director of Neighborhood House of North Richmond and as executive board member of the Oakland-Berkeley Rainbow Coalition. Gross co-founded Sustainable Systems, Inc and launched the Communications Technology Cluster business incubator. Sustainable Systems has served as lead consultant to the Bay Area Council for the Bay Area Family of Funds and lead consultant to the East Bay Broadband Consortium. His work took him to China, Palestine, Hungary, Ghana, and South Africa. He helped build an investment fund and a mixed-income development in Shreveport, LA. He served as a founding board member of the California Emerging Technology Fund, treasurer of the Oakland-based Alliance for Community Development and a board member of the Center for Neighborhood Technology located in Chicago, IL. He is survived by his wife Erlinda, his daughter Janel Gross, his son- and daughter-in-law Jawanza and Francoise Gross, his daughter- and son-in –law Tamu and Maniang Seck and his step daughter and son-in-law Maria Dolores and Jose Menjivar. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jason Wright, Jasmine, Justine and Joseph III Gross, Madeline and Fatouja Seck and Maricella Menjivar. A bench will be installed in his memory in Tilden Park. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Regional Parks Foundation, P.O. Box 21074, Crestmont Station, Oakland, CA 94620, with “Joe Gross” in the memo line.
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