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100 Oakland Small Businesses Owned by People of Color to Each Receive a $10,000 Grant from Comcast RISE Totaling $1 Million

Small Businesses Can Receive a Technology Makeover or Marketing Services

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The Comcast RISE Investment Fund will award $1 million in grants to 100 Oakland small businesses (1 to 25 employees) owned by people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian American, among others. Comcast RISE – which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment – has awarded marketing and technology services to 228 businesses in California so far.

To help drive outreach and awareness about Comcast RISE opportunity and provide additional support and training, Comcast has also awarded a $50,000 grant to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement was made October 1 during a virtual press conference with Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaff; California Assemblymember Mia Bonta; Alameda County Assessor Phong La; President & CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce Cathy Adams and owner of Mannequin Madness in Oakland and previous Comcast RISE recipient Judi Townsend.

“The economic effects of the global pandemic have been felt worldwide including significant impacts here in Oakland,” said Barbara Leslie, president & CEO of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “We know that our small, local, woman-owned and people of color businesses – that are responsible for creating the beautiful tapestry we call home – have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. We applaud Comcast’s vision, through the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, to ensure that small businesses that exist today will be a part of Oakland’s economic and social fabric tomorrow and many years to come.”

“Like many others, my small business was impacted by the pandemic. Thanks to the Comcast RISE program, I can reach new audiences,” said Judi Townsend, owner of Mannequin Madness and Oakland resident. Townsend benefited from the program twice, once with the production and placement of a TV commercial and then with a technology makeover. “The application process was much more straightforward than other grants. I encourage my fellow eligible business owners to apply for the grant and technology or marketing makeovers.”

The Comcast RISE Investment Fund monetary grants are intended to help small businesses owned by people of color grow as they navigate the challenges of the pandemic. The Investment Fund is the latest extension of Comcast RISE, the multi-year, multi-faceted initiative launched in 2020 to provide small businesses owned by people of color the opportunity to apply for marketing and technology services from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

Through Comcast RISE, the company also announced it will support 13,000 small businesses, owned by people of color, with monetary grants; a TV campaign, production of a TV commercial or consulting services from Effectv; or computer equipment, internet, voice or cybersecurity from Comcast Business by the end of 2022.

Oakland is one of six cities nationwide that was selected to award a $10,000 grant to 100 local businesses from the Comcast RISE Investment Fund, for a total of $6 million across 600 businesses.

“When we launched Comcast RISE, we knew a profound need existed in many of the communities we serve,” said Kristeen Cominiello, vice president of Comcast Business, Comcast California. “We now have seen firsthand how the program’s marketing and technology resources benefit the business owners who are working hard to rise above what happened in 2020.

“Today, with Oakland being chosen as a Comcast RISE Investment Fund grant city, we are so excited to see how this infusion of funding will further propel businesses. We know the impacts will be meaningful and far reaching,” said Cominiello.

Comcast RISE is part of an expanded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitment that Comcast announced last summer, as well as a coordinated cross-company effort to address digital inequities through sustainable programming and investments such as Internet Essentials and Lift Zones.

In addition, grant recipients will receive a complimentary 12-month membership to the coaching program from Ureeka, an online platform for entrepreneurs, to help them build skills, gain more customers and become financially stable.

For more information or to apply (starting Oct. 1, 2021) for either the grant program or marketing and technology services visit www.ComcastRISE.com.

Bay Area

IRS Extends Filing Dates in Counties Under Federal Emergency Declarations

The announcement affects residents in Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties, the IRS said.

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Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.
Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.

By Katy St. Clair, Bay City News Foundation

The Internal Revenue Service has extended its annual tax return due date by a month for people who live in areas impacted by the recent storms, the IRS announced on Tuesday.

California storm victims now have until May 15 to file their individual or business taxes if their area was declared an emergency by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The announcement affects residents in Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties, the IRS said. A full list of counties can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations.

Eligible taxpayers will also have until May 15 to make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts.

Taxpayers will not have to do anything to initiate the extension, the IRS said, and do not have to contact the agency to get this relief.

Some other extensions are being granted to farmers, those who pay quarterly estimated payments, and those who pay quarterly payroll and excise taxes. To learn more, go to irs.gov.

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Bay Area

City Fails to Win $182 Million Federal Grant for Oakland A’s Howard Terminal Project

Opponents said the lack of a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Transportation “shows the lack of credibility — likely based on concerns over safety, economic viability, disruptions to port traffic and supply chains, echoed by maritime stakeholders — for the future of the project with key public transportation and political stakeholders that should prompt an overall re-evaluation.”

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A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure.
A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure.

By Keith Burbank | Bay City News

Oakland may miss out on millions of dollars in grant money that could advance the Oakland A’s proposed ballpark at the city’s port.

The U.S. Department of Transportation failed to recommend that Oakland get $182.9 million in the initial round of funding for the city’s Waterfront Mobility Project. Oakland has not received official word that it was denied the grant money.

The city has been securing dollars for the offsite infrastructure needed to support a new ballpark at the Charles P. Howard Terminal.

“While we are disappointed to have not been selected in the first round, we believe we put forward a strong application and are well positioned to secure other funding sources,” said Fred Kelley, director of the Oakland Department of Transportation. “We will continue to pursue other funding sources to ensure our projects have the resources they need.”

Oakland applied for grant money through the Mega Grant Program, which funds “large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.”

The ballpark proposed by the Oakland A’s would seat about 35,000 people, and the development overall consists of new housing, parkland, an entertainment venue and commercial space.

Not everyone wants the A’s to build a new park at the Port of Oakland. Groups have come together in opposition, hoping to have the A’s build a new park in East Oakland at the current Oakland Coliseum site.

Groups led by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association sued to stop Oakland from issuing a required environmental impact report for the proposed ballpark.

The opponents said the lack of a recommendation by the U.S. Department of Transportation “shows the lack of credibility — likely based on concerns over safety, economic viability, disruptions to port traffic and supply chains, echoed by maritime stakeholders — for the future of the project with key public transportation and political stakeholders that should prompt an overall re-evaluation.”

A city document suggests $600 million will be needed for offsite infrastructure. The city has secured or is in the process of securing more than $320 million of that money, according to city documents published in December.

Former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was a strong supporter of the project.

New Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said at her inauguration Monday that she will work with the Oakland A’s on a deal to keep the team in Oakland while protecting Oakland values.

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Activism

California Family Whose Beachfront Properties were Seized 100 years ago, Sells Land Back to County for $20 Million

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches. The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.” The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

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Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire

The great-grandchildren of the African American couple Willa and Charles Bruce, whose land in Southern California was taken in 1924 and returned to the family last year, have opted to sell it back to the local government for $20 million.

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches.

The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.”

The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

Chief Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, a family historian and spokesman for the Bruce family, stated in a 2021 interview, “It was a very significant location because there was nowhere else along the California coast where African Americans could go to enjoy the water.”

The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists often threatened the Bruce family, but they kept the resort open and took care of the land.

In 1924, the municipal council used eminent domain to take the land to build a park.

But, according to a TV show called “The Insider,” the area wasn’t used for many years.

Willa and Charles Bruce fought back in court, but their compensation was only $14,000. In recent years, local officials have estimated the property’s value to be as high as $75 million.

The area contains two coastal properties and is currently used for lifeguard training.

Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, revealed that the family would sell the property back to the local government.

Hahn stated that the price was set through an appraisal.

Hahn stated, “This is what reparations look like, and it is a model I hope governments around the country would adopt.”

The statement made by Hahn may or may not be exactly what the Bruce family desired in addition to the restitution of their land.

In 2021, Anthony Bruce, the great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, told The New York Times, “An apology would be the least they could do.”

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