East Oakland Highland
East Oakland Highland is a densely populated community in Oakland located between 69th and 98th Avenues and I-880 and MacArthur Boulevard. International Boulevard, the major thoroughfare dissecting the neighborhood, is one of Oakland’s highest stress police beats.
The center of the community is the campus of two small elementary schools, Rise Community School and New Highland Academy, where more than 85% of students qualify for the federal lunch subsidy.
Cowell began making place-based investments here in 2008 and has awarded more than 30 grants totaling $3M across the program areas to:
- improve family economic stability through the Sparkpoint Center;
- complete a park within the Lyon Creek Crossing affordable housing complex;
- furnish and stock the new East Oakland Community Library;
- improve teaching and learning at Rise and New Highland elementary schools, and Elmhurst Middle School;
- nurture a new Family Resource Center (FRC) on the shared elementary school campus;
- expand youth leadership programs at Castlemont High School;
- expand a youth entrepreneurship program; and
- provide employment opportunities for youth involved in the criminal justice system.
Mayfair, San Jose
The East San Jose neighborhood of Mayfair is defined by the enrollment zone of Cesar Chavez Elementary School where 82% of the 537 students are English Learners, 87% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and 67% of third graders score below grade-level proficiency in reading/English Language Arts.
Cesar Chavez, who founded the United Farm Workers Association, grew up and organized here when the area was agricultural and mostly comprised of orchards, farms and canneries.
Today Mayfair is an urban neighborhood of 10,000 residents, of which 70% are renters. Poverty rates are high and educational attainment is low with only 6% of parents having attended college.
Cowell entered this community in 2012 and has awarded eight grants totaling $529,000 across the program areas.
McKinleyville is an unincorporated town on the redwood coast with a population of 15,000 and growing.
It has the highest concentration of children in Humboldt County, and over half of local students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.
The town supports small businesses and cottage industries such as sustainably-caught fish, feed and farm supplies, and hand-sewn textiles.
The largest employers are Humboldt State University, College of the Redwoods, and the County government, which is seated in the twin cities of Eureka and Arcata, ten miles south.
Since 2013 Cowell has awarded ten grants here totaling $726,000.
Home to 30,000 permanent residents, the Tahoe Truckee region straddles Placer and Nevada County lines and stretches from the north side of Lake Tahoe across rugged alpine vistas to the Nevada border.
The local economy is based on seasonal tourism, so low-wage service jobs predominate and many working families live in sub-standard housing or overcrowded trailer parks.
Of the 4,000 students in local schools, 38% were classified as English Learners when they first enrolled and 45% percent qualify for the federal lunch subsidy.
Cowell has been investing here for 15 years, beginning in 2000 when we first made place-based grants in the unincorporated lakeside town of Kings Beach. In 2007, our approach broadened to include Truckee in response to the regional distribution of families living in poverty.
In total, Cowell has awarded more than 60 grants totaling nearly $7M across our program areas, helping to:
- build a Boys and Girls Club in Kings Beach and launch an associated after-school program at Truckee Elementary School;
- build 524 new units of affordable housing;
- improve student achievement district-wide while reducing the achievement gap between English learners and other students;
- create the North Tahoe Family Resource Center (FRC);
- build and open Community House, which provides integrated services for families;
- establish the Cowell Endowment for Strengthening Families at the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.