PRESS RELEASE: Closed Bank Transformed into Crowdfunding Headquarters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2013
Contact: Ashara Ekundayo,
Co-Founder, Director of External Affairs
Closed Bank Transformed into Crowdfunding Headquarters
Teller Counters Become Kickstarter Kiosks as New Economy Takes Root in Oakland
(OAKLAND, CA) – Less than two years after Occupy protesters clashed with police at Frank Ogawa Plaza, a former bank situated on that very plaza has been occupied – with the blessings of city officials – by a group bringing systemic change and economic revitalization to the community.
In the past week, HUB Oakland (a planned “campus for changemakers” that will include offices for startups and nonprofits, an open coworking space, entrepreneurship education, and daily yoga and meditation classes) has raised more than a third of its $100,000 crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. (www.ComeAliveWith.Us) The funds will support the buildout of a 16,000 square foot permanent space in Uptown.
While construction takes place over the next six months, HUB Oakland has set up a temporary “pop-up” headquarters Downtown at the former site of Far East National Bank, where coworking will begin next month and events. Atop four marble teller counters are laptops connected to Kickstarter, where members of the community can pledge their support for the campaign.
“It used to be that if you wanted to get funding for a big idea, you needed to go through a big financial gatekeeper like a bank,” said Lisa Chacon, co-founder of HUB Oakland. “But now crowdfunding lets us easily fund each others’ projects. We can’t say we planned it this way, but it’s poetic justice that these contributions are taking place inside the shell of a former bank.”
HUB Oakland is the latest in a global network of 50+ independently-owned HUBs, which serve more than 6,000 innovators, artists, social entrepreneurs, and activists working to solve social and environmental challenges.
In addition to becoming Founding Members of HUB Oakland, Kickstarter backers can also sponsor memberships for low-income people. “It’s no secret that the Bay Area startup world lacks diversity and equal access to opportunity,” said Konda Mason, another co-founder. “While venture-funded startups spend huge amounts of money on lavish parties, many people with talent and big ideas can’t afford to pay rent. This Kickstarter campaign allows us to level the playing field a bit, by letting wealthier individuals pay-it-forward and gift educational opportunities and office space to those who can’t afford it.”
Additionally, HUB Oakland has also partnered with local organizations Youth SEED (Youth Social Entrepreneurship for Equitable Development), United Roots Oakland, and Black Girls Code to ensure that young people growing up in Bay Area have access to entrepreneurial mentorship and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education that isn’t readily accessible in the public school system.
HUB Oakland’s temporary space is in partnership with Popuphood, a small business incubator revitalizing neighborhoods block by block, by putting vacant real estate into the hands of local entrepreneurs.