Our Nonprofit Partner
People’s Community Market has emerged from a well-established and widely recognized nonprofit organization called People’s Grocery. Noted by the Obama Administration for its leadership and innovation in developing solutions to the health and economic needs of low-income urban communities, People’s Grocery has an eleven-year track record of marketing healthy foods, providing nutrition and health education, creating local food system infrastructure and engaging thousands of West Oakland residents.
When the Founders created People’s Grocery in 2002, their original idea was to open a full-service grocery store that could serve West Oakland with a selection of fresh foods, as well as act as a hub for community building, social interaction and health education. Recognizing that they didn’t yet have the business knowledge or industry contacts to operate a grocery business, the Founders decided to put the goal on a long-term timeline and work toward achieving it by operating smaller-scale food enterprises and projects that could address the local problem of access to good food while laying the groundwork of first-hand experience, local knowledge and community organizing that would be necessary to launch a grocery store.
For over ten years, People’s Grocery has piloted solutions to the food and nutrition needs of the West Oakland neighborhood, including the nation’s first Mobile Market. All along the way the organization maintained its goal of opening a full-service grocery store and incorporated everything that it learned into that vision. To this end, People’s Community Market is not just an outgrowth of People’s Grocery. It is the fulfillment of a long-held and central vision that the nonprofit has sustained from its inception.
People’s Community Market is building on People’s Grocery’s in-depth knowledge, experience and social capital to launch a grocery store that furthers the two organizations’ shared mission and that enhances their collective impact through a sustainable and scalable enterprise that integrates social and health outcomes at the core of the business model. By building on People’s Grocery’s seasoned foundation, People’s Community Market has access to unique strengths and advantages that will mitigate its risk as a new enterprise and increase its impact and success.
Although they’re separate organizations with separate Boards of Directors and staff, People’s Community Market and People’s Grocery are working together in the creation of the grocery store. Their partnership includes coordinating a Community Advisory Council to cultivate local leadership and conduct community organizing, developing a network of partner organizations to provide services in the store, and collaborating on outreach and communications campaigns to increase local awareness and support for the project.
Once the grocery store is open, People’s Grocery will continue to partner with People’s Community Market in conducting community outreach, organizing and engagement, as well as coordinating and managing the delivery of education programs and health services through a partner network. Additionally, the partnership will expand to include workforce development, vendor management and coordination of the Front Porch community space and venue. We believe that this model of a partnership between a community-based non-profit organization and an emerging for-profit social enterprise will result in a more innovative, resilient and effective model for addressing the health and economic needs of West Oakland. People’s Grocery is not only a critical partner, but is a central component of the overall social enterprise model that we’re creating.