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My name is Kevin Bremond, I am the Chair of the East Oakland Community Project’s (EOCP) Board of Directors. I am writing to acknowledge the incredible work of our Executive Director, Wendy Jackson, and to announce her retirement. Wendy has been the backbone and fearless leader of EOCP for over 26 years. EOCP’s Board of Directors extends our sincere gratitude to Wendy for her service and unwavering commitment to fighting for people who experience homelessness.
The EOCP Board has been meeting for several months to assess the needs of the organization during this time of transition. We have established a Succession Planning Committee that meets regularly to ensure a seamless transition for EOCP’s clients, staff, partners, stakeholders, and funders.
Please join me in thanking, celebrating, and honoring the Wonderful Wendy Jackson for her service.
EOCP Board Chair
After 26 years as Executive Director I will be retiring from the East Oakland Community Project (EOCP). As I look forward to encouraging my seven-year old granddaughter to read every night and help her brother shape his words, I am moved to remember some of the outstanding victories and challenges faced by my other family, EOCP.
We have come a long way from an organization that was basically bankrupt in 1996 to a $10+ million operation that is currently a vital community resource. I am grateful to all of you who work tirelessly to serve, collaborate with and support our efforts to assist people experiencing homelessness in Oakland and Alameda County. When I joined EOCP, we only operated a shelter that served three “hots and a cot” in a dilapidated and uninhabitable warehouse. Currently, we offer three additional residential programs beyond Crossroads as well as six rapid rehousing initiatives and medical respite.
We also dug deeper to create compassionate and comprehensive services that would help our community move towards well-being. Life skills and holistic case management provides our residents an opportunity for stability. Our programming would not be relevant without hiring from the community we serve, a practice that we continue to this day. With better programs and outcomes, it became apparent that the dilapidated shelter was holding our residents back.
Over a period of time, we knocked upon many doors to garner the will and funding to build a new shelter that would provide dignified emergency housing for our residents. In 2008, we successfully opened Crossroads, a green, state of the art facility that offers a healthy environment for our clients. Crossroads is not only an important resource in the community but it is here to stay as EOCP paid off its mortgage in 2019. More recently, with great support from the City of Oakland, EOCP launched its 20-family shelter, Family Matters.
I know that we could have never done this without the help of many others. We have benefitted from community champions for change, our steadfast City and County funding sources, donors and collaborating organizations who have supported us through almost three decades of work. I am especially indebted to those who have passed away, whose specific contributions to EOCP and our clients went above and beyond.
We are at a critical point in our history where we need new thinking and efforts to live our mission and values and to strengthen what we have. I am working closely with our Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition. I look forward to EOCP’s future with hope and gratefulness.
Wendy U. Jackson