How it



The start of a movement


For decades, researchers and academics have worked to uncover underlying causes of health and wealth disparities disproportionately affecting limited-resource communities of color. Community members, however, have long understood what they experienced first hand: a challenging local food environment, a legacy of redlining and economic disinvestment, and barriers to opportunities. Despite a wealth of community assets, neighborhood based solutions are rarely recognized.


Founded in West Oakland, CA, Mandela Partners was established in response to this challenge - to support the development of a community-directed plan that respected community members' ability to identify local needs, and uplift community assets.


A holistic and innovative set of strategies were seeded: a community-owned grocery store, increased healthy food access points, connections to local farmers, support for local entrepreneurs, and culturally relevant wellness education.

Where we are today


15+ years later, Mandela Partners continues to build on the community plan that seeded our work, driving equitable, people-centered, community development strategies. We do this by braiding together several strands of work:










This nexus between economic opportunity and food access is setting a critical footprint for the field to take a systems approach for solving the most pressing issues affecting under-resourced communities.

Together, we are creating integrated pathways that increase choice, build opportunities for intergenerational wealth building, and support neighborhood revitalization - from the ground up. 

Strengthening sustainable income generation among small regional farmers 

Supporting the launch and growth of local food enterprises

Building skills and capacity of resident entrepreneurs

Increasing access to healthy food options

Facilitating access to community capital