“Design For Social Good” by Lisa Towles
The Future of Work + Diversity + Inclusion
Award-winning Oakland nonprofit BRIDGEGOOD has graduated into a new, larger studio space, expanding its community impact.
As Oakland’s premiere tech-for-good nonprofit, BRIDGEGOOD has just tripled its square footage in a new studio space for their Oakland Headquarters, BRIDGEGOOD Community Studio, offering vital resources to its diverse community stakeholders. Three years in the making, the Jack London Square headquarters will be an important anchor for creative job seekers, diverse entrepreneurs, and community leaders. Located at 95 Washington Street, the site includes 2,600 square feet equipped with modular furniture, interactive smart boards, conference area, relaxation room, and a collaboration zone.
“We chose an Oakland waterfront location to inspire and spark creativity in our beneficiaries,” says Shaun Tai, BRIDGEGOOD’s Executive Director and Founder. “It’s strategic for us to be partnered and neighbors with the Port of Oakland, Oakland Athletics headquarters, small businesses, nonprofits, and other important community pillars.”
BRIDGEGOOD’s original incarnation, Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, was co-founded by Shaun Tai in 2009 as a way to open doors for disadvantaged students to premiere tech companies and career opportunities. With their Board of Directors and closest confidante, Wilson Tai, Shaun’s original vision later blossomed into BRIDGEGOOD as a refined innovation to take opening-doors to the next level – a career platform through which design students grow and refine their skills and connect with tech companies to establish sustainable careers.
What Inspires You?
For the past 12 years, BRIDGEGOOD has challenged local design students, artists, and ARTivists through their Inspire Oakland program to create original designs addressing the question of inspiration. To date, over 2,400 community college and state-level students have participated to have their designs featured on billboards, municipal bus ads, community benches, and digital LEDs throughout the East Bay. Students draw on their creativity, their unique vision of diversity, and spirit of innovation when conceiving their artwork submissions.
To date, BRIDGEGOOD has showcased over 70 local artists with original imagery utilized in high impact community organizations such as Oakland First Fridays, Black Lives Matter, and Women of Color Empowerment. Winning designs are selected based on those that visually reflect the diversity, history, and resiliency of our community while inspiring civic pride, engagement, and innovation. 100% of the designs are created by community members and local artists. The BRIDGEGOOD career platform allows Creatives to express their opinions, realities, hopes, and dreams through unique designs: #DesignForSocialGood.
BRIDGEGOOD’s signature 3-month experience, UX Design Apprenticeship, provides tuition-free access, hands-on training, and portfolio building activities for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) Bay Area Artists and Designers. Apprentices of the program learn industry skills and are given access to exclusive design sessions at leading tech companies including Adobe, Twitter, and Salesforce.
Says Omar Sinada, program graduate, “BRIDGEGOOD helped provide me the network and skills to become the designer I am today. Through Inspire Oakland and the UX Design Apprenticeship programs, I made connections with mentors and creatives that I know will last a lifetime. BRIDGEGOOD continues to support me, and I am forever thankful.” Sinada’s team recently designed a health screening application in response to Covid, which is currently in production.
The ultimate goal of BRIDGEGOOD is to ignite creativity, provide students with real-world experience, while jump-starting new careers as professional designers. In addition to professional exposure, student participants receive work opportunities, career-related resources, and discover tools needed to establish sustainable pathways for long-term career planning.