The East Bay’s self-styled “social capitalist” organization Rubicon Programs officially opens in Berkeley Thursday morning with a celebration at its downtown offices.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and office tour will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the organization’s new Berkeley offices at 1918 Bonita Ave. NBC 11 television reporter Christien Kafton, a Berkeley native, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, with Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson serving as honorary hosts.
The organization has been operating its Berkeley satellite office since July of this year.
Based in Richmond, the 32-year-old social service organization provides what Vice President Jane Fischberg describes as a “wide range of caree r development and housing services all across the Bay Area, primarily in the East Bay.”
The organization’s website says that “each year, Rubicon helps over 3,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area—most of whom are homeless or living in poverty—get jobs, housing, legal support, and the skills they need to create better lives for themselves.” The website also notes that Rubicon “funds over 50 percent of our $15.3 million budget from revenues generated by our enterprises, fees from services, and rental pr operties.”
The organization operates a bakery at its Richmond headquarters and operates what Fischberg calls a “high-end commercial landscaping operation” that in part handles all of the landscaping at Treasure Island. Fischberg said that Rubicon also pr ovides housing for 44 formerly homeless people at Treasure Island.
Rubicon also operates legal aid and mental health care services.
Fischberg says that the Berkeley office, with 16 employees, will provide services for residents of the cities of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, and Piedmont.
“It will serve in part as a career center where prospective employees can meet with employers,” she said. “We will also provide networking assistance. And a big part of our mission will be to partner with the various p ublic agencies in the area that provide career and employment services.”
The organization will also provide what Fischberg calls “intense services for people transitioning out of homelessness. We coordinate with landlords to provide permanent housing for the formerly homeless, and provide training and other services to help people retain that housing. We also provide special job training for formerly homeless people who have additional needs in finding and keeping employment.”
The California Department of Rehabilitation will provide both funding for the office as well as deliver on-site services to the program participants.
The organization’s Berkeley area work is also funded in part by the Workforce Investment Board, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Alameda County Social Services Department, and the Mental Health and Housing departments of the City of Berkeley.