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East Bay Philanthropist Honored With Social Impact Award

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Not many individuals consider Arizona because the land of self-discovery, however for Donald Frazier, it modified the course of his life.

In 1989, after a childhood knowledgeable by poverty in Chicago and a few time transferring across the Southwest, Frazier enrolled on the Amity Basis remedy middle in Tucson to handle his alcoholism. For years, Frazier had been unable to outline the origin of his trauma, earlier than acknowledging a number of institutional components had been at play.

“I realized rather a lot about who I’m, and that is once I actually acquired into working within the social providers, like homelessness and re-entry,” he recalled not too long ago. “Plenty of the situations that I used to be dwelling in had been causal results of my responses to issues that impacted me as a child.”

For the previous seven years, Frazier has served as the chief director of Berkeley’s Constructing Alternatives for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), a nonprofit based 50 years in the past to handle the displacement of individuals with psychological sickness. Beneath Frazier’s management, BOSS has expanded its outreach and added such applications because the Social Justice fellowship, re-entry assets for previously incarcerated folks, and remedy assist for these dealing with substance abuse.

Frazier’s work at BOSS this month earned him the Social Impression Award on the digital East Bay Philanthropy Awards.


“I am right here to serve others,” he mentioned of the award. “If I’ve the alternative to make a distinction, that is my job, for the remainder of my life; to be a voice for the individuals who do not have one.”

Frazier, the youngest of 11 youngsters, lived for a time in Chicago’s Cabrini-Inexperienced housing initiatives. “The poverty and financial situations, racial segregation, inequitable well being outcomes, crime, violence, it was all there centered locally,” Frazier mentioned. “Rising up poor creates a mindset, I feel, and I feel that every one that got here with that basically impacted me in a traumatic approach. I began operating the streets with gangs like the Black Gangsta Disciples, out and in of county jail.”

By the age of 23, Frazier had a household of his personal to assist. He had stuffed out paperwork for the Air Power when a neighborhood nonprofit supplied him the prospect to attend faculty at William Penn College in Iowa, the place he studied English and Sociology.

Upon commencement and after his time in Arizona, Frazier turned licensed as a counselor. In San Diego, he helped implement the primary in-prison drug remedy program on the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

Frazier arrived in San Francisco in 1999, and served because the chief improvement officer of Walden Home, now often known as HealthRIGHT360, the place he labored on the African American Well being Disparity Challenge.

“We acquired then-mayor Willie Brown on the Fairmont for a ‘well being in SF’ presentation (that confirmed) Black people had been on the backside of each well being indicator – stroke, HIV, coronary heart illness, murder, prenatal dying,” he mentioned. “I noticed folks’s jaws drop to the desk. It was terrible. At that second it variety of shifted your entire temper of the room.” That very same day, he mentioned the CEOs of main Bay Space hospitals, together with San Francisco Normal and UCSF Well being, dedicated to combating well being disparities within the African American neighborhood.

He was intrigued by the chance to construct new applications at BOSS. “After I acquired right here, the group was primarily targeted on homelessness and housing. We did a neighborhood environmental survey for violence, murder, poverty in Oakland, Berkeley and Hayward on the time. East and West Oakland had been the two dominating epicenters by far.”

Dan Scarola, a former govt director of the Alameda County Neighborhood Meals Financial institution and a member of the BOSS board of administrators, was amongst those that nominated Frazier for the Social Impression award.

“He is completed a beautiful job,” Scarola mentioned of Frazier. “Sadly homeless organizations are all the time battling funding, and when Donald got here in we had been in that scenario. He made modifications that wanted to be made. The group is operating rather more easily, employees is extra in tune with what is going on on and financially we’re in higher form. It simply made sense that we propose that Donald’s title be up for (the award).”

Beneath Frazier, the group chased new grants to widen providers to incorporate re-entry and remedy applications. BOSS transitioned dozens of transitional housing into new everlasting supportive items and has three set up places of work all through Oakland that host job readiness workshops, provide peer assist, case administration and extra.

Like Frazier, many BOSS workers have lived via what they’re making an attempt to restore and forestall.

“As a result of they’re from these marginalized communities, they’re extraordinarily invaluable property. Plenty of it’s relatable to me, as a result of I’ve skilled nearly all the things they’ve skilled,” Frazier mentioned. “Their position is to inform their story, the situations that they got here from.”

The pandemic has interfered considerably with BOSS’s hands-on method. Advocacy shouldn’t be as direct, and the coaching applications and fellowships at the moment are held remotely. Frazier and companions in Los Angeles are in the early phases of creating a collaborative re-entry group to advance BOSS’s objectives on a statewide scale.

BOSS has additionally taken the lead in founding a brand new community of Oakland-based grassroots organizations to handle the steep disparities in how minority communities have been impacted by the pandemic, known as Oakland Frontline Healers (OFH).

One among its companions is The East Oakland Collective (EOC), based in 2016 by Government Director Candice Elder to particularly handle the disparities within the African American-dominant space from Hyde Road to San Leandro. For the reason that starting of the pandemic, EOC has elevated its meals supply program from 400 meals twice per week to upwards of two,000 a day, 5 days per week. In addition they ship meals to over two dozen encampments for unhoused folks, and because of BOSS, have been capable of present resort housing vouchers.

“Most systematic points had been exacerbated by COVID. I am actually proud to be part of OFH, and grateful to BOSS for orchestrating that. These are community-backed, POC-led organizations in Oakland, many long-standing,” mentioned Elder. “It is nice to get such a big group of oldsters collectively who’ve by no means had the time to speak collectively earlier than. It has been a spotlight, this coalition forming.”

Copyright © 2020 by Bay Metropolis Information, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or some other Reuse with out the specific written consent of Bay Metropolis Information, Inc. is prohibited.

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