40 x 40 initiative

We’re continuously striving to improve our community and add capacity to fulfill the needs of our entire area.

Neighborhood-based work

Roots partners with community-based organizations to implement a model that integrates mental health and wellness supports for children, youth, and families; neighborhood beautification efforts; and career paths and employment readiness and exploration.

The 40×40 Initiative is a collaboration between Roots Community Health Center, Black Cultural Zone Collaborative and the Brotherhood of Elders Network.

Monika Davis Scott, LMFT, Marriage and Family Therapist, Roots Behavioral Health Department

“My goal is to help families reach their equilibrium again.”

Monika Davis Scott, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
Roots Behavioral Health Department

What is the 40×40?

In the heart of East Oakland, there is a roughly 40 by 40 block area (from Seminary Ave to the Oakland-San Leandro border, and from MacArthur Blvd. to the Bay) that is home to and a stronghold for over 30,000 people of African descent.

What is the 40×40 initiative?

The 40×40 initiative  is a mission undertaken in 2021 by a collective of community-based organizations driven to address the systemic issues of racism and displacement that has stunted the potential vibrancy of a roughly 40×40 block area.

The effort is spearheaded by youth raised in the 40×40 turned leaders of key organizations that make up the 40×40 Council – Roots Community Health Center, Brotherhood of Elders Network, East Oakland Youth Development Center and the Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation.

What do we do?

The vision is to transform the 40×40 into a place where people have what they need to heal, thrive, rejoice, and prosper.  That vision is far different from today’s reality where African Americans experience the worst quality of life indicators, including life expectancy, homelessness and educational attainment. As the demographics of Oakland rapidly change, and with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting our community, we find that time is of the essence in addressing these disparities.  Together, we will protect and build our beloved community in the 40×40, so our people have what we need to heal, thrive, rejoice, and prosper!”

Stats in the 40 x 40

    • Nearly half of Black families in poverty and 41% of Black residents in poverty citywide live in the 40×40 area.
    • Within this area, household income and life expectancy are lowest among Black residents compared to other racial/ethnic groups.
    • There is a 15-year gap in life expectancy between Black residents in East Oakland (70 years) and white residents of the Oakland Hills (85 years).

Realizing the vision for the 40×40 is a long-term, generational strategy and initiative to improve the lives of current and legacy residents.

People’s Advisory Council (PAC)

Beginning work in 2021, we began by forming the People’s Advisory Council (PAC), an advisory council made up of Black community leaders and residents who live in (or have lived in) the 40×40 with a vested interest and knowledge of the issues impacting their community. This council meets with our collaborative monthly to discuss the issues affecting them and their community thereby directing our work. Get involved.

40 x 40 NEWS

Strategies for the 40×40

    1. Advocate for more resources & investments in the 40×40 to support our people & community for generations to come;
    2. Understand community needs & gaps;
    3. Map out and build on community resources & assets; and
    4. Creatively express and share our stories and visions for Black health & safety, community, and belonging in the 40×40 through art and expression walls.


H.O.M.E Project

To address the challenges faced by the 40×40 community and facilitate a thriving environment, Roots in partnership with Stanford University is developing  “H.O.M.E. – Hub of Opportunities, Mentorship, and Empowerment.” This innovative solution seeks to connect Transitional Age Youth (TAY) with the existing community resources through a platform that showcases community stories.

East Oakland Community Resource Hub

Co-Design Opportunities

Building Capacity

Out of the 40×40 leader’s vision grew Rise East, a joint effort between the 40×40 Council and Oakland Thrives. Oakland Thrives is a collective impact organization created to coordinate large-scale strategies that involve the public and private sectors working together to improve wellbeing for Oakland families.  We ground and root ourselves in the areas of health, culture, community, and belonging for wellness that lasts for generations to come.

The Rise East 10-Year Plan is our roadmap to make deep, lasting improvements in the 40×40 neighborhood of East Oakland for current, future and legacy residents. More than 400 residents contributed their ideas to this plan.  https://www.riseeast.org/plan



The Rise East 10-Year Plan is our roadmap to make deep, lasting improvements in the 40×40 neighborhood of East Oakland for current, future and legacy residents. More than 400 residents contributed their ideas to this plan.