Community is connections formed by shared interests and common goals, kept healthy through ongoing support and engagement.
At North Berkeley Wealth, we experience our communities as a richly interconnected and deeply rooted group of people and organizations. We strengthen connections by actively engaging in our communities, forming durable bonds, and providing support where needed. Connections among community members are often multifaceted, an intersection of interests and needs and resources. We daily use our expertise to guide clients, our principles to inform business decisions, and our passion to support important causes.
Looking back at 2022, we reflect on our impact in our various communities and ask ourselves, why does community engagement matter for us? We remind ourselves that, as humans, we thrive on our connection to others. The more that any one of us engages with the community – whether a local business, a neighbor down the street, or a community organization – the more each of us benefits. Our tagline is “Invest in Living” but we often add, “Invest in Community” because we believe there is a compounding, mutually beneficial interest when we invest in our communities.
Below is our 2022 Community Engagement Report
Giving as a Firm
North Berkeley Wealth gives at a firm level to support the impact of nonprofits on the well-being of our shared communities. We budget 1% of our yearly revenue for giving, and use the opportunity to affirm our shared interests. In 2022, we continued to build on relationships we’ve nurtured over many years.
Event Sponsorships and Referrals
Event sponsorships provide financial support for community organizations to help them with fundraising and thus expand their impact. Education was a recurring theme in 2022 with the return of the Berkeley High School Development Group’s yearly in-person event and the ongoing work of the Berkeley Public School Fund, the Berkeley Athletic Fund at Berkeley High School, and the YWCA’s Young Women and Money conference.
Whenever a community member refers us and our services to someone, we invite them to direct a $25 donation from us towards one of our community partners. While many prospective clients find us without a direct referral, in 2022 we donated over $1,000 in the name of individuals who introduced us to people interested in working with us.
We use our time and expertise to support local organizations. Our advisory team provides expertise and counsel to our community partners and other organizations, with several serving on boards or committees. North Berkeley also provides paid service days off for all its team members and organizes group volunteering opportunities. In 2022, we were privileged to spend the day as a team at the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
2022 saw a continuation of partnership with our four community partners. We provided financial support through sponsorship and donations as well as deeper participation in their mission.
In partnership with nature, YES nurtures leaders who champion the wellbeing of their community. Their vision is for Richmond youth, adults, and families to lead healthy, connected lives, motivate change in their neighborhoods, and inspire a safe, thriving community. Lead Advisor Matthew Gatt served as their Treasurer in 2022, and North Berkeley provided investment reserve and retirement plan investment management.
The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland’s mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, develop leaders, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA is a global movement working for women’s empowerment, leadership, and rights, young women and girls. In 2022, Associate Advisor Ariana Alisjahbana presented at their Young Women and Money conference.
The Berkeley Food Network envisions a Berkeley where no one goes hungry. Using an innovative, community-centered approach to food sourcing and distribution, they provide easy and convenient access to healthy, high-quality free food for people who need it. Senior Advisor Kate King co-founded and served as the Treasurer of BFN; she remains currently on the Executive Committee. Several of our team have also volunteered.
The Changemaker Project equips young people with the tools and skills to create a better world. Through a Global Pitch competition, they team up groups with potential sponsors to enact the change they envision in the world. Lead Advisors Brian Kozel, Daniel Smyth and Ariana Alisjahbana participated as funding judges for the 2022 Global Pitch and North Berkeley Wealth sponsored several projects.
Giving as a Team
In 2022, North Berkeley Wealth invited each team member to research and fund organizations of their choosing. We structured the funding as two separate giving initiatives and asked our team to select organizations to support. Discussing the broad spectrum of organizations chosen was an inspiring way for us to come together as a team on behalf of the community. In total, we provided support to over 27 different organizations.
Spring Giving Initiative: Community Empowerment
The focus of the spring giving initiative was community empowerment. Communities share common interests, concerns, and identities, but there is often inequity in who shapes a community and who has access to its resources. We asked our team to find organizations that promote inclusivity, participation, organization, and cooperation and seek to empower all community members.
Winter Giving Initiative: What Matters to You
In our second giving initiative, we asked each team member to choose a group that aligned with their interests. We encouraged each person to find a cause that resonated with them and the results were as varied as the individuals on our team. They provided support to diverse organizations, from animal shelters to civil rights groups to health organizations.
Business as a Force for Good
We use a community bank for our firm’s banking needs because of its local focus and because it channels loans to the neighborhoods where its depositors live and work, helping local businesses and communities thrive. It is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) focusing on creating equal opportunity for all community members.
The Impact of Our Services
Many of our clients want their financial decisions to have a positive social impact. Our services offer a broad spectrum of choices, from banking options to philanthropy to investments. We also have impact investing options and leverage shareholder engagement when possible. Each decision is an opportunity for impact, one that reflects a client’s values and their desire to promote a sustainable future.
A growing percentage of our clients elect to engage in some form of impact investing. This ranges from diversified portfolios that can include forward-looking businesses to investing in high-impact notes that promote environmental stewardship and renewable energy.
When you own a share, you own a part of a company. We help clients use the power of the shareholder vote to voice opinions about a company’s policies.
Our Work with Nonprofits
We provide services to a select group of nonprofit community organizations. They provide a vital role in positive change in the community but often don’t have access to professional financial advice. We help strengthen nonprofits’ by providing financial clarity and stability through properly managing their reserves, providing brokerage services for stock donations, and counseling on growth strategies.
Art at North Berkeley
We believe that art is a vital component of a healthy community. Our curated art program provides a venue to foster local artists, nourish our cultural roots, and strengthen community ties. Exhibits with in-person receptions returned in 2022, and we continue to promote artists and seek new talent to feature in our office gallery.
View Our Latest Exhibit
Join us on Thursday, February 9 for an opening reception
This commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the North Berkeley Wealth Management (“North Berkeley”) employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by North Berkeley or performance returns of any North Berkeley client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data, or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. North Berkeley manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.