On Saturday December 14th, 2019, BOSS received the incredible honor of receiving the Community Service Award for an Organization from 100 Black Men of the Bay Area – a prestigious award given annually to individuals, corporations, and organizations that are making a difference in the lives of Black boys and men of color in our community!

The black tie awards gala was held at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, and was a glittering who’s-who gathering of Black Bay Area business leaders, advocates, philanthropists, visionaries and change-makers. Fellow awardees at the 2019 gala included Brian Shaw, former professional basketball player and former head coach for the Denver Nuggets received the Individual Service Award, and Coca Cola received the Corporation Service Award. A special Lifetime Achievement award was given to Robert Townsend, for his decades of acting, comedy, writing, and directing work showcasing important, non-stereotypical, groundbreaking stories from the Black community.

BOSS had two tables at the gala, so that staff who work hard every day to change lives could enjoy the evening and be recognized. Some staff made their way to the Hyatt on their own, while others gathered outside BOSS’s CTEC office in downtown Oakland to head to the Regency in style, in a luxury limo van driven by BOSS’s own For Us By Us Outreach Worker Earl McLeod!

L-R: BOSS staff Martin Malone, Tim Smith, Cyril Muhammad, Earl McLeod

The event included a video presentation describing the tremendous, life-changing impact of the scholarships awarded by 100 Black Men of the Bay Area – young people who are using the step-up provided by that scholarship to become nurses and doctors, lawyers, business leaders, or start their own nonprofits!

BOSS’s Community Service Organization award was introduced by DeShannon Williamson, a former BOSS employee and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area member who has achieved phenomenal success in real estate, while retaining a long-term goal of working with the County and local cities to help solve the problem of homelessness.

DeShannon Williamson presenting award to BOSS

The award was accepted for BOSS by Executive Director Donald Frazier, joined by BOSS staff on stage with him to be recognized for their amazing work as service providers, outreach workers, advocates, and role models to other Black men and boys in the community.

“…In our work we found there are administrative and legislative policies that negatively impact the people we serve and has created systemic failures throughout the service system with iron clad barriers to housing, employment, education, and sometimes the will to live. In response to this, we created our Social Justice Collective in partnership other advocacy organizations along with the Faith Community and Community Based Organizations to push voter registration and education and to purposely fight to reform draconian policies in education, employment, housing, criminal justice, land use and transportation. Our work is intentional and is born from of a model where we continuously train, educate, coach, and empower our people who were homeless, incarcerated or who were involved in gun or gang violence…and then employ them!  At the end of the day, our job is to bring hope to the hopeless, extend help to the helpless and to unapologetically continue the never-ending fight for the liberation of our people”

BOSS is proud to receive this recognition for the work we have done for decades fighting for more affordable housing and living wage employment opportunities – for access to health and mental health care for underserved communities – and for speaking truth to power about the entrenched patterns of inequity and injustice that disproportionately impact Black and Brown communities and what it will take to right those wrongs: deep and long-term reinvestment in poor neighborhoods, and leaders with nontraditional backgrounds (i.e. no college degree, veterans, formerly incarcerated, etc.) with the understanding that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution.

Donate here to support BOSS programs for homeless, poor, formerly incarcerated, and violence-impacted individuals and families.

To get involved in the BOSS Social Justice Collective (SJC) and criminal justice reform efforts, contact Tim Smith at tsmith@self-sufficiency.org.