Bay Area Council Blog: Community Engagement Archive


Council, KPMG Explore Exciting New Opportunity Zone Program

Dozens of impoverished and low-income areas around the Bay Area are eligible for investment under a new federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) program that was the focus of a recent informational forum the Bay Area Council co-hosted with KPMG. The event brought together a diverse group of financial, tax, investment and development experts along with elected and public leaders to discuss how opportunity zones can be leveraged regionally to produce positive outcomes across infrastructure, business and real estate, and generate a wide range of job-creating economic activity. OZs were included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They provide tax incentives for new investments in projects that address needs in environmental justice, sustainability, climate change and affordable housing.

Council CEO Jim Wunderman and KPMG Principal Dan Feitelberg welcomed the audience before Dan Carol, a senior advisor in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, led a discussion with Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Micah Runner from the office of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs on the potential for OZs to serve these low-income areas. Later in the day, KPMG Principal Orla O’Connor led a discussion with leaders from the Council, Bridge Investment Group and Highmore Group Advisors on technical aspects of OZ regulations. The Council plans to convene additional forums as more information becomes available from the IRS and Department of Treasury on the rollout of the OZ program. To learn more, please contact Council consultant Stephen Malta.


Many Ways to Help Victims of Deadly Fires

Northern California too soon is reeling from a deadly fire. The Camp Fire in Butte County exploded to become one of the state’s most destructive and deadly fires in history, incinerating the entire town of Paradise and so far killing at least 63 people with hundreds still missing. The conflagration has destroyed an estimated 9,000 homes, leaving thousands homeless as winter approaches and putting urgent pressure on local, state and federal agencies to find replacement housing in a remote area already reeling from a serious housing affordability problem.

The Bay Area Council extends is deepest condolences to all the victims and families affected by this horrific inferno, and the Woolsey blaze in Southern California. We express our profound gratitude to the firefighters, police and other first responders, along with an army of selfless volunteers, who are working courageously and tirelessly to put out the flames and assist residents in recovering. Many Bay Area Council member companies have moved quickly to provide resources and raise millions of dollars for the massive rescue and recovery efforts that are already under way. Much more will be needed in the coming weeks and months.

The Camp and Woolsey fires come just a little over a year after the devastating North Bay fires, which killed dozens, eviscerated whole neighborhoods and communities, and wiped out more than 7,000 homes. While the reasons for these catastrophic blazes are complex, climate change is a major factor in creating weather conditions that contribute to the severity of fire. The Bay Area Council is working along several channels to help address how we adapt to changing weather and make our communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. Our Bay Area Council Economic Institute is working with leaders in the North Bay to leverage data in developing new policies that can help speed the rebuilding of homes and address the growing risk of building in areas where fire danger is highest. As California’s population grows, we must work to concentrate new housing away from rural and remote areas that increasingly will be affected by more and more dangerous fires and other impacts of climate change.

Red Cross: Monetary donations can be made to the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

California Water Service & Utility Workers Union of America Camp Fire Relief Fund. Cal Water will match the first $25,000 of contributions made to the Camp Fire Relief Fund before November 26, 2018, effectively doubling your individual contribution.

North Valley Community Foundation: Fund goes to support the needs of the evacuation centers who opened their doors to house fire victims who lost their homes or had to evacuate. Donate here.

United Way of Northern California Relief Fund: To donate text BUTTEFIRE to 91999, or visit and select “Camp Fire Relief”

California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: Supports victims by helping to rebuild homes and providing financial assistance to those who need medical and mental treatment. Donate here.

California Fire Foundation: Provides financial support to surviving families of fallen firefighters and firefighters who are battling at the front lines of the blaze. Donate here.

Airbnb: The home-rental company started a program that asks users to open their homes to those hit hardest by the fire. Hosts in regions marked on the map will offer their homes for free until November 29, 2018. Offer is good for displaced residents and relief workers.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group: Works jointly with public and private agencies and organizations in the area help in the safety and well-being of all domestic animals and farm animals, including wildlife, affected by a disaster. This includes assistance with emergency temporary shelter, evacuation, and medical care. Donate here.

Volunteering: The Red Cross has a volunteer page for those who want to pitch in above and beyond donations.


Members Making News: Sutter Health, Heller Manus

Sutter Health’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center recently announced the launch of a new groundbreaking approach to avoid delays in treating strokes, which are the fifth leading cause of death and the top contributor to long-term disability in the U.S. In a public private partnership, Sutter Health will pilot a new specially-equipped and -staffed ambulance, called a mobile stroke unit (MSU). The goal is to test whether bringing stroke diagnosis and treatment to patients—rather than waiting for them to arrive at the emergency department—improves outcomes. From the outside the MSU resembles a standard ambulance, but inside it equipped with a CT scanner and other technology critical for diagnosing stroke. Initially, a stroke neurologist will ride in the Mobile Stroke Unit. Data gathered through the Mills-Peninsula pilot will contribute to national efforts aimed at demonstrating the mobile stroke unit’s ability.


Heller Manus Founder and President and Bay Area Council board member Jeffrey Heller recently was awarded one of the top honors in architecture, the MIT Architecture Alumni Lifetime Achievement award. Heller joined I.M Pei in receiving the illustrious honor. In making the award, MIT said: Since its beginning in 1984, Heller Manus has established a reputation for influencing architecture and urban design in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally. Heller is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Heller is a major supporter of MIT’s Department of Architecture, where his Jeffrey D. Heller Fund provides graduate student financial support and is helping MIT move the needle on its goal of making the School of Architecture and Planning tuition free for all graduate students. Congratulations, Jeff!

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Bay Area – Germany Dialogue on Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0

From November 7 – 9, the Bay Area hosts a German delegation of Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 leaders, including the recipient of the Frost & Sullivan Manufacturing Leader of the Year 2017 Award. The program is organized by EIT Digital and the German American Business Association in California as part of the “Year of German-American Friendship” and includes events on November 7 and 8 that are open for BAC members as well as visits to Bay Area manufacturing sites.  Learn more and register here>>

November 8 at 4 pm, Industrie 4.0 Conference at SAP Palo Alto: REGISTER

One Year After Sonoma Complex Fires, Scars Remain In California Wine Country

Tracking Rebuilding Progress One Year after North Bay Fires

On the one-year anniversary of the horrible North Bay fires, Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg joined KQED Forum this week for an in-depth discussion with local leaders on the progress being made to recover and rebuild. The Economic Institute has been working closely with leaders from Sonoma County and Santa Rosa to assemble data and analysis related to the fire that will guide new policies that can track and speed the rebuilding and provide greater resilience against future fires.

Weinberg was joined on stage during the live broadcast at the Luther Burbank Convention Center by host Michael Krasny, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey, City Councilmember Julie Coombs and Santa Rosa Press Democrat reporter JD Morris. Much of the discussion focused on the urgent need for more housing. Even before the fire, which destroyed more than 4,600 homes, Sonoma County had the highest number of housing cost-burdened households in the Bay Area. City and county officials have set a goal of building 30,000 housing units to address the historic shortage and affordability crisis and replace the units lost to the blazes.

Listen to the full KQED Forum broadcast>>

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Member Spotlight: Alaska Airlines Goes Back to School

In celebration of “Back to School,” Alaska Airlines along with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) recently delighted Willie Brown Middle School students with a surprise visit from basketball superstar Kevin Durant.  Kevin’s surprise visit to the school was part of the collective group’s efforts to support these students as they begin a new school year, and encourage them that back-to-school offers an opportunity for new beginnings. To help start off the year on the right foot, Alaska Airlines announced a monetary donation of $10,000 to Willie Brown Middle School in the Bayview. The money will be used towards much-needed school supplies and classroom equipment, including the creation of a Makers’ Studio.


Getting a First Hand Look at North Bay Fire Recovery

The deadly and devastating fires were long ago extinguished, but the difficult work of recovering and rebuilding continues in the North Bay. To understand the impacts of the fires and the challenges of rebuilding, the staff of the Bay Area Council traveled to Santa Rosa to tour some of the heaviest hit areas and meet with elected, government and business leaders to learn about the recovery efforts and how we can help move it along. The Council was instrumental in raising more than $3 million immediately following the fires to help with relief and rebuilding work. And the Council’s Economic Institute, with the support of a generous grant from the Hewlett Foundation, is working with local officials to provide critical data analysis and policy engineering about what the broader impact of the fires were, how to rebuild in a way that is resilient to climate change and moves the needle on equity and inclusion.

Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore and Danielle Cagan from Council member CSAA served as tour guides as we visited several neighborhoods that are in different stages of rebuilding and learned about the many challenges, from insurance issues to finding enough construction workers, communities are facing. The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce later hosted the Council for an afternoon of discussions with government, business and local nonprofit groups, including Rebuild Northbay Foundation, that are all working to speed up the rebuilding efforts. The Council will remain engaged with the North Bay on this important work. To learn more about our efforts in the North Bay, please contact Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg.

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Warriors’ Rick Welts Adds Hall of Famer to His Title

Rick Welts hasn’t scored a single point, made a single steal or grabbed even one rebound since he began an almost 50-year career in the NBA in 1969 working as a ball boy for the Seattle Supersonics. While his on-court achievements may not rise to the level of a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, the Golden State Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer has amassed an incredible and historic record of achievement off the court that earned him induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7. The Bay Area Council Executive Committee member has been an innovator and pioneer in various leadership roles in the NBA, including as a top executive with the Sonics, the Phoenix Suns, the NBA front office and for the past seven years with the Warriors.

Watch Rick Welts’ NBA Hall of Fame induction speech>>

Long before he became the first prominent male figure in professional sports to publicly announce in 2011 that he was gay, Welts worked to make the NBA a leading advocate for AIDs awareness. His marketing and business prowess and creativity helped guide the NBA in the modern era. Welts created the NBA All-Star Weekend, was the driving force behind the marketing of the USA Olympic Dream Team and played a key role in launching the WNBA. His career with the Warriors has been equally spectacular, helping build a team that has won three NBA Championships and assembled one of the greatest player lineups in league history. Welts also has been the driving force behind the construction of the Warriors’ new Chase Center in San Francisco, which he has called one of his greatest challenges and will no doubt become another great achievement in a continuing career of excellence and leadership. Congratulations, Rick Welts!

“No one is more deserving of this Hall of Fame recognition than Rick Welts,” said Warriors Owner & CEO Joe Lacob. “Rick provided our business operation with instant credibility upon his arrival in 2011 and set the tone for the new direction of the organization. He has left an immeasurable mark on the franchise. His presence has helped boost our organization to new heights, just as it has at every stop throughout his decorated NBA career.”

“Rick’s tenure with the Warriors and the NBA has been defined by innovation and inclusivity,” said Warriors Owner Peter Guber. “From All-Star Weekend to the ‘Dream Team’ to the WNBA, his impressive résumé rivals that of any executive ever to work in the industry. He continues to add to it as the team prepares to open a world-class sports and entertainment venue, Chase Center, in 2019. He’s a Hall of Famer not only by virtue of his successes but also in the way that he leads and inspires people to achieve their own successes.”

“The Bay Area Council couldn’t be prouder of having the incredible Rick Welts as a member of our Executive Committee,” said Council CEO Jim Wunderman. “Rick has consistently shown amazing commitment to our organization and the region. Rick is a hall of famer in every sense of the expression.”


A Bay Area-Europe Collaboration on Cybersecurity Education

EIT Digital and Bay Area Council member UC Berkeley have joined forces to launch Cybersecurity 360, the first professional education program of its kind, which will take place this October in Berkeley and in Munich, Germany. The program includes experts from both the U.S. and Europe, who will equip industry leaders to effectively address relevant cybersecurity issues in their management decisions.

This collaboration between EIT Digital and UC Berkeley Executive Education couldn’t be timelier, as organizations increasingly discover the price of online carelessness. According to the 2017 “Cost of cybercrime” study by Accenture and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of online crime globally climbed to $11.7 million per organization, a 23 percent increase from 2016. Through the Cybersecurity 360 program, decision makers are able to obtain the required level of proficiency in cybersecurity to safeguard their organizations. Program details are available HERE.


73rd Annual Dinner & Business Hall of Fame to Honor Business and Philanthropic Titans

Mark your calendar for the Bay Area Council’s signature celebration of the region’s top business, civic and community leadership. The 73rd Annual Dinner & Business Hall of Fame Awards presented by Alaska Airlines will honor phenomenal business and philanthropic titans with induction into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame. Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are the driving forces behind this NBA championship juggernaut. Under their leadership, the team is enjoying the most successful run in its history. Peter Magowan served for 16 seasons as the San Francisco Giants’ President and Managing General Partner and was instrumental in keeping the team rooted in the Bay Area and ensuring their continued success through the development of a world-class ballpark. Retail giant, The Magnin Family, is one of San Francisco’s most iconic and we’re thrilled to have Ellen Magnin Newman accept the honor on behalf of her family. Make your sponsorship reservation today!

Become a sponsor>>