SparkPoint Fights Poverty in West Contra Costa

By Kia Croom

Joan Davis, President and CEO of Richmond Community Foundation Photo by Joe L. Fisher, BAPAC.

June marked the first anniversary of SparkPoint West Contra Costa, a project of Richmond Community Foundation and United Way of the Bay Area designed to help struggling individuals and families achieve lasting financial stability. “We have served over 600 clients since SparkPoint West Contra Costa opened one year ago,” said Joan Davis, President and CEO of Richmond Community Foundation, which leads day-to-day operations at SparkPoint. “Our financial coaches are helping people address immediate financial crises, get them back on their feet, and build financially secure futures.” SparkPoint client Ike L. credits the agency with helping him take steps to become economically self-reliant. “I’d like to thank SparkPoint for helping me get the education I needed to be able to get into a job training program. It has really built my confidence that I will be able to succeed for my family,” he said. Chevron’s Richmond Refinery provided $1 million and is the founding corporate partner of SparkPoint West Contra Costa. “Chevron is a proud supporter of SparkPoint West Contra Costa, and we are pleased to see the impact SparkPoint has had on the community.  Chevron is committed to strengthening Richmond, the city in which our employees live and work. That’s why supporting such powerful programs like the SparkPoint Center is important to Chevron,” said Nigel Hearne, General Manager of Chevron Richmond Refinery. SparkPoint West Contra Costa brings together the region’s poverty-fighting agencies and programs, including AnewAmerica, Bay Area Legal Aid, Brighter Beginnings, West Contra Costa Business Development Center, Community Housing Development Corporation of North Richmond, Contra Costa County Health Services and Business Development. Created by United Way of the Bay Area, SparkPoint Centers are one-stop, financial-education centers that help individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet. There are 10 centers currently open throughout the Bay Area that offer job training, career development and financial coaching, as well as access to higher education and savings accounts. Every SparkPoint client is provided a coach who helps create a step-by-step plan to set and achieve personal financial goals. United Way’s SparkPoint model has garnered both national and international attention. Learn more at
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