By Nichelle Rachal, senior manager – Community Relations
Since opening its doors in 1978, the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC) and the Clorox Company have maintained a strong bond.
In fact, Clorox and then-CEO Robert Shetterly provided seed funding to set up both EOYDC and its endowment.
This was an early example of Clorox’s commitment to the communities where it does business, particularly its hometown of Oakland, California.
Today, Clorox remains deeply involved with EOYDC. Our employees sit on the center’s board of directors and devote work days as volunteers to help maintain and beautify the building. In 2010, Clorox leaders worked with EOYDC to develop a business model and provided recommendations to expand the center’s branding and marketing.
Realizing a dream
Shetterly envisioned a center that would level the playing field for underprivileged Oakland youth.
(Listen to Shetterly discuss how his two sons influenced his social commitment in this 1990 interview housed at the Regional Oral History Office at U.C. Berkeley.)
When he moved to Oakland, California, to become general manager of Clorox in 1965, Shetterly met Pete Robinson, director of the Paltenghi Youth Center in San Francisco. The two worked together for years raising money for local youth programs.
This fed Shetterly’s desire to increase The Clorox Company’s focus on corporate social responsibility, serving youth and strengthening our communities.
“We figured that Oakland, being our hometown where the business was founded, and that had always been the headquarters of the company, was the place we ought to look to see whether there wasn’t some local need,” Shetterly says in the oral history.
The Clorox Company began working to open a youth center in East Oakland, EOYDC, in 1973.
Over five years, Shetterly helped to establish the 501(c)(3) and raised close to $6 million to build the center. Through a partnership with the City of Oakland, EOYDC established a youth job training program that served over 1,000 youth per year.
Five years later, in 1983, Shetterly established a $3 million endowment for EOYDC. Half of it was donated by the three-year-old Clorox Company Foundation. He wanted the endowment to provide 80 percent of the center’s annual budget, freeing EOYDC administrators to focus on programming instead of fundraising.
“The Beacon” at 40
Today, EOYDC serves 2,000 youth between the ages of 6 and 24 each year.
It provides arts and music programming, job training and placement assistance, afterschool tutoring and college readiness programs. There’s also a wellness program, which includes sports, cooking classes and health education. All are free and are offered five days a week.
- Children who participate in the After-School Leadership Academy show improved educational outcomes, self-confidence, leadership and social skills.
- High school students in EOYDC’s Pathway to Colleges and Careers Program have a 100 percent college acceptance rate, and 86 percent graduate college within four years.
- Seventy-five percent of young adults in EOYDC’s education empowerment program obtain their high school equivalency certificate within six months.
- Each year, EOYDC trains and employs approximately 80 youth staff (ages 14-24). While gaining valuable work and leadership experience, these youth act as powerful role models for their younger peers. Almost all remain engaged throughout the 9-month program period and more than 90 percent of those who complete the program either remain in school or go on to college
“When former Clorox CEO, Robert Shetterly envisioned our safe space for children more thanfour decades ago, he also seeded a treasure chest of cherished relationships with Clorox employees, from CEOs to mail clerks,” said EOYDC Executive Director, Regina Jackson. “Our partnership is more than just grant-deep. Our programs and activities are enriched by Clorox staff on an ongoing basis.”
Congratulations to EOYDC on 40 years of positive impact and the contribution it has made to the lives of so many in Oakland, California.
To learn more about EOYDC, visit their website at http://eoydc.org/