DIA – A Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Organization

Our Mission

To make Oakland’s Dimond District a vibrant, safe, and beautiful place for everyone to live, work, shop, and play.

Our Motto

Involvement Builds Community

Who We Are

We are a community-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with membership and participation open to all. We bring together residents, businesses, agencies, and other groups to engage in community projects, to address issues of common concern, and to cultivate a friendly, inclusive neighborhood.

Serving on Our Board

The Dimond Improvement Association has many wonderful committees and projects to benefit the community. Please read through all our Projects & Committees and find which committee or project you would like to participate in. There are opportunities to volunteer from once a year to once a week.

If you are interested in becoming a board member please contact our recorder, Victoria Wake, at  VictoriaW@DimondNews.org and she will forward your email to the 2018 Nominating Committee. The next board election will be held in early April 2018.

Public Information

  • Our board meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at the Dimond Branch Public Library at 3565 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA 94602, 7-9pm. Committee meetings take place as determined by the individual committees.
  • The public is invited to our board meetings. If you would like to request an item added to the agenda, please email our recorder, Victoria Wake, at VictoriaW@DimondNews.org.
  • Board meeting minutes are posted to the website approximately one month after the meeting, following Board review and approval. See to the right for our minutes starting in 2015. when we became an incorporated nonprofit.

General Meetings

DIA General Meetings are held five times a year, on the first Wednesdays of Feburary, April, June, August, and October, typically at the Dimond Branch Public Library, 7-9pm. See the Events Calendar for upcoming meetings and topics.

Board of Directors 2017

Ahmad Anderson

Ahmad has lived in the Dimond since May 2016. Before moving to Oakland, he served as a board or affiliate member with these community organizations: Bay Area 2000, West Contra Costa Child Care Council, West Contra Costa Youth Service Bureau, Habitot Children’s Museum, and Order of the Golden Bear. He currently serves on the KPFA Local Station Board (Treasurer) and Pacifica National Board (Audit and Governance committees).

Ahmad’s vision is to enhance our relationships with Dimond neighbors and the commercial community, and ensure a stronger and unified voice at City Hall.

Zandile Christian

Zandile has been a resident of the Dimond for 22 years and has served on the DIA board for five years. She has participated in many efforts and on many committees, including Finance, Oaktoberfest, Membership, Database, Crime & Safety, Dimond Public Art, Art in the Street, and Keep Dimond Clean.

Zandile’s vision is to have the Dimond be clean and safe for all and to maintain the district’s charming characteristics.

Fran Donohue

Fran is a local realtor who lives, works, and plays in the Dimond. She’s been a Dimond homeowner for nine years and a DIA board member for eight years. Fran is active on the DIA’s Finance and Oaktoberfest committees and in Keep Dimond Clean administration. Previously, she’s been involved on the Business Development Committee, Membership Committee, and in working to develop marketing materials. A long-time fan of the Dimond, she has represented many in our community both as buyers and sellers. She enjoys dining, hiking, and meeting up with friends in the area.

Fran’s vision is to continue the mission of the DIA to beautify the neighborhood through public art; develop a safe and vibrant business district, drawing new businesses and bringing variety to the community; invite new customers and residents to our neighborhood; and continue to serve our community.

Julie Johnson

Julie was born in Oakland and is a 21-year resident of the Dimond, where she raised her two daughters. She loves Oakland and working to benefit our community. Julie has been a DIA board member for 10 years and is currently Treasurer, Dimond Public Art Committee chair, and a Finance Committee member. She’s also been active on the Economic Development Committee. Julie works as finance department head at Ray’s Electric, where great jobs are provided for many Oakland residents. Her hobbies include masters swimming, gardening, hiking, travel, cooking & baking, sewing, decorating, and paper collage.

Julie’s vision for the Dimond is a thriving business district with a variety of cool offerings, including interesting retail and dining experiences. She would love to help usher in more public art and is passionate about retaining some of Dimond’s architectural aspects from the past.

Katherine Kott

As a three-year resident of the neighborhood, Katherine hopes to renew her commitment to community service through the DIA. Her past board-level service includes the Bay Area Organization Development Network, a professional membership organization, and Arts After School, an arts-based after-school care program. Through her training as an organization development consultant, she has meeting facilitation skills to contribute. She has also been successful as a grantwriter and would be pleased to offer this skill as DIA works toward a shared vision for the Dimond.

Katherine envisions the Dimond as a place where everyone is engaged in the community, whether they live here, work or go to school here, or are passing through to shop or change buses. Through engagement, she imagines people will invest in keeping the Dimond vibrant, clean, and safe.

Marion Mills

Marion has lived in the Dimond since 1985 and started her volunteer activities picking up litter in the upper Dimond. She was a board member and secretary for the NCPC 22X for eight years, serving as chair of the beautification and bylawsrevision committees, working on fundraising, and organizing a pros & cons forum on city measures. She’s been on the DIA board since 2014 and serves on the Panhandling & Homeless and Beautification committees. She also leads a weekly litter group in Dimond Park.

Marion’s vision for the Dimond is to make it a more attractive place to live through beautification projects, eliminating panhandlers and homeless encampments, and working with city agencies and the community. She wants to increase the community’s knowledge of DIA with the hope that more people will join and volunteer to add greater strength to our endeavors.

Robert Raburn

Robert and his wife Pat moved to the Dimond in 1984 when he was teaching geography and urban planning at SJSU. They liked the transit service, Creekside trail, and commercial district that included three produce markets. In 1992, he drew redistricting plans for Hispanic voters in New Mexico and Illinois, and volunteered with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition—a group he led until 2010 when he successfully campaigned for the BART Board of Directors. Robert joined the DIA board in 2004 to promote building Fruitvale Alive! ($4M bicycle, pedestrian and transit streetscape improvements) and open Farmer Joe’s. Robert maintains the DIA membership records, removes litter, and helps organize the Dimond Picnic and Thanksgiving feast.

Robert’s vision for the Dimond is to complete the $1.36M Park-n-Ride improvements, open a “Firehouse Grill,” install gateway artwork, and improve access to Dimond Park.

Ryan Romaneski

Ryan moved to the Dimond in 2016, after three years working in Oakland and living in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Originally from Washington state, Ryan has worked in education, technology, real estate, and community development, including as Executive Director of the Pioneer School Community Association and the Pioneer Square Business Improvement Area (now the Alliance for Pioneer Square) in Seattle. Ryan is currently Executive Director for the western US at the Oakland-based national nonprofit, Education Pioneers, and sits on the Board of Directors for Oakland Unity Schools, a charter management organization that operates two high-performing schools in East Oakland.

Ryan’s vision for the Dimond is a robust, safe, and highly walkable commercial district, increased mixed-use development that brings more residents to the transit-rich neighborhood, and a DIA that is an engaged and responsive voice of the community.

Jennifer Joey Smith

Joey has lived in the Dimond for five years and has been on the DIA board since 2013. Before moving to Oakland, Joey was on the board of her local neighborhood association in Pittsburgh, Penn. (Friendship Preservation Group), working in real estate, economic development, and neighborhood preservation. Joey earned an MA in History from San Francisco State University, and worked as an archivist from 1999-2003. In 2003, she made the leap to real estate in New York City. She works regularly with landlords, property owners, and investors in our business district to facilitate developments appropriate for our community.

Joey’s vision for the Dimond is increased community participation in local improvements and a thriving business district that better reflects the diverse demographics of the neighborhood.

Daniel Swafford

Daniel has served on the DIA board since 2005. He is executive director for two Oakland-based non-profits and Business Improvement Districts (Laurel and Montclair). He is also vice chair for the Oakland BID Alliance and a member of the city’s Small Business Task Force. As a past DIA chair, Daniel worked to modernize and grow the organization to best address community issues and communicate effectively with residents and merchants. He helped found the NCPC 22X, worked aggressively on business attraction, and was a founder of Oaktoberfest in the Dimond—the principal fundraiser for the DIA and Dimond merchants association. He is currently managing director of Oaktoberfest and a member of the DIA Public Safety Committee.

Daniel’s vision for the Dimond is to see positive, progressive solutions for the challenges that currently face the Dimond District and the City of Oakland.

JoAnn Tracht-Rawson

JoAnn has lived in the DImond for nearly six years. Before moving to Oakland, she was a board member at-large on the Ocean Avenue Revitalization Collaborative in San Francisco for seven years and helped form a successful Community Benefits District. She has been on the DIA board for nearly five years and is one of the leads for Keep Dimond Clean. She also serves on the Dimond Public Arts Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Nominating Committee, and is managing the development of the DIA’s new website, scheduled to launch by summer.

JoAnn’s vision for the Dimond is to see a more vibrant commercial area, stronger unity between the DIA and the merchants association, and a safer environment to explore food and art in the Dimond day or night.

Victoria Wake

Victoria is an East Bay native and 15-year Dimond resident. She recently retired from AC Transit, where she managed the agency’s service information, marketing, and outreach programs. Her long-time interests—the environment, public transportation, and history—have guided her career and volunteer life. She joined the DIA board in 2006 and has been the Recorder for the past several years. She enjoys working on organizational issues and has helped develop and lead DIA general meetings on Dimond history, water conservation, and transportation. She currently serves on the Commercial Area Tree Committee.

Victoria’s vision for the Dimond includes people walking more and driving less, knowing each other better, and spending more time patronizing our businesses and enjoying our magnificent park. She would like to see a safer, more beautiful, and culturally vibrant Dimond where everyone contributes to a positive community spirit.

DIA Accomplishments and Current Activities

Dimond Branch Library
In the 1980s the DIA worked with the City of Oakland to move the Dimond Library to a new site with improved facilities and a larger space to house the library collection, as well as provide a community center. The Dimond Library is now an extremely busy branch library in the Dimond District and provides educational and fellowship programs for all age groups from children to seniors, and also hosts community meetings and events in the large meeting room. The Dimond Branch Library celebrated its 100th year Anniversary in 2015.

Website: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/dimond-branch.

Closure of Hillcrest Motel
In 2003, a group of DIA members and neighbors were able to work together in closing the Hillcrest Motel. The DIA partnered with Boston Avenue neighbors, the Oakland Police Department, our Oakland City Council members and other supporters to shut down a motel that had become a mecca for drug traffickers and prostitutes. In 2004, the motel was leveled and a senior housing facility, Lincoln Court, was built at the former Hillcrest Motel site. The DIA continues to work with the directors and residents of Lincoln Court to include these seniors in Dimond activities.
Dimond Public Safety Council / 22X NCPC
The DIA formed the Dimond Public Safety Council incorporating the Oakland Police Department Beat 22X into a neighborhood crime prevention council. After a number of years of working with the City, this council became its own organization encompassing several surrounding neighborhoods. It is now the 22X Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

Both the DIA and 22X NCPC work together to address crime issues in the Dimond District including burglaries, robberies, aggressive panhandling, and quality of life issues.

Website: http://ncpc22x.org.


Fruitvale Alive Project & Champion Transit Plaza
Between 2004 and 2013, the DIA worked with the City of Oakland and Alameda County to create a pedestrian and bike friendly corridor starting in the Dimond District and continuing south along Fruitvale Avenue. The Dimond District is an Alameda County transit hub providing accessible means of travel for residents and visitors. The Fruitvale Alive Project was completed in 2013 with the dedication of the Champion Transit Plaza, a dramatic transit structure that now stands in the middle of the Dimond District surrounded by a garden area maintained by DIA volunteers.


Dimond Gateway Garden & Beautification in Dimond
DIA volunteers created a mini-park at the major intersection at MacArthur Blvd and Lincoln Avenue, supported by both the DIA and Dimond merchants. This is known as the Dimond Gateway Garden. The land is owned by the City of Oakland, but maintained by community members. In addition, DIA volunteers have established and continue to maintain many planted pots and flower containers on various corners and sidewalks in the Dimond District.


Economic Development
From 2002 to 2013 the DIA has surveyed residents, built relationships with commercial property owners, and has actively encouraged businesses and merchants to establish their businesses in the Dimond District. As a result, Farmer Joe’s Marketplace, a major family-owned upscale market; La Farine Bakery; Peet’s Coffee & Tea; Paws & Claws; and, additional coffee spots, a variety of restaurants, a copy shop, and a purveyor of handmade ice cream have energized the neighborhood. With the opening of Oaklandish in 2013, there is the hope with combined effort between the leadership of the DIA and the merchants, more businesses will choose to locate in the Dimond District.

The Dimond’s economic development is an ongoing focus of the DIA. If you are a DIA member and would like to help the Dimond’s economic growth, you can do so by joining the DIA board and serving on the Economic Development Committee.


Public Art
The DIA fosters and encourages Public Art and is supportive of many local artists. The Dimond is home to several large public murals depicting its history, diverse cultures, and vibrancy; and, a mural featuring the diverse cultures in Dimond. In addition, there is an exhibit created by children “Stars of Dimond”; a photographic exhibit featuring residents and local scenes; directional sidewalk mosaics; and, mosaics on several of the City utility structures. DIA–A Nonprofit, continues to work with local artists to bring more Public Art to Dimond.


District Maintenance
THe DIA’s District Maintenance Program: Keep Dimond Clean – came to exist becasue the City of Oakland is no longer able to provide maintenance to districts other than street sweeping. The DIA and the Dimond community believe that a clean district is of primary importance in the economic viability, growth and safety of a neighborhood. In 2009, Keep Dimond Clean was organized by the DIA and continues to be sponsored by La Farine Bakery. This volunteer driven project handles maintenance issues in the Dimond District, including the removal of litter, graffiti, cigarette butts and debris.

Keep Dimond Clean is a volunteer work group of approximately 30 volunteers organized by the DIA. Volunteers work every week and remove 12,000 pounds of sidewalk litter per year. There is also a dedicated volunteer team removing graffiti from signs, posts, newspaper stands, utility boxes and various sites.

In 2012, the DIA and the Merchants Association each made contributions to hire a paid crew to supplement the volunteer team in removing litter and debris. A fundraiser was launched which raised additional funds by contributions from residents and merchants. Maintenance in the Dimond District is now accomplished through the combined efforts of volunteers and a paid crew.


Dimond Park & Dimond Canyon
Hosting 14 acres of open space, picnic areas, playgrounds, a recreation center and swimming pool, Dimond Park also connects to hundreds of miles of trails via Dimond Canyon, Joaquin Miller Park and the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

The DIA works to build awareness for Dimond Canyon open space and trail system by leading hiking tours, and DIA volunteers maintain the 4-mile trail system. DIA volunteers have also created signage and a mapping system of the trail system. In addition, the DIA partners with Dimond Park Recreation Center to support community events hosted by this active center.


The Dimond List Serve and Website
The DIA funds and maintains an active online community e-list open to all who want to subscribe. Subscribers post various questions about services available; alerts of burglaries, robberies and crime; local events and activities; announcements; missing pets; and, lost and found. It is an important network to facilitate communication among residents and merchants.