For Oakland’s Dimond District to be a vibrant, safe, and beautiful place for everyone to live, work, shop, and play.
We are a community-based, non-profit organization, with membership and participation open to all. We bring together residents, businesses, agencies, and other groups to engage in collective efforts to beautify our neighborhood, promote a thriving commercial district, improve public safety, and build a stronger sense of community and belonging.
Inclusiveness: We seek diversity on our board and in community involvement, with openness to all voices and interests.
Respect: We treat each other, and the community, with consideration and kindness.
Collaboration: We prize teamwork, transparency, and the sharing of opportunities to shape our work.
Leadership: We each take initiative and responsibility for aspects of the organization, and aim to inspire each other and the community to make a difference.
Impact: We focus on making significant and meaningful contributions to the community, continually assessing and improving our effectiveness.
Involvement Builds Community
The Dimond Improvement Association has many committees and projects to benefit the community. Take a look at our Projects & Committees page and see what might interest you! There are opportunities to volunteer from once a year to once a week.
Serving on Our Board
If you are interested in becoming a board member, please contact our chair, Kevin Whittinghill, at KevinW@DimondNews.org. Our board election takes place every April, with nominations open several months in advance. New board members may also be appointed by the board at other times of the year if there are vacancies. See more about joining the board.
- Our board meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at the Dimond Branch Public Library at 3565 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA, 7-9pm. (Note: Every other month the meeting is held on-line via Zoom.) 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 chair, Kevin Whittinghill, at KevinW@DimondNews.org.
- Board meeting minutes are posted to the website approximately one month after the meeting, following board review and approval. See elsewhere on this page for minutes dating back to 2015, when we became an incorporated nonprofit.
DIA General Meetings are held approximately four times a year and are announced to the community in advance. See the Events Calendar for upcoming meetings and topics.
August 2017 (Fall)
May 2017 (Summer)
Board of Directors 2023
Zandile has been a resident of the Dimond for 26 years and has served on the DIA board for eleven years. She has participated in many efforts and on many committees, including Executive, Finance, Database, Membership, Keep Dimond Clean, Oaktoberfest, Crime & Safety, Dimond Public Art and Art in the Street.
Zandile’s vision is to have the Dimond be clean and safe for all and to maintain the district’s charming characteristics.
Madeline (Maddie) Dewitt
Maddie has been a Dimond resident since 2020. She grew up in the Bay Area, and spent time in Chicago, New York and Italy before finally making her way back to California. She works in the food and beverage industry, and is an avid user of Dimond Park’s pool and tennis courts!
Maddie’s vision for the Dimond is a warm and vibrant neighborhood with a thriving commercial district, a place that is well-connected to the rest of Oakland, and a place where Dimond residents of all ages feel safe and welcome.
David has been a resident of the Dimond since 2006. Both of his children attended Sequoia Elementary, where he has been active as a volunteer parent for the Dad’s Club and after-school chess classes. He has also served as a baseball coach in the NOLL / SOLL Little League for the past several years. Professionally, David is a practicing attorney specializing in commercial real estate transactions in California and throughout the United States.
David’s vision for the Dimond is to support and grow a thriving business district, maintain clean and safe parks and public spaces, and to encourage the involvement of all residents in making the Dimond a safe and welcoming neighborhood for everyone.
Chris remembers visiting the Dimond as far back as 1972 when his grandmother lived on Dimond Avenue. In 1986, as a young teacher he made the Dimond his permanent residence, and in subsequent years he married and raised two children. In 1998, Chris joined the faculty of Head-Royce School, where he has taught Physics, Astronomy, and Robotics ever since. Chris served on the DIA board from 2011 to 2015, and rejoined in 2018. Most of that time he has served as Board Chair. Improving the fiscal management within the DIA and transitioning to a new listserv have been two significant achievements for Chris.
Chris’ vision for the Dimond is to further its growth as a community built by involvement. This means facilitating communication between community members, DIA members, merchants, visitors, and the many organizations that have the Dimond as their focus.
Heather is a Northern California native, resident of Oakland for the past 12 years and Dimond resident since 2017. Heather has spent her career as a genetic counselor helping individuals and families affected by genetic conditions. As a Product Manager for Quest Diagnostics, she helps bring genetic testing to those who need it. She loves spending time outdoors hiking East Bay trails with her husband and dog or training for the Oakland Half Marathon. Heather has volunteered with the DIA since 2021, helping to bring community events to life and participating in litter pick-ups. Heather deeply believes that Oakland should be a beautiful place for all.
Charis Jones -Allen
Charis Jones -Allen, New York native and husband Claude Allen, Oakland native are owners of KANNA dispensary in Oakland’s Diamond District. Claude was raised in the area as a child. They are dedicated to promoting the growth and prosperity of the community and are committed to keeping the area safe and clean for all residents.
Claude and Charis’ mission statement is to build a vibrant and prosperous community in the Dimond District of Oakland. As business owners and community board members, they are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all residents. They believe by working together, we can build a strong resilient community that thrives economically.
Anoush is an Oakland native and has lived in the Dimond/Oakmore area since 2009. She is an attorney and also helps run Micah Electric Co. with her husband, Micah. Her older kid attends St. Paul’s Episcopal School near Lake Merritt, her middle kiddo is up the hill at Escuelita del Bosque forest school, and her littlest child is 1 month old. Anoush loves living in the Dimond area and can be found at Dimond Park, the library, grabbing coffee or food at one of our many awesome local restaurants, or cruising the neighborhood with her pup. Anoush looks forward to joining the board and further supporting our community.
Julie was born in Oakland and is a 25-year resident of the Dimond, where she raised her two daughters. She loves Oakland and working to benefit our community. A DIA board member for 14 years, she is currently Treasurer, Finance Committee member, and Beautification Committee member. She has also been active on the Economic Development Committee and Oaktoberfest Committee. In the accounting field for 30+ years, Julie works as finance department head at Ray’s Electric. Her hobbies include masters swimming, gardening, hiking, travel, cooking and 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.
Judy is a recently retired high school teacher and union leader. She has lived in the Dimond for 20 years and is delighted to finally have the time to be actively involved in our neighborhood! What she loves about the Dimond is that it has personality — it has amenities, but isn’t gentrified. As a union president, she has experience with organizing and pushing levers within political systems to create change. She and her dog, Crumpet, enjoy neighborhood walks and hikes in the woods. Pip, the cat, enjoys whatever he darn well enjoys.
Judy sees an opportunity to figure out, then use City and County systems to help Dimond be even more vibrant.
Malia was born and raised in the Bay Area. From a young age she had an affinity for, and a dream to one day live in, Oakland. That dream came true in 2021, when she moved to the Dimond after living Washington state for 4 years. She has been a registered nurse for 17 years.
What Malia loves most about the Dimond is its sense of community and welcoming neighborhood spirit.
Alex has been a Dimond resident for most of his life, beginning in the early 1990s. He’s worked as a journalist and researcher in the Bay Area and around the country. You can read some of his work at his website, www.alexcpark.com. Alex has volunteered with the DIA’s beautification committee since 2018 and has been involved with most of its major projects in that time.
Alex’s vision for the Dimond is a refuge for in-person connection with friends and neighbors of all backgrounds, where people feel welcome and all who live, work, and enjoy the neighborhood can be confident their voice is heard and their wants and needs are recognized.
Bret has lived in the Dimond with his wife since 2015, where they are raising their growing family. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010 from Hawaii, where he worked on a submarine in the Navy. After completing his PHD at UC Berkeley he now works as a microbiologist at a cancer immunotherapy company in Berkeley. He is a daily bike commuter and loves taking trips on AC transit with his son on the weekends. Bret cares deeply about homelessness and housing affordability and spends time volunteering to promote pro-housing policies and zoning reform.
Bret’s vision for the Dimond is a healthy, bustling and diverse commercial and residential center where the pedestrians’ pleasure and safety is prioritized over expediency for privately owned vehicles, and where enough housing exists to support a diverse range of Oakland residents that have a shared stake in their neighborhood.
Michaela Sangalli Guiliano
Michaela was born and raised in Oakland and feels deeply connected to the city. She and her husband are raising two kids in the Dimond and are proud Sequoia parents. After completing her Master’s in Organizational Development, she worked for the City and County of San Francisco and Accenture, delivering human capital strategies to improve the effectiveness and experiences of employees. Michaela currently works for the Clorox Company where she designs and implements key moments that matter in an employee’s life cycle. She loves bringing people together, hosting large meals with friends and family and cheering on the Warriors.
Michaela’s vision for the Dimond is a place where all Oaklander’s feel they belong, have a safe place to live and are excited to visit the growing shopping district, beautiful parks and restaurants.
May, along with her husband David, own and operate Grand Lake Kitchen. Soon after the first location of GLK opened in Adams Point, she started looking for a second location that could offer more space and a shorter wait. She quickly fell in love with Dimond, even when neighboring areas were more in fashion. When renovations began on the exterior of the building, she thought that she had missed the chance, but thankfully that was not the case and GLK will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary this spring. May also enjoys celebrating with family and friends, all animals especially dogs and horses and pursuing the perfect chile relleno.
May’s vision and greatest hope for the Dimond is to be a vibrant, safe, and prosperous neighborhood where local business owners, big and small, can come together to help each other help themselves through networking and the use of existing resources.
Victoria is an East Bay native and 20-year Dimond resident. She is retired from AC Transit, where she managed service information, marketing, and outreach programs. Her long-time interests include the environment, public transportation, and history. She joined the DIA board in 2006, and currently serves on the Beautification and Public Safety committees. She is very concerned about the community’s (and the city’s) urban forest, seeing street trees dying at an increased rate and current city restrictions preventing equivalent replanting.
Victoria’s vision for the Dimond includes people walking and taking the bus more, and driving less, and generally knowing each other and local businesses better. She would like to see greater environmental stewardship and a flourishing greenscape. She hopes more of the community will get engaged in local projects and activities because it’s gratifying and fun!
Originally from Santa Cruz, Kevin has lived in New York and San Francisco before becoming a homeowner in the Dimond district in 2019. He has a background in theater, film, stand-up, and graphic design, and currently works as a publisher for Horsley Bridge Partners, a global private equity fund-of-funds, in San Francisco. He’s also produced live theater and comedy events, including the nerd comedy shows “Eureka!” and “You Should Know This!” When he’s not spending time with his wife and baby daughter, he loves to cook, travel, and write. Kevin joined the DIA board in 2020.
Kevin’s vision is to continue the work of others in creating a thriving and prosperous commercial district and making sure the Dimond is a safe and beautiful place for those in the community.
Don has been an Oakland resident for 8 years and has lived in the Dimond with his wife and son since 2019. He is originally from Michigan and works as a product manager at a professional networking company.
Don’s vision for the Dimond is a proud, vibrant, and safe community filled with neighbors with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
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, a larger space to house the library collection, and a community meeting place. The Dimond Library is now an extremely busy branch library and provides educational and fellowship programs for all age groups, also hosting 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
Dimond Public Safety Council / 22X NCPC
Dimond Gateway Garden & Beautification in Dimond
Some 30 volunteers Starting in