Consulting Practice Areas

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Community Outreach and Engagement

"Let us help you find stakeholders -- not just the ones that find you"

The objective of any community outreach effort includes increasing stakeholder access, credibility, and a spirit of cooperation, consensus and conclusion. To do this we employ an “enhanced engagement” strategy when developing outreach campaigns, through a combination of existing knowledge of the constellation of stakeholders, foundational research, individual and small group meetings, and public forums. Our approach includes an inventory of key community assets -- both physical and human resources -- and an assessment and analysis of stated sentiments for and/or against a particular issue or project.

Armed with this body of intelligence, we can assist you in developing an effective and comprehensive communication strategy that accurately illustrates your narrative and engages a more full representation of stakeholders and ideas including individual centers of influence; nonprofit, grassroots, faith-based, business, trade and union organizing groups; government, education and institutional stakeholders. Our goal is to mine as much information as possible from the most pivotal stakeholder groups, as well as the less vocal ones, to provide you with the leverage to make proper and proactive decisions moving forward. This phased and inclusive approach also allows us to deploy a public information process that is more informed, relevant, equitable and productive.

What sets us apart from many planning, facilitation and outreach firms, is that we have key content area expertise that makes our opinion and contributions more valuable. Our informed opinion matters and allows us to strategically advise our clients, anticipate challenges and avoid pitfalls in a manner that traditional outreach and facilitation-only firms cannot. As with most things, execution without strategy is expensive and counterproductive.

Community Outreach and Engagement Services include:

  • Outreach and engagement campaign design and facilitation

  • Graphic design, print and digital communication

  • Evaluation and assessment

  • Technical assistance


Managed Arts Integration

“Art is more than decoration”

RBA Creative principal Randolph Belle has worked closely with countless artists, designers and artisan craftspeople for many years and brings that experience to the real estate development and infrastructure arenas. Art and creative elements should not only be additive and ornamental, but also integrated and foundational to the built environment. This includes public art - both discrete monumental works, smaller-scale works and site specific installations, original pieces of fine art, fine art reproductions and editions. Our goal is to identify a range of artistic solutions to incorporate into public and common spaces, including FF&E, interior and exterior treatments, and temporary space utilization.

Because art is often considered less essential, many planning and budgetary decisions are made without consideration of how to strategically integrate local art and artisans to achieve higher goals. Our approach will help you look at development, marketing and public art budgets to help you maximize expenditures and create longer-lasting impacts.

Managed Arts Integration services include:

  • Arts integration strategy development

  • Public art, workforce development and small business utilization ordinance fulfillment

  • Artist outreach and engagement

  • Request for proposal process execution

  • Retail space activation


Engineered Community Benefits Strategies

“Community benefits don’t have to hurt”

Our goal is to work with our clients and the full range of stakeholders including residents, organizing groups and institutional entities, to identify a comprehensive set of needs and available resources. Starting from a position that every problem in society cannot be solved by one project, and through ingenuity, additional unallocated resources can often be identified to meet stated community needs, our approach seeks to work with “all” sides to set expectations and provide an honest assessment of possible solutions and pathways forward.

RBA Creative specializes in managed arts integration, economic and workforce development, and retail utilization strategies. Additional areas of assistance include negotiation of affordable housing and displacement, environmental remediation and neighborhood services.

Understanding that opposing parties’ definition of what is “realistic” in terms of give and take is highly subjective and collective agreement evasive, community benefit processes generally start with a trust deficit and are unable to recover to the degree that anyone is ultimately happy with the process or the outcomes. Our goal is to de-polarize highly contentious negotiations when possible by serving as a trusted, experienced and neutral mediator, diffusing impacted situations with additional perspectives, and creating a dynamic of exchange among the parties. This approach enables more creative thinking, compromise and resolution.

Engineered Community Benefits services include:

  • Outreach and engagement campaign design and facilitation

  • Individual and group meeting facilitation and mediation

  • Community benefit agreement development

  • Technical assistance


Technical Assistance

“Leave them better off than when you came”

Community development involves all parties understanding the process and the possibilities. When residents and impacted populations don’t fully understand the process, goodwill is eroded and the prospect of a greater good is diminished. RBA Creative works with residents, businesses and organizations impacted by development, positively or negatively, to better engage in the process through greater understanding. Areas of assistance include organizational capacity building; leadership development; resource development and allocation; business development; community and real estate development training; and legislative process instruction.

Technical assistance resources are particularly important in low-income, ethnic and immigrant communities, so we employ a multi-lingual and culturally competent approach throughout the process. We also work closely with trusted community partners in the delivery of services.

Technical Assistance services include:

  • Outreach and engagement

  • Community asset mapping

  • Individual and group leadership development

  • Workshops and trainings


Accomplishments

  • Developed programming, outreach and communications materials for the offices of the presidents at Laney and Merritt Colleges in the Peralta Community College District, and developed a comprehensive communications and marketing strategy for Merritt College to recruit students from diverse communities

  • Directed a family/community art program called 100 Families, which provided arts activities and access to community resources to low-income neighborhood residents in four neighborhoods in Oakland- Fruitvale, East Oakland, West Oakland and Chinatown and included intensive community engagement, meeting facilitation and interagency coordination

  • Launched pilot 100 Families program in the Bayview Hunters Point area of San Francisco with funding through the United Way, with low-income residents at the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club, Urban Services YMCA and Joseph Lee Recreation Center

  • Designed and produced marketing, communications and conference materials for the National Council of Black American Affairs, a national affiliate organization of the American Council of Community Colleges serving community college administrators

  • Led the technical assistance initiative InfoAlameda.org (East Bay Resource Center for Nonprofit Support), an effort to coordinate government agencies, community based organizations and technical assistance consultants to implement training programs, which served over 3,000 nonprofit organizations in Alameda County

  • Principal, Randolph Belle, founded the first art gallery in the now-bustling Oakland Uptown District in 1998- Oakland Art [dot] Com was a business development center for the arts, hosting critically acclaimed exhibits, providing printing and web services, and technical assistance to artists and arts organizations
  • Led the Arts and Culture program development team for the construction of the Ashland Youth Center, which included facilitating a year of meetings with youth, school and district officials, community based organizations and government agencies 

  • Participated on the team that facilitated a multi-million dollar community benefits agreement on the Bayview Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco, which included campaign design and development, community outreach, inter-agency coordination, meeting facilitation, technical assistance and reporting

  • Participated on the team that facilitated community benefits agreement on the Oak-to-Ninth Street Development (Brooklyn Basin), which included campaign design and development, community outreach, inter-agency coordination, meeting facilitation and technical assistance

  • Designed and implemented a community outreach and tenant attraction campaign for a St. Vincent DePaul retail development, Redux in Alameda, CA, which reached 80% capacity as a result.