our mission

Our Mission

Our mission is to transform East Oakland into a healthy and economically robust community by developing the leadership of youth and young adults and improving the systems that impact them.

Located in the heart of East Oakland, YU is a neighborhood hub offering young people services and programs to increase physical and mental wellbeing, community connection, educational attainment, and career achievement among youth members.

…But delivering services is not our only goal.

Youth UpRising (YU) envisions a healthy and economically robust East Oakland powered by the leadership of youth and young adults as well as improvements in systems and environments that impact them. Our primary focus is building a systems change and community economic development platform that supports and strengthens our personal transformation work.

Theory of Change

We believe that if we provide youth with relevant services and programs, meaningful engagement with caring adults, and opportunities to practice leadership—they will become change agents and contributors to a healthy, thriving community.

This formula for change maintains that healthy, involved people can influence policy and ultimately create healthier, safer, and economically robust communities. It recognizes that youth are inherently resilient and that risk can be reduced with the right set of supports, services and opportunities.

Leadership Team

Macheo Payne, Ed.D., MSW
President & CEO

Sharon Brown
Chief Operating Officer

John Payne
Chief Financial Officer

Shawana Booker
Chief of Programs




The Board

Angela Glover Blackwell
President & CEO, PolicyLink

Aaron Cooperband
Senior Partner, New Aspect Financial Services, LLC

James Harris
Board President, Oakland Unified School District

Malo Hutson
Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Melissa Jones
Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative

Iris Merriouns
Board Chair
Chief of Staff, City of Oakland

Nate Miley
District 4, Alameda County Board of Supervisors