Local Businesses Raise Money, Support after Oakland Fire

December 7, 2016 • 5 min read
Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson


UPDATE: The Small Businesses Administration (SBA) is making low-interest federal disaster loans available to local businesses affected by the Ghost Ship fire, in response to a request from California Governor Jerry Brown. Affected businesses in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Loans to protect, prevent, or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future are available. Working capital loans are available for needs caused by the disaster and economic injury loans are also available.

The filing deadline for loans related to property damage is April 3, 2017, and for economic injury loans, the deadline is November 1, 2017. For more information and to apply, go to SBA Disaster Loan Assistance.

All of us at Townsquared were shocked to hear about the Oakland fire that destroyed the Ghost Ship building, devastating the local arts community. The building, located in the Fruitvale neighborhood, was home and studio space to perhaps as many as 23 residents. On Friday, December 2, during a concert on the premises, one of the deadliest fires in recent U.S. history broke out. As of Tuesday, December 5, there are 36 dead, with victims ranging in age from 17 to 35 and from “all over the world.”

The building was one of an unknown number of similarly “informally converted” spaces used by artists recently evicted and others unable to afford housing in the Bay Area. According to the New York Times, rents in Oakland are up about 70 percent from five years ago. Zillow claims it’s the fastest increase nationwide, with a median rent of $2,899, not far behind San Francisco and Manhattan.

An illegal construction investigation was recently opened by the Oakland Planning and Building Department. Now, the Alameda County district attorney has opened a criminal liability investigation. On Tuesday, officials reported a refrigerator may have been the point of origin.

Our hearts are with the families and friends who lost loved ones, and with Oakland. A number of our members and other local businesses and organizations have created ways to help those in need.

Where to donate and upcoming benefits

Unless otherwise noted, benefit proceeds and donations are going to Gray Area Art + Technology’s YouCaring Fund Fire Victims Relief Fund.

Awaken Café has invited the Oakland community to contribute to a collaborative and living altar. There will be a large blank wall available for members of the community to share artwork, photographs, and writing. Community members are also invited to write messages on strips of paper that will be tied to Awaken’s Christmas tree.


Previous Events

Duende donated 100 percent of Monday, December 5’s sales.

The Legionnaire Saloon donated a portion of bar sales from Saturday, December 3 through Monday, December 5.

Hen House is hosted a benefit this Wednesday.

Trackers Bay in Berkeley collected donations through the evening of December 7.

Kimya Dawson, Torrey Pines, Johnny Physical performed two benefit shows at Midsummer Studios.

Akatharsia, Void Omnia, Undō, Yarrow performed at the Golden Bull and donated 100 percent of the door.

Clove & Hoof donated 100 percent of in-restaurant profits for December 8. For those who donated cash, Clove & Hoof matched it with a gift card for use in the restaurant or butcher shop.

Drake’s Dealership has released an “Oakland Love” brew. All sales of this limited Double IPA will be donated to support the victims of the Ghost Ship fire.

Encuentro cafe and wine bar donated a portion of their profits from December 8 – 13.

Tartine Bakery  hosted a bake sale at Ordinaire in Oakland. All proceeds will be donated.

The Port Bar  hosting a benefit on December 9. All proceeds from sales of Drake’s Beer will be donated. The bar will also accept cash donations and supplies.

Eli’s Mile High Club hosted a Ghost Ship Benefit with Shannon and the Clams on December 9.

OwlnWood donated 20 percent of the proceeds from a benefit on December 9.

Cole Coffee on College Ave. in Oakland donated 10 percent of all December 9 sales in store and online.

Marion and Rose donated 5 percent of their sales from the weekend of December 10 – 11. Eight + Sand also donated 5 percent of their sales from their weekend popup at Marion and Rose.

Red Oak Realty held a fundraiser through their non-profit, ROOF (Red Oak Opportunity Foundation), from December 10 – 12. Red Oak matched up to $5,000 in donations, along with a few other local realtors who committed to matching or have donated.

The Rockridge Improvement Club hosted a benefit by local bartenders on December 12. The volunteer bartenders donated 100 percent of their tips to the YouCaring Fund.

All proceeds from Shakewell’s Happy Hour, from 4 – 6PM on December 14 were donated.

Italian Colors in Montclair accepted clothing, goods and gift cards for survivors through December 14. They also offered to host a holiday meal for survivors and friends, with several customers sponsoring a meal.

Melt Massage donated 5 percent of gross sales between December 13 – 15.


If you hear or think of other avenues through which we can help, please feel free to reach out to any of the Townsquared team.

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