As part of Tourism Cares’ initiative to support Oakland tourism, 175 volunteers offered helping hands on March 23 and 24. Oakland was chosen for the 2017 Tourism Cares for our Cities Series and remains the only West Coast city to participate this year. In a joint effort, Tourism Cares and Visit Oakland set up volunteer projects at three significant locations. The efforts were a great success despite the rainy weather on Friday, March 24.

Visit Oakland volunteers

Tourism Cares is a public charity that works to stimulate city tourism, enhancing local economies. The philanthropic organization partnered with Visit Oakland, the city’s official not-for-profit organization which aims to enhance the economic impact of tourism and manages city marketing.

“We’re enthusiastic about the support from our peers in the tourism industry. More visitors are looking to Oakland now more than ever. We’re proud to work together in the community and show off our unique, vibrant destination!” says Mark Everton, President & CEO of Visit Oakland.

Oakland tourism plays a major part in the city’s economy. In 2015, $1.5 billion was generated by the record-breaking 3.6 million visitors who came to Oakland. In addition, tourism directly supports 7,000 full-time jobs in Oakland and 94,000 full-time jobs in the Oakland East Bay region.

“Visit California is honored to sponsor Tourism Cares in Oakland and help highlight the importance of tourism and social responsibility,” says Caroline Beteta, President & CEO of Visit California. “We are excited to give back to the community to help ensure that all of the treasures California has to offer are enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.”

Oakland volunteers

Volunteers participated at three different sites in Oakland: Children’s Fairyland, Gardens at Lake Merritt and Independent Brewery. Children’s Fairyland is a 60-year-old storybook-themed amusement park. Volunteers helped enhance animal exhibits, build storage sheds and a greenhouse, and aid in cleaning and painting the park.

Oakland volunteers

Volunteers at the Gardens at Lake Merritt helped with large-scale painting and landscape projects. Specifically, volunteers pruned and planted a rose garden and created “seed balls” to help inform Oakland children about bees and pollination. At Independent Brewing Company, a brewery located in the Jack London neighborhood, volunteers collaborated with local muralists Dragon School to participate in “paint by the numbers,” as city murals are a major part of Oakland’s arts scene.