studios 2/3
We've Built Your Destiny

And we couldn’t have done it without you. Six years ago, our community created a plan to find a permanent home for Destiny Arts Center. Today, we have finally made this plan a reality and we have so many people to thank. Read about what it’s taken to get us into our home. We are making Destiny’s peace-building work a long-term reality in Oakland and beyond. Thank you. Together, we’ve built our new home.

Over the past two decades, Destiny has grown into a thriving program that serves more than 4,000 youth annually, ages 3-18. In a world in which violence can seem like an insurmountable problem, Destiny offers a unique solution that makes real, lasting impact in the lives of our youth and in our community.

In the last 9 years, we have moved 3 times, as we have outgrown spaces or leases have ended. Each time we move, we waste valuable resources that could go towards our programs and our young people. This is only one of the reasons why Destiny Arts Center has needed a long-term place to call home. Our permanent home will strengthen our connections and commitment to our East Bay community. It will be a refuge where young people are encouraged and fostered as they learn to navigate conflicts without resorting to violence and where they grow their skills as movement artists.

October 2013

We’re home! If you haven’t had a chance to see our new arts center, stop by and watch our kids and teens learn violence prevention skills through movement, or take a class! For the first time ever, we are offering adult classes to support our new center and our youth programs. This is your center, come by and see hello, tour the space and relish in this accomplishment 25 years in the making! Below are photos from our grand opening block party on Saturday, October 19th. A big thank you to our community of artists for making it such a fun day in the sun!


August 2013

I can’t believe how fast this project is moving now that the walls are (finally) up and the floors are going down. With just THREE weeks (GASP!) left before we move, our construction crew kicks it into high gear to finish all the carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. The paint is all done and the windows and our cool new storefront will be going in next week. The very last step will be laying down the eco-floors and carpet. 967 Stanford, here we come!

studio1floors 8.7.13

Photo: We chose oak floors for the studios, a more moderately priced material, the floors once finished will be a featured element in our new studios. With over 3,000 square feet of floor space, there’s lots of room to move!

July 2013

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the interior finishes in the space. We’ve selected green materials wherever we could in our flooring, low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, and vibrant but modern colors for our space!

photo (8)


Photo: From Left to Right, ladies/girls restroom floors and partitions, carpet and paint for offices, studio flooring and wall colors. Like it?


Photo: The Project Team meets at the space weekly: architect Susi Stadler, DC Construction, Board President Dennis Smith, Executive Director Cristy Johnston Limón, the construction inspector and our lender the Northern California Community Loan Fund as Destiny moves towards the final stages of renovating the building.

See more photos of the space as it transforms here

 June 2013

The renovations get under way and walls start going up. The first order of business is to divide the 9,500 sf space into two smaller spaces. We hear the smaller unit is in contract and that our neighbor is a dancer (somebody mentioned Cirque du Soleil). Our other neighbor is landscape architect Walter Hood, who not only teaches at U.C. Berkeley but also was most recently featured in Sunset Magazine for his design of an urban parklet in Union Square, and designed the landscaping at San Francisco’s De Young Museum. We have an arts hub, folks!


Photo: Cristy Johnston Limón, Destiny’s Executive Director walks through walls to get this project done!

 May 2013


Photo: Our Destiny community comes together to break ground at our new building! Melanie DeMore leads the crowd through a chant as we bless the space together, call on our ancestors to be with us, and welcome our young people into our new home. Click here for more photos.

 April 2013

Our friends at the East Bay Community Foundation, with long-time supporters facilitated a $50,000 challenge grant towards the renovation of our new space. On April 15th, our challenge grant was met with another $50,000 from six individual donors excited about the building purchase and renovations!

A series of open houses were hosted by DAC board members, welcoming new friends into our space and giving folks a sneak peak of the space, and our annual Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company show: Raw.

Architect Susi Stadler finalized plans for the renovations and our contractor Donny Chu of DC Construction started awarding subcontracts and begun preparations for renovations. Meanwhile, DAC continues our fundraising push as the renovation costs become really real. $49,000 for HVAC, really?!


 February 2013


Our community rocks! We successfully raise over $27,000 with 328 donations towards the renovations of our new facility. Donors got shout outs, t-shirts, classes, and other goodies in support of our move to our very own home. Thank you all for your support!

 December 2012

The Walter & Elise Haas Fund granted Destiny Arts Center $100,000 towards the renovation of our new facility! 2012 was a fantastic year to Raise the Roof! Including our Haas Fund grant, we raised another $168,260 towards the purchase and renovation of our new home, including a $15,000 grant from our friends at the Piedmont Community Church.

 November 2012

photo (9)

Photo: Destiny’s Executive Director gives thanks with the seller of 967 Stanford, and they sign the documents initiating the purchase of our new facility!

The Board Meeting

At our November board meeting, the seller met our board and we toasted (with cider) the board’s resolution to purchase the unit at 967 Stanford Avenue! Thanks Karen Hester (board member) for taking the photo!

dac signs

Photo: From L to R: Rick Butler, DAC Board; Sam Katzen, Seller; Bob Cheatham, Board; Cristy Johnston Limón, Executive Director; David Riemer, Board VP; and Dennis Smith, Board President.

2012: We found our Destiny!

Knowing we could only afford a 7,500 square foot space, we were pleasantly surprised when the owners of this facility (pictured below) were willing to sell us 7,500 of this 9,800 square foot warehouse. Let’s make a deal!


Photo: An interior shot of the perfect warehouse space for our programs. High ceilings, lots of open space to build studios, skylights and existing offices. And only 1/2 mile from our current location. Home sweet home.

2011: Transition and growth

With Reneé Heider’s reluctant departure (thank you for your service Reneé!) and the appointment of Cristy Johnston Limón as Destiny’s new Executive Director, the campaign enters its second year, raising another $133,983 towards our goal of $800,000. As we continued looking for the right space, we came across a facility we’d first explored in 2009. As talks resumed, the possibility of leasing a near 10,000 square foot space became a possibility. Destiny contracted the Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) to conduct a financial feasibility analysis to ensure Destiny was not stretching beyond our capacity to pursue such a big space.

NCCLF’s findings confirmed that a 7,500 square foot space was the most financially feasible option for the size of our budget, staffing and organizational capacity. A fundraising gap of over $400,000 was also identified by our consultant; subsequently our board and development team put the campaign into high gear.

 2010: The year of the volunteer

With the Raise the Roof campaign under way, Destiny Arts Center establishes six volunteer committees to support the campaign. These professionals work to create marketing materials, plan events, support earned income strategies and strengthen the organizational infrastructure of a growing arts organization. Destiny Arts Center wins the Neighborhood Builder Award by Bank of America, a $200,000 general operating grant to support Destiny’s operations! As the campaign continues, Destiny board and staff keep searching for the right facility to house our programs. Obstacles such as high rents, short-term leases, structural or seismic issues crop up as dozens of sites are vetted and dismissed. The right place to lease or purchase eludes us. Our donors once again show us love and contribute another $164,083 to the campaign! Without an address. Truly remarkable.

 April 27, 2009: Yes we can!

Destiny Arts Center completes a three-year fundraising plan working with consultants Saad and Shaw to determine the right goal amount, timeline, prospects, work plan and timeline for the capital campaign. While the need was greater than the $800,000 campaign goal, the consultants advised Destiny to measure expectations considering the economic climate and the relatively small size of our organization. Capacity building emerged as a key goal.

Raise the Roof kicks off the start of the fiscal year (July 1) with a lead gift of $100,000 from board member David and his spouse, Carla Riemer! A $33,000 anonymous grant was awarded to support the feasibility of the campaign. Despite the recession, our donors stretch and give to support our campaign. In total, we raised $185,817 in our first year!

As the country enters into its second year of recession, arts organizations and nonprofits start to feel the economic sting as foundations exhibit record losses. Grants and donor giving to nonprofits drop dramatically. Nonprofits try to hang on and continue to provide services for families in need. A tough time for capital funding.

 2008: Can we do it?

Destiny completes a community-wide survey of our families, youth and donor community to assess the feasibility of undertaking a large capital campaign. The results demonstrate the need for dedicated studio, office, homework and changing rooms. Armed with information from dozens of interviews, surveys and focus groups, our Board of Directors begin this journey to a permanent home for Destiny.


The finish line

About six weeks ago, we had just over $300,000 to raise to cover the renovation costs of our new arts center. Today we are at just over $260,000 away from paying off the construction costs of our new building. We’ve designed a space that will be functional, green, warm and welcoming. It’s an energy-efficient space and throughout the building there’s green insulation, LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, and recycled flooring. 

We moved in August 31st and opened for programs on October 14, 2013. Please consider making a donation to ensure that we’ll kick off our 25th year on solid footing. Besides good karma, donors at $1,000 and above will be included in our specially designed donor wall featured in our beautiful new conference room & homework lounge. Your gift will provide students in Oakland and adjacent communities with an extraordinary arts and peace building skill set, ensure that students will have continued access to amazing teaching artists, and support our school-based programs in over 20 schools and ever more partnerships in the community.

Where’s the money going?

  • Studio Mirrors- $6,500
  • Studio Sound & Speakers- $9,851
  • Furniture: desks, conference table, chairs- $17,000
  • Doors, yes doors!- $11,400
  • Windows- $10,553
  • Hardwood floors in three studios- $28,000
  • Drywall- $23,000
  • Heating and Ventilation: $49,786
  • Electrical- $11,200
  • Flooring, Marmolium and ECORE- $23, 509
  • Phones & Internet- $8,600
  • Architectural and Engineering Fees- $43,000
  • Building and occupancy permits- $30,000
  • Contractor- $74,235

And more…but here’s…

How to help

All contributions, large and small, are deeply appreciated. To donate, click the button below, or make your check payable to Destiny Arts Center Campaign and mail it to:

Destiny Arts Center
Raise the Roof Campaign
1000 42nd Street
Oakland, CA 94608

Let’s talk. We are happy to talk to you about the campaign, feel free to email Executive Director Cristy Johnston Limon or call (510) 597-1619 x103.

Of course, while we are most in need of financial donations, we sincerely appreciate all of your support: your in-kind donations of services, building supplies and equipment, and your volunteer hours as we work together to achieve Destiny Arts Center’s mission. It is because of you that our mission endures. Thank you.

Our capital partners and donors

With a campaign that’s spanned across several years, donors, board members and directors, we are truly grateful and honored to recognize the following major gifts publicly:

Destiny Arts Center’s Board of directors, collectively contributed more than $175,000 towards our 1.5 m acquisition and renovation budget. It is with tremendous gratitude that we acknowledge our major donors.

  • The Walter & Elise Haas Foundation
  • The Mendelson Family Fund
  • Anonymous
  • Audrey Grubman
  • Barrios Trust
  • Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation
  • Betsy Gordon
  • Christine Schoeffer & Armin Wolf
  • Irwin, Rita & Chela Blitt
  • East Bay Community Foundation
  • Elayna Shakur
  • Erica Webber
  • Karen and Jeffrey Banks
  • Mary Pecka
  • Michael & Diane Merzenich
  • Micki Luckey & Paul Kivel
  • Microsoft Matching Funds
  • Piedmont Community Church
  • Reneé Heider
  • The Zach Fund
  • Tides Foundation
  • Wendy Jordan

Project plans, etc.

Wow, congratulations for scrolling all the way down to find our project plans!

Here you can take a virtual tour of the space,  or take a look at the Kickstarter campaign video hosted by Artistic Director Sarah Crowell and Executive Director Cristy Johnston Limon. Want more? Give us a call and we’ll arrange a tour of the space, we’re proud of what we’ve built together!

Figure: Here’s the use diagram for the interior layout of the space. As we’ve begun construction, some of the details have changed, like the sizes of the studios for example as we had to move walls for fire sprinklers, code requirements and other construction realities. We can’t wait to show you the new space!

C:Documents and SettingsSusi StadlerMy DocumentsSTADLER ARCH


What a brave band of determined souls is Destiny!

Alice Walker
Author, poet, feminist, and activist