Summer 2011 Newsletter

Save the Date! Thursday, November 10th

AnewAmerica’s Microenterprise Expo and Gala: Building A New Future

Scottish Rite Center
1547 Lakeside Drive 
Oakland, CA 94612

Join us for a festive celebration! The Gala will feature live music, local ethnic food, and a not-to-miss international business expo (a great opportunity to do your holiday shopping!).  This is a wonderful occasion to support AnewAmerica’s programs, celebrate our accomplishments, and enjoy unique entertainment and food.

For details, including sponsorship information, contact Larena Burno at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (510) 540-7785 ext. 305.



Donor Spotlight: StopWaste.Org

An Interview with Meri Soll, Program Manager, StopWaste.Org

Meri SollWhy does StopWaste.Org support the work of AnewAmerica?

StopWaste.Org supports the work of AnewAmerica because we feel it’s important to outreach to as many Alameda County businesses and residents on ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.  Alameda County is a very large and diverse community and we work with a variety of organizations to get our message out.  Partnering with AnewAmerica enables StopWaste.Org to better connect with the new immigrant population.

Why is it important to teach low-income new Americans microenterprise development skills that are environmentally-friendly?

It is important to educate all residents and businesses to be good stewards of the environment. However, it is especially important to reach low-income new Americans because their access to this type of education is limited and they are constrained with additional pressures of learning a new language and culture.  As a result, environmental stewardship can take a back seat in regards to their priorities. We need to provide new Americans with the tools and resources to be good stewards of the environment.

What does StopWaste.Org view as its role in cultivating ecologically-conscious individuals and entrepreneurs?

StopWaste.Org has a variety of resources to support individuals and entrepreneurs in developing sustainable businesses.  Our grants, loans, market development and business partnership programs provide both technical and financial resources to forward thinking businesses and individuals interested in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.  Visit for more information.

AnewAmerica very much appreciates StopWaste.Org’s support to promote the long-term economic empowerment of new Americans – new citizens, immigrants, and refugees – and to encourage their full participation in the political, social and cultural growth of America.


Welcome Reception for Viola Gonzales, Hosted by the East Bay Community Foundation

On June 22nd, AnewAmerica threw a welcome reception for our new CEO, Viola Gonzales. The event, hosted by the East Bay Community Foundation, featured live music and hors d'oeuvres made by AnewAmerica's food entrepreneurs.  Many friends and funders joined us at this lively and spirited event to welcome Viola and to show their commitment to supporting AnewAmerica's mission to provide comprehensive microenterprise development services to new American immigrants and refugees in the Bay Area.

Nicole Taylor (President & CEO, East Bay Community Foundation) provided the opening remarks, followed by Dr. Sandra Hernández (CEO, San Francisco Foundation).  Xavier Abrams (Chair of AnewAmerica's Board of Directors), and Robert Lattimore, (AnewAmerica's Chief Operating Officer), provided introductory comments for Viola Gonzales. Viola spoke about her experience with the new American community and her commitment to leading AnewAmerica into a new era of growth and success.  Viola emphasized her dedication to green business practices and her vision for the increasingly green future of AnewAmerica. She stated, "We can't just talk about being green, we have to embody the experience of it and set a real example for the communities we serve."  Click here to view more pictures from the event.

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Elva Aguilar: Promoting Healthy Living through Green Cleaning 
AnewAmerica Entrepreneur, Class of 2010

Ten years ago Elva Aguilar and her six-year-old daughter immigrated to California from El Salvador to start a better life away from the unstable economic situation of their home country. Elva arrived in Richmond in 2001, speaking no English. She began cleaning houses to support herself and her daughter.

After cleaning houses for five years, Elva got very ill. She states, “I realized I had been using these toxic chemicals without knowing what was in them and how they were affecting me. From then on, I have only used non-toxic cleaning supplies in all of the houses I clean.”

Elva continued to clean houses for four years using only non-toxic supplies while expanding her clientele and informing people of the benefits of non-toxic cleaning, but she still felt like her business needed more stability. Then, she enrolled in AnewAmerica’s microbusiness development program. After completing the twenty-five week certificate program in Business Planning and graduating in December of 2010, she began planning for her new green business, Vitta’s House Cleaning. Elva states, “The program has empowered me to go further with my work than I ever knew I could. I really feel a sense of control over my new-found business and a path for a better future. AnewAmerica gave me the tools I need to expand my business.”

Through AnewAmerica, Elva learned how to better market her green business utilizing web-based communication tools. Since completing AnewAmerica’s certificate program, Elva has increased her revenue by twenty-five percent and has hired two workers to help her clean. She is learning how to plan for her retirement, and continues to support her family and others in need in El Salvador and Richmond. As part of Elva’s long-term business plan, she wants to hire more employees and move into a managerial role so that she can create new jobs for others and achieve her personal goals.

Elva’s business is an AnewAmerica Certified Green Business. Elva continues to try new green products and to customize cleaning programs for each house, apartment, and commercial establishment she cleans in the Bay Area. You can visit Elva’s website to find out more about what she does at: You may get in touch with Elva Aguilar by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone: (510) 734-2035.

Story written by Alison Fischman. Photo (above) taken at the San Francisco Green Festival, courtesy of Amanda Barnes.

Recent Events

Café Gabriela Turns One Year Old!

PennyThis spring, Penny Baldado, AnewAmerica Class of 2009,  celebrated the one year anniversary of her business, Café Gabriela.  Penny realized her vision of opening an environmentally-friendly café after completing AnewAmerica’s 25-week course in Business Planning. Penny learned how to write her business, asset and marketing plans. She also learned about all of the Bay Area green business resources that could assist her in opening her dream green café.

Penny is committed to supporting local and organic suppliers. She serves the famous Blue Bottle Coffee, as well as an assortment of locally-made pastries, soups, salads and sandwiches, including Penny’s take on the traditional Filipino adobo dish.

Café Gabriela is an AnewAmerica Certified Green Business. It’s located in downtown Oakland, at 988 Broadway, between 9th and 10th Streets.

Microlending Symposium a Big Success

On May 19th, AnewAmerica, alongside the U.S. SBA and Citi, hosted a symposium on “The Best in Micro-Finance: Micro-Lending and Our Entrepreneurs.”  Industry experts from a variety of backgrounds presented on the financial resources available to microentrepreneurs. Special remarks were given by Lola Robinson, U.S. SBA (pictured left), and Steve Dial, AnewAmerica Board of Directors, and Citi. Following, a panel moderated by AnewAmerica CEO Viola Gonzales featured Oliver Scott, OBDC Small Business Finance, Anthony Nguyen, Southeast Asian Community Center, Agnes Cheung, TMC Working Solutions and Clinton Etheridge, CEDLI. The event was a big success thanks to all of the dedicated participants and attendees.

SparkPoint West Contra Costa Center Ribbon Cutting

On June 2nd, AnewAmerica participated in the ribbon cutting celebration at the SparkPoint West Contra Costa Center in Richmond. AnewAmerica is a Signatory Partner in this project created by the United Way of the Bay Area.




AnewAmerica Participates in Immigrants Rights Day in Sacramento

On May 24th, AnewAmerica participated in the annual Immigrants Rights Day at the state capitol building in Sacramento.  “One California: Many Peoples, One Future.” was the theme of this year’s event. AnewAmerica staff and entrepreneurs met with their legislators to talk about current bills that affect the health and safety of immigrant communities.  The event was in alignment with AnewAmerica’s emphasis on civic education and participation as a form of social responsibility. Each year, AnewAmerica will participate in a joint staff and entrepreneur project to honor the memory of César Chavez.

AnewAmerica staff pictured: Connie Klink (General Manager-San Jose) and Jeff Butler (Director of Women’s Business Center).

Healthy Roots Gardening Update

Healthy Roots, AnewAmerica’s Gardening and Food Justice Program for Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurs has had an active early growing season. Recently, participants in San Jose hosted a workshop to discuss creative alternatives in the garden by recycling and reusing. AnewAmerica entrepreneur and day care owner, Delia Suarez (pictured fourth from left amongst other participants), demonstrated how to reuse products destined for the landfill to help bolster garden productivity.  In the next class, participants will learn how to prepare compost at home, and how to plan for the lifecycle and maintenance of their gardens. The food that is produced in these gardens will provide the children they care for with nutritious organic snacks and meals.

Join AnewAmerica's "100 for $100" Campaign!

Help us reach our goal of 100 individuals contributing $100 (or more!) before December 31, 2011!
Click here to donate now!