Renaissance Launches the Renaissance Women’s Leadership Council

On May 26th, at the home of Board Member Alison Davis, Renaissance launched the Renaissance Women’s Leadership Council, a new initiative to support lower-income Bay Area women as they strive to achieve economic independence for themselves and their families through small business ownership.

Women gathered from throughout the Bay Area to learn about how Renaissance is expanding programs and services for women, ensuring that all English and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs have access to Renaissance’s critical women-focused training, resources, networks and ongoing support necessary for success.

Long-time Renaissance client, Yvonne Hines, owner of Yvonne’s Southern Sweets, shared her story with guests. Yvonne always had a passion for making mouthwatering Southern American style homemade sweets. For years, she treated her family and friends, but when Yvonne learned she was pregnant with her daughter and couldn’t afford child care on her salary, she started selling her signature pralines at local events. In 2005, Yvonne took the plunge, quit her low-paying job, and came to Renaissance to grow her business. Now, with critical training, resources, networks and ongoing support from Renaissance, Yvonne is operating a thriving bakery on Bayview’s Third Street Corridor.

Renaissance would like to thank the following founding members of the Council for their generosity, vision and leadership in helping women like Yvonne achieve economic mobility, including: Charmaine Detweiler, Chair; Alison Davis; Margot Fraser; Helen Russell; Marjorie Sennett; Nancy Sheppard; and Marion Weinreb.

We’ll be hosting more house parties and women-focused events. If you are interested in learning more about how you can become a part of the Renaissance Women’s Leadership Council, please contact

Director of Development and Evaluation

Wendy Guzman


YCore & Renaissance

Connecting Social Change Maker Through Entrepreneurship

It’s early Saturday morning in West Oakland and six young tech professionals rearrange tables and chairs, test their presentation technology, and hurry around to prepare a classroom. At 9 am they’ll be face to face with a diverse student body, along with curious colleagues from Renaissance, to present an intensive training on digital payments and marketing.
These young professionals worked towards this three-hour presentation for six months as a result of asking the question: ‘How can we bridge the gap?’ The gap, project lead Ellen Yan said, was the feeling she got when she walked around her neighborhood, South of Market in San Francisco. She was frustrated seeing people struggle to get by in contrast to the rising affluence. She would have felt even more frustrated had she not been able to address the issues head-on through YCore, a volunteer group that led her collaborate with Renaissance.

YCore is a nonprofit organization that inspires young professionals to get involved in the social sector–now, not later.t’s early Saturday morning in West Oakland and six young tech professionals rearrange tables and chairs, test their presentation technology, and hurry around to prepare a classroom. At 9 am they’ll be face to face with a diverse student body, along with curious colleagues from Renaissance, to present an intensive training on digital payments and marketing.

Their mission – to inspire, support and connect the next generation of social change makers with high-impact philanthropic opportunities – led YCore to create a volunteer project with Renaissance. Renaissance has an established track record of helping Bay Area women and men become economically self-sufficient for over thirty years, and works with 81% low to moderate income clients. Providing people with the tools of entrepreneurship is a proven avenue to self-sustainability and long-term impact. The YCore and Renaissance volunteer project provided a means to turn frustration into an opportunity to work toward social and economic justice.

After interviewing Renaissance clients, the Renaissance YCore learned many lacked computer skills and reliable access to computers and wireless internet, and discovered the need for skills in marketing and digital payments. Collaborating with Renaissance staff, they developed a training using smartphones as their primary interface. Using the mobile payment processing system Square, and digital marketing platforms Yelp, Facebook, and Linkedin, they taught technical marketing and management skills, presenting the live feed from their smartphones on an overhead projector, and keeping the presentation interactive and lively.

Though the YCore group was prepared for the lack of access to technology, members of the team told us it was surprising and moving to experience the digital divide first-hand – a stark contrast to their offices at Yelp and Airbnb.

After completing the project YCore volunteer Sophia Deng recounted, “We have been deeply moved and changed by working with Renaissance.”

We are deeply thankful for the work that YCore has done with us at Renaissance. With their help and that of so many of our volunteers, we are building bridges to entrepreneurship together, empowering people to make better lives for themselves, their families and ultimately our communities.

Members belonging to the Renaissance YCore volunteer team include Ellen Yan at Airbnb, EE Hou at shopkick, Sophia Deng at Instacart, Sophia Lee at Triage Consulting, Noah Gilmore at Yelp, and Kana Hammon, Executive Director of YCore. Their work culminated in an exciting technology training program.
YCore Logo


Meet Patti Quill and Patti Davidson, owners of Industrious Life

industrious-life-photosIn December 2014, Renaissance alumnae and partners Patti Quill and Patti Davidson opened their retail storefront, Industrious Life, in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. Their focus is on curating a mix of both new and vintage design that is useful and thoughtful by smaller U.S. based makers and manufacturers. They also work closely with many local and west coast based craftspeople.

The partners curatorial sense pays homage to what was historically an industrial neighborhood and appreciates the continued work by a new generation of designers and manufacturers. The area has evolved into a growing art and design district, and Industrious Life is proud to be part of it.

Davidson completed one of the Renaissance Center’s early business planning programs in 1985, and Quill attended in 2012 – both partners were working on prior businesses at the time. They have used what they’ve learned from the Business Planning Class, as well as their work experience in bookkeeping, marketing, and management of small businesses to pursue their new business.

Learn more about Industrious Life here.

Princess Beauty Salon

Can you imagine doing what you love while making others feel good about themselves?

This is exactly what Margarita Moreno, owner of Princess Beauty Salon in Daly City, prides herself on. For Margarita, the journey hasn’t always been easy. In 1991 she emigrated from Mexico to the United States where she began to study cosmetology to fulfill her dream of running her own beauty salon. Taking after her parents her parents who grew vegetables in Mexico and sold them in bulk to provide for her and her seven brothers, she wanted to support her family with her drive and passion for business and beauty.

Margarita enjoys making customers happy and helping them feel better about themselves. “It’s not just about makeup, but their attitude changes. “She says that the change is noticeable when her clients walk out of the salon. She provides everyday services in the salon as well as beauty services for weddings and Quinceaneras, a traditional Mexican party for a young girl turning fifteen.

When she began her business, many people predicted that she would not succeed. She says “the path wasn’t always easy because I didn’t have the business training or the support that I needed.” As she struggled to make ends meet, she heard about Renaissance on Univision’s morning show. She enrolled in Renaissance’s intensive Spanish language Start Smart and Business Prep classes where she developed her business plan, mastered her finances, and began to pay herself a salary. As for her training, Margarita says “it is this type of practical know-how, something we call conocimiento in my native language, that I would not have without Renaissance.”

Many questioned Margarita Moreno’s choice of location when Princess Beauty Salon opened in 2001 because her block of Mission Street in Daly City was full of vacant storefronts. Since then, more businesses have arrived and, at her suggestion, are receiving support from Renaissance. Together, they have built a neighborhood where all can shop, eat and become even more beautiful at Princess Beauty Salon. Her business has grown beyond her expectations!

With Renaissance’s help, Margarita hired 3 new employees. Her business is running smoothly, and her customers are happy. With the addition of hiring her niece as an employee, she couldn’t ask for anything more. The Mayor of Daly City recognized Margarita for changing the neighborhood, commending her leadership in supporting locally owned businesses to grow and flourished around her shop. Princess Beauty Salon has helped build the bridge of entrepreneurship in the community.  When we asked Margarita what is the biggest reward of owning her business, she cheerfully stated, “being able to support my mom and dad in Mexico and my mother-in-law in the U.S.”

Renaissance is proud to have clients such as Margarita Moreno who demonstrate what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how building that bridge can cultivate change in neighborhoods that may not have experienced that impact if not for change drivers like her.

Princess Beauty Salon

6290 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

Melissa Myers & The Good Hop Bottle Shop

Melissa Myers worked as a professional brewmaster
for 16 years before she was ready to call the shots and open her own brewery. She tried to start her business for about five years, but didn’t get far on her own. She decided to enroll in our Business Planning class. On the first day of class students were asked to estimate how much they would need to start their business and Melissa estimated $1.5 million dollars. Paul Terry, the class instructor, pulled her aside and said “After class, we’ll talk.”

The Business Planning class helped Melissa create stepping stones to achieve her dreams. One of the most important steps was doing deeper financial analysis. It helped her decide it was a better idea to begin by opening a bottle shop instead of a brewery. And this is how The Good Hop Shop was born. Located in Oakland, The Good Hop Shop offers 450 bottles to drink on site or buy to go and has 4.5 stars on all the review sites. Though her business is booming, Melissa laments not enrolling in Renaissance’s Business Planning class sooner. If she had, she would have done things differently and her business would have launched way sooner.

Melissa is now back at Renaissance receiving financial advice to support her growth from our Financing Resource Center and sharing her experience with current students. Melissa was a guest speaker at our Start Smart class in May 2016 and provided valuable insights to our would-be-entrepreneurs. She advised students on how to acknowledge their weaknesses, know what to farm out and ask other people to help, learn how to trust people, how to find customers and how to become your own brand, she actually wears one of her Good Hop Shop t-shirts nearly every day so people know her and her product.

The Good Hop Bottle Shop
2421 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612