Add To Favorites
Oscar&Ma aims to help both nonprofits and people needing a fresh start
Orange County Register - 3/24/2022
What if the worst thing you can imagine actually holds the seeds of opportunity for positive change?
That’s what Scott Green saw amid the pandemic, when everything was closed up tight as a clamshell. Nonprofits across the region, which depend on galas and other in-person happenings to fund their work, were suddenly forced to try to make do with online versions of their events. But few of them had the technological wherewithal to navigate online production. Even fewer had the money to invest in the kinds of professional production teams who could make the programs look spiffy and appealing.
Green has in his portfolio a business called Capitvate, one of those high-end, professional production companies. The Orange County philanthropist, venture capitalist and entrepreneur also is a fan of Father Greg Boyle and his famed work at Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang rehabilitation and reentry program for convicts.
So, Green wondered, what if there could be a service that trained people needing a fresh start — foster kids aging out of the system, women who’ve fled domestic abuse, people who’d served their time in prison and others — how to produce events for nonprofits? A classic win-win.
Enter Irvine-based Oscar & Ma, created in November 2020 with a dual mission: Hire people who need a chance to enter the workforce, provide them opportunities to learn new business skills, and train them for successful careers in well-paying jobs. Also, work with nonprofits to effectively reach their audiences through great events and creative services.
“A lot of the jobs out there for people in these situations are in fast food or janitorial services. What we wanted to create were avenues to more white-collar jobs — something that can be a career path,” Green says. “And the hard part is, how do you learn those skills?
“When COVID hit, we [at Capitvate], like the rest of the world, pivoted to virtual. And that’s when it kind of clicked in,” Green adds. “Meanwhile, there were 20 million people unemployed. And that changed quickly, but it didn’t really change quickly for the people that need a second chance. They still needed opportunities. And what are the nonprofits going to do? How are they going to figure that out? They don’t have staff. They don’t have expertise in digital marketing hybrid event planning [and doing] Zoom things. How are they going to reach out to their donors and their patrons and so forth? Let’s create a company that addresses these two things.”
Green thinks that even now, as the world loosens pandemic restrictions, the needs that Oscar & Ma fills aren’t going away. The virtual aspect of life is going to stick around to some degree. “People do want to go back in-person. We love being in-person, we’re social creatures. I think what’s going to happen — and we’re already seeing it — is there are real advantages to virtual, and there are real advantages to in-person. I think the world will be in this hybrid state.”
Say you’re a local nonprofit and you want to do your fall luncheon. In “the old world,” explains Green, you could realistically only expect to attract attendees from maybe within 30 miles of your location. But now, you can reach out to people well beyond that. “You can have donors and relationships anywhere. And there is going to be a portion of the population that says, ‘Yeah, I’d love to go to the luncheon, but I don’t have time. I’m just going virtually, and I’ll hit the donate button and participate.’”
Says Green: “I would love Oscar & Ma to be around 20, 30, 50, a hundred years from now as this community where we help people get jobs. Right now, there are events, but we can morph into whatever entrepreneurial opportunities we have. The idea is that we are going to create this place to help create jobs. I think entrepreneurs in general kind of think about what kind of problems can we solve?”
©2022 MediaNews Group, Inc. Visit ocregister.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.