A Bar of Soap and a Fresh Start


How do handcrafted soaps help improve the unemployment rate? Recognizing that unemployment harms physical and mental health, Roots Community Health Center launched a workforce initiative to empower the local community in Oakland. Roots created a pathway to jobs for formerly incarcerated Californians by producing small batch artisan soap.

As a part of their 2020 Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging charter to support social causes that directly aid underrepresented groups, Truebeck’s Team for Tomorrow sought out partnerships with local businesses and charities that shared that mission.

Truebeck and the Roots Clinic share a social responsibility focus on health. Roots is an Oakland-based non-profit health center that provides medical and behavioral health care, health navigation, workforce enterprises, housing, outreach, and advocacy. Roots’ Emancipators Initiative combines on-the-job training with whole-person support. Their 12-week program addresses:

  • Basic Education and Job Readiness
  • Navigation and Linkage to Services
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Job Training, Experience and Counseling

Their Clean360 shop teaches those in the program a trade and helps them get the start they need to succeed after prison.

  • 96 percent of program graduates demonstrate long-term self-sufficiency
  • 96 percent of program graduates are in stable jobs
  • 97 percent of program graduates have not returned to prison since participating in the program

Interesting fact: soap was almost toilet paper.

While soap seems random, the Clinic researched heavily before making the decision. Roots wanted to manufacture a simple object that everybody needs – so it was either soap or toilet paper. Soap won because it was more inspiring, healthy, natural, and makes people feel good.

“Everyone needs soap, and the organization has such a great cause providing opportunities to keep people from going down wrong paths. From the moment it was brought to Team for Tomorrow, I was excited to support it,” said a Truebeck Team for Tomorrow Committee member.

After connecting with Clean360 to learn how Truebeck could support them, the firm purchased 2,000 bars of soap. These bars were then gifted to team members, business partners, family and friends. The remaining soap is being donated to local shelters.

Truebeck believes that social change starts in your own neighborhood. Local organizations like the Roots Clinic and Clean360 are where real change can happen, and Truebeck is honored to be part of such a great cause.

You can purchase the soap online here.

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