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The mission of the Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Activities League is to unite the Sheriff’s Office personnel, citizens and youth of Alameda County in the pursuit and implementation of initiatives that will reduce crime, better the lives of area residents and enhance the community through action and collaboration with its partners.

DSAL was founded in 2004 by Alameda County Sheriff’s Sergeant (now Captain) Marty Neideffer. DSAL was founded to offer pro-social activities for kids and youth in Ashland and Cherryland. At that time, there were very few positive options for recreation or activities for kids after school. As we connected with youth and families, we realized the need to address deeper issues, like unemployment, lack of investment in the unincorporated areas, and social and political disconnection. We now see DSAL’s mission in a larger framework of social equity, community-led economic empowerment, creative placemaking: creating a profound change in how law enforcement serves the community. 

We are constantly working to help make the neighborhoods we serve into places where people can thrive. We helped advocate for and now provide programs at the REACH Ashland Youth Center. We’ve built our DSAL Soccer league into a powerhouse with over 1,500 participants. We launched Dig Deep Farms in 2011, which provides internships for 50+ youth and adults each year, and we’re developing a Food Hub to create even more new jobs. Dig Deep and the Food Hub also increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the neighborhood. 

In summer 2016, DSAL and the Sheriff’s Office launched Eden Night Live in partnership with the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce, Alameda County Public Works and Housing & Community Development, Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office, and the community. These and other accomplishments define our work as a bridge among residents, local businesses, the Sheriff’s Office, and other public and nonprofit agencies. 

Our work is backed up both by feedback from the kids and families we work with, and by research. A number of studies have shown that kids who participate in  quality afterschool programming, whether at school sites or in the community, are less likely to become involved in crime or to drop out of school.  Neighborhoods with higher mutual trust have been linked with lower homicide rates, while neighborhoods that lack social cohesion have been related to higher rates of social disorder, anxiety and depression (report).  Urban farming brings benefits to neighborhoods, including access to healthy food, creating safe spaces, and reducing blight (report). 


The Community Capitals Framework guides DSAL’s work, as well as that of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO).  As explained, in 2015, by the Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Economics, the Community Capitals Framework is a way of evaluating as well as strengthening communities, by presenting seven kinds of capital vital to maintaining a healthy, vibrant community with a robust economy:

  • Natural Capital: This includes a community’s environment, rivers, lakes, forests, wildlife, soil, weather, and natural beauty. 

  • Cultural Capital: This includes ethnic festivals, multi-lingual population, traditions, heritage, or a strong work ethic. Cultural capital influences what voices are heard and listened to, which voices have influence in what areas, and how creativity, innovation, and influence emerge and are nurtured.

  • Human Capital: This includes the skills and abilities of residents as well as the capacity to access outside resources and knowledge in order to increase understanding and to identify promising practices (education, health, skills, and youth). Human capital also addresses leadership’s ability to “lead across differences,” to focus on assets, to be inclusive and participatory, and to be proactive in shaping the future of the community or group.

  • Social Capital: This reflects the connections among people and organizations or the social glue that makes things happen. Bonding social capital refers to those close ties that build community cohesion. Bridging social capital involves weak ties that create and maintain bridges among organizations and communities.

  • Political Capital: This is the ability to influence standards, rules, regulations and their enforcement. It reflects access to power and power brokers, including government officials and leverage with a regional company. 

  • Financial Capital: This includes the financial resources available to invest in community capacity building, underwrite businesses development, support civic and social entrepreneurship, and accumulate wealth for future community development. 

  • Built Capital: This is the infrastructure that supports the community, including telecommunications, industrial parks, main streets, water and sewer systems, roads, etc. Built capital is often a focus of community development efforts. 

​With the Community Capitals Framework as a guide, the ACSO is implementing what they call Community Capitals Policing, an approach that, with DSAL’s programs, recognizes that public safety intersects with public health and placemaking.

{note: link added to define this term: https://www.pps.org/article/what-is-placemaking}



OVER 10,000

“In some places in this country where crime has been persistently high there's distress on a lot of different fronts, and we need to have much more complex solutions to address those complex problems. This story is one about embracing that complexity, bringing together a really strong multifaceted team, getting people on the same page for a vision, no matter how messy that is -- and of course we know it's messy -- and driving forward to create change.” 

- Julia Ryan, Vice President, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

​“The fact that deputy sheriffs and other residents are working together, side by side, is a huge victory.  I think that they are one of the most enlightened, broadest-thinking offices that I've run across anywhere in the country.”  

- Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America​

​“We're on the ground with people having conversations, seeing the issues that they're going through, they trust us enough because we are so accessible that they give us access to their lives and with that level of access we're able to come up with solutions—not a helicopter approach, us landing on the community, but us being atomized in the community and being able to work together with our partners and the people who trust us and actually love us, to help make things better in the area.”

- Deputy Joe, Alameda County Sheriff Office












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The Sheriff’s Office supports DSAL as part of its commitment to public safety, a commitment based on real relationships with the people it serves. The Sheriff’s Office has brought in substantial competitive grant funding since 2008 to bring community-oriented Deputies to the REACH Ashland Youth Center and throughout Ashland and Cherryland; provide counseling, internships, and supports for people reentering the community from jail; reform the structure of the jail to emphasize education, treatment, and jobs for people leaving; and support all DSAL’s recreation, health, food, and jobs programs.

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(BSCC): Through a 2016 grant for Strengthening Law Enforcement and Community Relations, DSAL is getting funding to help pay for expanded recreation activities at the Hayward Adult School.  The BSCC grant is also supporting community-inspired artwork for the HAS site; civic leadership opportunities, and staffing for Eden Night Live. 

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Funds from CalWORKs (formerly known as welfare) have helped pay stipends for interns at Dig Deep Farms. Many of our interns have gone on to full-time employment in the food systems industry, whether urban agriculture, restaurant work, or logistics.

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This national foundation awarded DSAL a major grant for creative placemaking: developing places where economic activity, the arts, and social connections can come together in the Ashland and Cherryland neighborhoods. Kresge funds have helped support Eden Night Live and our partnership’s move into supporting new, local businesses.

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DSAL received a grant from the Artplace National Creative Placemaking Fund in January 2017.  ArtPlace is a ten-year collaboration among foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to put arts and culture into community planning and development, to strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. ArtPlace funding supports DSAL and our partners in making our neighborhoods more engaging, with more social, creative, and economic activity.

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SSA funds production and support staff at DSAL's Dig Deep Farms produce stands at local health clinics and county buildings, where low-income patients have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at  "Farmacy" farm stands. 'Farmacy" stands help people access quality, locally-grown produce, combating both food insecurity and metabolic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. The Farmacy also sells produce to the general public. 


San Francisco Foundation funds have helped support all of DSAL's programs, most especially our free soccer recreational programs.


These funders are supporting DSAL's Art+ initiative, focusing on businesses along a 5-7 block stretch  of the East 14th Street corridor in Ashland, seeking to create a visual and aesthetic identity for the now-dilapidated area. Our Alameda County Office of Education art instructors are matching youth artists with business owners to design and install Art++ facade improvement projects with community design input. They design, fabrication and installation of the Art++ facade improvement, making the corridor a more vibrant place to be.

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Through its partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, DSAL has secured grant funds from the US Department of Justice to help our neighborhoods thrive. The Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant helped us launch Eden Night Live community festivals in 2016, which saw over 10,000 kids, youth, and adults come through the gates for music, arts, sports, food, and connections with neighbors, local businesses, and community-oriented Deputies. The DOJ funded the DSAL food trailer and the various creative placemaking efforts implemented on our site at Mission and Hampton in Ashland.

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(CDBG): Administered by Alameda County, these funds have helped us establish and run Dig Deep Farms and build DDF's future Food Hub. The Food Hub will support a network of integrated food businesses who aim to provide access to healthy food and jobs in our community where access to both has historically been limited. ​​

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The Libra Foundation has provided support for The World as It Could Be, a DSAL program for youth leadership and social justice; and for DSAL to improve its marketing, communications, and fund development. ​​

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Aramark has contributed significant funding towards the construction of the Dig Deep Farms Food Hub, slated to open in summer 2017.

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This foundation has awarded DSAL funding to build a Fitness Park focused on youth and adult soccer. The Fitness Park will include six futsal pitches (futsal is a popular variant of soccer played on a smaller pitch or court), gathering spaces for parents and spectators to watch matches, and space for local entrepreneurs to sell food through DSAL’s licensed food trailer and other food trucks. The soccer activities will also be a venue for informal interactions between residents and Sheriff’s Community Policing Deputies. 


Calrecycle's Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program grant supports the Alameda County Food Recovery Project, a food recovery and redistribution program managed in partnership between DSAL; 3 Alameda County school districts (Hayward, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley); and the Unity Council (a non-profit social equity development corporation inOakland), with advisory support from ALL IN Alameda County.


Alameda Alliance for Health is supporting ALL IN Alameda County and DSAL in our bid to expand Food as Medicine to more clinics throughout the county.

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DSAL is a deeply collaborative partnership. We work with many agencies and people to do the work of building safer, healthier, more livable neighborhoods -- and that includes you! Support from the public helps us create positive experiences and opportunities for kids, teens, and families. 
​Please consider making an ongoing donation of $10, $25, $50, $100 or more per month, or make a one-time gift. We appreciate your support, however it comes. Thank you!

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(510) 481-4515

Marty Neideffer
Hilary Bass
Executive Director​
Chris Swanson
Finance Manager
Sara Sherman
​Operations Director




15001 Foothill Blvd., San Leandro, CA 94578


(510) 481-4515

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