The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is a left-of-center strategy and action center based in Oakland, California. The Center focuses on prison reform and promoting development in economically and socially struggling communities.
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights was founded in Oakland, California, in 1996 by Van Jones, a far-left activist who worked in the Obama administration as the President’s Special Adviser for Green Jobs. The Center is named for Ella Baker, a civil rights activist in the 1960s involved in creating the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights group that later became a far-left Black Nationalist group. Jones is now a member of the Center’s board of directors. 
The organization was initially created as “Bay Area Police Watch,” with the goal of “holding police accountable for their actions.” It changed its name to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights by the end of 1996. 
The Ella Baker Center runs “Audit Ahern,”  a project which calls for an audit of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the office’s budget is aligned with social work projects such as increasing HIV testing, providing after-school programs, and providing housing. 
The Ella Baker Center also advocates for legislation that aids in providing the formerly incarcerated employment and housing upon release to allow an easier return into society. 
Additionally, the group co-manages “Restore Oakland” with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a labor-union-associated group that organizes restaurant workers around left-of-center policy advocacy. The project focuses on training members in the community to play larger roles in the economy which includes encouragement to launch businesses, restaurant job training, and job placement. 
In its most recent IRS filing from 2016, the Ella Baker Center had total revenues of $4,018,054, total expenses of $1,870,150, and net assets of $5,471,624. 
The Ella Baker Center has received at least $23 million in grants since 1999. The California Endowment, a center-of-left grantmaking organization, is the group’s largest donor and has provided it with $3,178,324 in grants. Other top donors to the Center include the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Natem Foundation. 
Zachary Norris is the executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Norris has a background focused on ending youth incarceration as co-founder of Justice for Families, a group which helped lead the closure of five juvenile prisons. Additionally, he is a former board member at Witness for Peace and Just Cause Oakland.  Norris received total compensation of $91,470 in 2016. 
Arron Jiron is the current board chair for the organization. Jiron is also a program officer at the left-wing S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. He has worked with the juvenile justice system and early education through his past involvement with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Youth Opportunities Center in Nebraska.