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The Importance of Giving Back in your own Backyard

PUBLISHED: Mar 06, 2019

2020 Update: Daniel Lurie is the founder and Board Chair of Tipping Point Community. Read the founding story here.

I started Tipping Point Community almost 14 years ago with the goal of creating more opportunity for the 1.7 million people who are too poor to meet their basic needs in the Bay Area. Since then, we’ve invested almost a quarter of a billion dollars in the most promising programs and policies to break the cycle of poverty in the region. In the last year alone, we helped 21,000 people get on a path out of poverty–for details check out our Impact Report.

But despite those numbers, we know two truths: we know poverty is preventable, and yet we need to do so much more. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 1 in 3 people in the Bay Area are too poor to meet their basic needs.
  • Today, it takes five minimum wage jobs in our region to make ends meet.
  • Over the past eight years, the Bay Area has added 750,000 jobs, but only 167,000 homes.

The inequality gap has widened over the last few years. Things are getting worse for our neighbors, and more vulnerable families are falling into poverty. That’s why we need everyone who can, to step up, and step up big.

I’ve been heartened by recent moves in the business sector to invest in local solutions to our community’s greatest challenges. Airbnb and Twilio just last month announced a joint investment in Rising Up, a campaign led by the City of San Francisco in partnership with Larkin Street Youth Services to reduce youth homelessness in the City by 50%. And earlier this month, San Francisco-based cloud service provider Okta announced a $500,000 gift to support Tipping Point grantees, in addition to providing free meeting space to community-based groups and internships for local students.

And just this week, Ripple announced that it’s investing $1 million in Tipping Point over the next five years. 100% of those funds will go directly to poverty-fighting efforts in our portfolio areas of early childhood, education, employment, and housing. Ripple also announced a two-to-one matching program for its employees who donate to Tipping Point and will offer learning opportunities about community issues to spur employee volunteerism.

For a company of its size, Ripple is setting the tone early that community investment is critical to its success by investing resources and time. This kind of leadership and commitment to the community where a business lives, works, and plays is what we should be seeing from every company, no matter how big, small, young, or old. And it’s what we need to improve the quality of life for all of us.

What makes this region so special is our capacity to be forward-thinking, inventive, and inclusive. And while the statistics are daunting – it’s the action taken by Ripple and other corporate leaders that gives me hope that we can create a San Francisco Bay Area that reflects our aspirational values.

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