200+ San Francisco office workers volunteer to clean up downtown

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Friday, May 3, 2024
200+ SF office workers volunteer to clean up downtown
More than 200 employees from five major companies in Downtown San Francisco joined forces to give back to the city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 200 employees from five major companies in Downtown San Francisco joined forces to give back to the city.

"This is our home and people take care of their home. We want to ensure that the neighborhoods that our employees are living in, working -- and the places people are coming to visit -- are gleaming," said Worku Gachou with VISA.

Several months ago, executives from Chase, Gap, Wells Fargo, Levi Strauss and Visa got together to come up with ideas to revitalize downtown San Francisco.

They formed the Downtown Volunteer Coalition and Thursday's first volunteering event is the outcome of that meeting.

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"We had a brainstorm saying, 'Well, what if we start small with a joint volunteering event' and here we are three months later making it happen," said Daniel Fibiger with Gap. "Our hope on behalf of Gap and the coalition itself is that this grows not only from the five founding companies, but that we grow to 10,15, 20, 25 and every quarter."

Employees traded laptops and in-office meetings for safety vests, gloves and trash bags. The nonprofit leading them is HandsOn Bay Area.

"They are going to be picking trash in all the streets in downtown. We also have a group of people who is going to go to the park over there and another group going to a park in Rincon Hill, cleaning graffiti," said Lou Reda with HandsOn Bay Area.

San Francisco has been pushing for workers to also come back to the office. The city's vacancy rate set a record, hitting over 36% this year, according to preliminary data from real estate brokerage CBRE.

Sarah Dennis Phillips, the executive director for the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said their efforts are working.

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"By summer this year, we would have opened almost 40 new storefronts and that is really exciting. We opened another 100 more ground floor businesses in storefronts across the city through our grants programs and leasing specialists. We are seeing up to 700 businesses a month open in San Francisco across the retail and corporate sector," Phillips said.

These companies are taking a stance in their committed to the city.

"We are back in the office, and we just want to show our support and hopefully lead by example," said Dan Schrauth with JP Morgan Chase.

These companies are planning the next volunteering events, hoping for more companies join them.

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