San Francisco: The City with Heart. That’s the theme we will celebrate at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat Breakfast on March 16. The CityBeat breakfast is the Chamber’s largest annual event, bringing together 1,000 of the Bay Area’s top business and civic leaders to apply fresh thinking to some of The City’s greatest economic challenges.
We use the term heart frequently, but we seldom stop to ask what heart really means and where it comes from.
Part of that heart comes from the drive to share our economic prosperity through philanthropy, and San Francisco is home to businesses that are creating a culture of giving back by donating money, time and resources.
This year’s CityBeat keynote speaker is a major influence in the Bay Area’s culture of giving. Daniel Lurie is founder and CEO of Tipping Point Community, the nonprofit committed to ending poverty in the Bay Area. It’s a momentous task, as 1.3 million people in the Bay Area are too poor to meet their basic needs. But they are making headway.
Since 2005, Tipping Point has raised more than $100 million to educate, employ, house and support more than 600,000 people. So leave it to Lurie, who served as the Chairman of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, to launch an initiative to make Super Bowl 50 the most philanthropic Super Bowl ever. While the historic NFL championship welcomed thousands of visitors to enjoy the beauty and culture of our region, it also made a lasting impact beyond just a weeklong party. Poised to donate $13 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area through its “50 Fund,” Lurie hopes to make global sporting events a platform for philanthropic giving.
We will also recognize John Martin, who after 20 years at the helm of San Francisco International Airport — the nation’s 7th busiest airport — will retire this summer. Martin has provided unparalleled leadership running SFO, supporting business, tourism and the 48 million passengers who use SFO every year. Last year was the fifth consecutive year for record setting traffic at SFO, and Martin has been key to supporting the vitality of the region.
There is no question San Francisco is experiencing a time of unprecedented growth. I look out my office window, and several cranes are lifting steel to build a new high rise next door. A short walk South of Market and I’m in awe as the Transbay Terminal begins to take shape. All of this development infuses our economy with jobs, creates more housing and fuels our economic engine. With unemployment at an all-time low and tens of thousands of new jobs in the region, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who is giving San Francisco their heart.
But while certain industries are soaring, income inequality is also growing. Some of those effects will be reflected when we reveal the results of the highly anticipated annual Dignity Health CityBeat voter poll, which surveyed 500 San Franciscans on a wide range of city issues including homelessness, transportation and quality of life. We’ll explore what makes voters continue to love this great city and where we need to dig deep and do even more.
The Chamber of Commerce is engaged in discussions about The City’s future, supporting strategies to fund affordable housing, improve transit and expand educational opportunities.
We are committed to ensuring the economy grows in ways that strengthen our industries through advocacy, economic development and business development. A strong economy creates wealth that allows our residents to support public facilities, services and the quality of life that makes San Francisco unique.
Bob Linscheid is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.