Many voices in San Francisco have for the past year called on tech companies to become more engaged in their communities. Some companies have heeded the call, while others to this point have seemingly ignored it or participated at a level that was too low to be noticed.
At the same time, many companies have come under fire for gentrifying neighborhoods by paying high wages to young workers — some of whom live in The City but work for companies located in San Mateo or Santa Clara counties.
On Thursday, Google stepped up to take part in San Francisco. The tech company announced it is donating $6.8 million to fund free Muni rides for low- and moderate-income San Francisco youths for the next two years.
Cynics may argue that this is public-relations spin for Google, which has become the poster child for private tech shuttles and in turn a lightning rod for anti-tech sentiment.
But the people who are upset about the tech buses and who have called on tech companies to do more for The City cannot denounce them when companies do step forward. In this case, the company is funding a program that helps San Francisco children, especially those from less fortunate families, afford to ride Muni.
This step is not a cure-all for the housing problems facing San Francisco — and no single tech company could solve that problem, either — but it is a company stepping forward to do its part to help out in San Francisco.