People gaze at adoptable kittens and puppies during the SFSPCA holiday window unveiling at Macy’s in Union Square on Nov. 17. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Holiday traditions celebrate the heart of The City

The holiday season has arrived. The SFSPCA kittens and puppies are up for adoption in Macy’s windows in Union Square, the Christmas tree at 555 California St. is lit, and the Westin St. Francis is dazzling with its holiday decor.

It’s a special time of year in San Francisco. We should all embrace the spirit of giving back and appreciating what defines what we love about The City. As we make decisions about our holiday shopping, it’s important to remember that supporting our local businesses helps preserve San Francisco’s character, supports neighborhood jobs and bolsters the economy. Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the more than 90,000 registered businesses that employ more than 326,000 local residents by stepping outside, exploring our neighborhood corridors and shopping local this holiday season.

It might seem like a small action to shop local rather than online, but the impacts are significant. A 1 percent increase in local spending generates an additional $100 million for our San Francisco economy, which funds vital city services. Studies show that shopping local creates 57 jobs for every $10 million in consumer spending. So think local when setting out for your annual holiday shopping.

Another holiday tradition for the Chamber of Commerce is our annual Holiday Hoops luncheon on Dec. 15 with the Golden State Warriors. Presenting sponsor Accenture will help us bring together business leaders, players, legends, coaches and fans of the team to commemorate the work being done by the Warriors Community Foundation and celebrate a team that binds the Bay Area together.

While the holidays are a time when we can focus on giving back to our community, the Warriors are committed to being strong corporate citizens year-round. At the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, we are proud that many companies, and many of our members, throughout the Bay Area act as such stellar examples of corporate social responsibility, but it is quite clear that a leader amongst them is the Warriors.

Through their devotion to both the Warriors Community Foundation and the NBA Season of Giving, the whole organization proves again and again their commitment to the communities surrounding the team’s home court. Even more special is the Warriors’ commitment to underserved youth in the Bay Area. Since its creation, the Warriors Foundation has donated more than 15,000 tickets to local schools and nonprofits so that they may share in the joy of Warriors home games, refurbished 60 local courts to create safe and clean places for basketball in low-income communities around the Bay Area, and given $5 million in grants to support educational equity in Alameda and San Francisco counties.   

As an organization that represents all verticals of business in the San Francisco community, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce places special value on our partnership with the Warriors for this simple reason. Not only is the team a vital part of our region’s cultural fabric, but their devotion to their community — from the players to the front office — is something worth celebrating.

We applaud our members for their many contributions to our city and wish you a healthy and prosperous holiday season.

Tallia Hart is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

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