Apple has donated half a million dollars to a San Francisco anti-poverty initiative. The donation, as reported by Fortune, to the SF Gives charity, joins similar donations from other leading Silicon Valley firms like Google and LinkedIn. Apple, like late co-founder Steve Jobs, has been famously quiet about their charitable donations, though they’ve been opening up under current CEO Tim Cook.
Unlike (Product) Red’s global ambitions, SF Gives is much more focused on the San Francisco region, and is aiming to raise $10 million through contributions from 20 local businesses of just $500,000 each — a drop in the bucket for the likes of Apple.
The arrival of an initiative like SF Gives comes at a precarious time for Silicon Valley. Critics of the thriving tech industry have blamed companies for a meteoric rise in rents and increased evictions. In recent months, protesters have blocked Google’s employee commuter buses, held a rally at the annual Crunchies tech awards gala, and stood outside the San Francisco home of Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose, distributing flyers and holding signs maligning Rose as a “parasite” and “leech.” Many people also complain about the tech industry’s limited track record in philanthropy, despite the huge profits generated by some of its biggest names.
Apple’s charitable givings have been become more public recently, though they still tend to play their cards close to their vest — Fortune had to cite “sources close to the matter”. In 2011, Apple launched a charitable donations matching program for their employees, as well as donating more than $70 million to AID research through (Product) Red.