San FranciscoTech

Startups Hold ‘Clean Dolores Park Day’…But Did Anyone Show Up?

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On Sunday, August 2, the San Francisco tech community attempted to make amends for the disastrous press they received last week from the mess left behind during a startup’s confetti filled party at Dolores Park. The official Facebook event was titled, ‘Startups Clean Dolores Park, and was intended for those within the tech community to “scour the grass for trash, bottle caps, and any other garbage, and deposit it where it belongs.”

 The event was organized by Josh Constine, senior writer for TechCrunch, who has a history of valiant efforts to dispute the negative press the tech community receives through his past positive volunteer work in the Mission.

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“When something bad happens we need to look at what we can do to fix it rather than what can we do to blame the person that did it,” said Constine. “We’re going to try to do these each season and the startups that came out today want to become even more involved.”

“The tech community is extremely diverse and even though there are bad apples, we need to step up and show this community that we really do care.”

 Unfortunately for him, it seems to be a losing battle. Each year the tech community provides new reasons for it’s lack of concern for the local community and any citizens that work outside of their industry.

When I went to checkout this noble volunteer effort, I could only find a small handful of citizens, championing on behalf of the rest of the startup community. Though, the last time we checked, there were much more than 20 individuals that work in tech and live in San Francisco. So, where was everyone else?

There’s no need to rehash old controversies, such as the fleet of Facebook, Box and Google buses that transport techies in and out of the city throughout the week. For some reason these buses weren’t around to drop anyone off at the park to volunteer that day.

Vice versa, this article is not meant to wag the continuous middle finger at the tech industry for failing the local community once again, with what could have been just a small investment of time for greater redemption. There’s no need to celebrate these continued wrong doings.  It’s a much more productive use of all our voices to begin rallying behind the few within the tech community that actually care. Taking the time to physically help your local community is something of true worth. These types of individuals are few but they do exist.

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The old employees from Twice, the startup that caused the original mess,  showed incredible remorse working tirelessly from the early morning and well into the late afternoon providing extra cleaning supplies and coffee for those who showed up to assist. They also pulled together dozens of trash bags filled with leftover litter and bottle caps from all parts of Dolores Park.

I managed to catch up with Eileen Carey, Co-founder & CEO at Glassbreakers, as she was also volunteering to assist in the clean up that day. “I wish the tech community participated in more events like these. There is a real lack of philanthropy in startup culture, said Carey. “We can’t make the world a better place through technology if we aren’t investing our time volunteering for causes outside of work.”

For all the branded startup t-shirts that flood Valencia Street and Dolores park every weekend, barely any of them were seen helping out their fellow tech members such as Constine and Carey. The next time a few members from your industry are assembling to make a positive contribution to the local community, maybe try delaying your Sunday brunch for 30 minutes to help.

A message to startups:  
It’s great when your company has a volunteer outing or donates money but what are you doing on an individual basis, outside of work? Here are just a few places to visit for those seeking to make a positive impact;

http://sfbay.onebrick.org/

http://www.homeaway.org/

http://www.projecthomelessconnect.org/volunteer/

http://www.sfmfoodbank.org/

http://www.futures-explored.org/

Volunteer for Broke-Ass Stuart Mayoral Campaign! http://www.brokeassmayor.com/volunteer

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David Sikorski

David Sikorski

San Francisco-based writer covering culture, music and everything this beautiful world has to offer. And yes, I am the guy that got engaged to a burrito.