Chris Larsen, co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, has partnered with the city of San Francisco to personally donate $1.7 million toward a new nonprofit to help small businesses recover from the pandemic.
The “Avenue Greenlight” project invites additional funding from individuals and philanthropic groups to spread the grant funds to San Francisco’s 34 different merchant associations in downtrodden zones, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a Wednesday press release.
Each association will receive $50,000 in the coming months to improve the safety, cleanliness and beauty of different sections of the city, the release said.
Specific improvements will include new community cameras, safety ambassadors, lighting and crosswalk markings. The grants will beautify the city with enhanced sidewalk cleaning and modernized trash receptacles, and the expansion of public open space, small parks and public art installations, according to the release.
The Castro, Bayview, Chinatown and Clement Street districts will be the first areas to receive funding, with the San Francisco Council of District merchants Associations Community Fund guiding each merchant association in developing local projects and spending plans.
“Our neighborhoods are not created equal and many suffer from systematic barriers and underrepresentation,” Larsen said in the release.
“Getting through this pandemic is going to take all of us working together, and Chris Larsen’s commitment to this city we all love serves as a great example for others to follow,” Breed said in the release.
In recent months, San Francisco has received funding from other private sources to benefit small businesses. Over the last year the city has directed more than $24 million in grants and loans to support more than 1,200 small businesses, the release said. The city has a $62 million plan overall to provide ongoing support to small businesses.
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