It was around the same time that Simply the Basics was provided with donated space in Hosteling International (in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco), that Reddit moved their headquarters only one block away. The Tenderloin is a vibrant and historical area of San Francisco, home to the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT), the Great American Music Hall, and home to the "White Walls" gallery and murals that will put most walking tours to shame. All of these features are often missed by San Franciscans as they walk around the Tenderloin due to its reputation of being unsafe or unclean. Only does the occasional tour bus come through, and even then people are disconnected from the community that is there.
Simply the Basics hosted our launch party in the Tenderloin intentionally – it was a way for our attendees to be reminded of the community we serve and live in, but also to provide for the community. We provide a service for those experiencing homelessness, and the majority of them in San Francisco are staying in this very district (6).
It is not news-worthy to have a booming tech company move their headquarters into the area. Twitter moved into Tenderloin a few years ago, Dolby is nearby, and even Square has a space on Market Street. It is also not new for these companies to volunteer or support a nonprofit nearby, in fact the most common question asked at a nonprofit board meeting is “How do we get support from tech? They have so much money – and they are right here!”
What makes the support of Reddit to Simply the Basics so unique is that they chose Simply the Basics at all – reflective of their willingness to support innovation before evidence, as well as paying homage to their own startup/grassroots beginning. You see, the challenge with founding a nonprofit is that companies/people rarely want to provide financial support to an “idea”, no matter how good, if there is no chance of a financial return (by definition, an individual cannot have ownership in a nonprofit). We constantly hear stories about the guy that pitched a VC executive on a hotel bar napkin and received millions; ever heard of the nonprofit startup that received millions on a bar napkin? Me neither…
Reddit joined Simply the Basics as a corporate group to volunteer, packing over 300 hygiene kits. We learned that everyone is feeling the same hope for providing dignity to the community. While Reddit could simply send volunteers, what we really need is funding so that we could ensure we always had products – not just any products – but products that significantly improve the physical health and dignity of the community.
More than that, Reddit hosts Simply the Basics' community events, opening their own offices to us. Additionally, they have an ongoing hygiene drives so that employees can provide products, and every other month you will find the team working to pack hygiene kits.
Thanks to Reddit's support, Simply the Basics can now provide over 5,000 additional completed hygiene kits to people in need!
Thank you to the entire Reddit team for being such an incredible neighbor to Simply the Bascis!