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Google and Other Tech Companies Need Lessons in Local Philanthropy

Google employees board a bus in San Francisco to the company's campus in Mountain View, Calif.
Google employees board a bus in San Francisco to the company's campus in Mountain View, Calif.Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Google and some of its Silicon Valley corporate neighbors are under attack from San Francisco residents who feel these companies are responsible for many of the city’s problems and are apathetic about solving them. In protest, some residents have barricaded Google buses, confronted Google employees and staged sit-ins in front of their managers’ homes.

This should be a wake-up call to large corporations that have cut back community support, thinking it doesn’t matter. Over the past three decades, U.S. corporations have drastically curtailed charitable giving. In 1986 the average corporation donated the equivalent of 2.1 percent of its profits to charitable causes. By 2012, that had dropped to just 0.8 percent.