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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Corporate Philanthropy In Emeryville: A Great Hill of Beans

Emeryville's Businesses Care About Money,
Not Our Schools

What Kind of Businesses Does Emeryville Attract?
Greedy Ones

News Analysis
Emeryville is well known throughout the Bay Area as being foremost a business friendly town, a reputation that's been well earned over the years.  But civic boosters here, concerned about the optics of that lopsided message, have often attempted to draw a distinction between how well we've been able to leverage our businesses for community benefits received versus whatever virtues that may be garnered simply providing a good location for a host of corporate headquarters.  In this way, much has been made of the philanthropic generosity of Emeryville's business community, especially where monetary donations to our local public schools are concerned.
Last year once again, Pixar gave nothing to

the schools in Emeryville, their hometown.
$1.2 billion 2015 box office receipts = zero
for Emeryville's schools.  

Here at the Tattler, we have shown how this meme is not represented by reality and is more fiction postulated by the businesses themselves than fact.  Readers may remember our 2014 story about Pixar's miserly lack of corporate donations to our schools after a very public campaign of claims to the contrary in the lead up to and running concomitant with their major corporate campus expansion, begun in 2004.
In fact, that's been a repeating theme here in Emeryville; business will conspicuously donate to the schools when there is public exposure, especially when they are engaging in large and consequential building projects and need public support but when the need for that support ebbs, the philanthropy likewise ebbs albeit quietly.

A quick look at Emeryville top ten largest businesses is revealing.  Based on gross receipts, the metric the City uses for taxing purposes, the combined top 10 businesses monetary donations to Emeryville's schools last year amounted to zero.  The only Emeryville corporation that gave any money at all to our schools was Wareham Development, a business not in the top ten.  Wareham it should be noted, is exposed and in the public eye while they prepare to build the contentious 'Transit Center' on Horton Street.  Tellingly, Wareham last year gave the Emery School District $25,000 while they sought permission to build their project; a gift very much needed and appreciated by our schools.

The List of  Corporate Shame- What's in their eye is not about what they provide to the community, it's about what they extract from the community.  The following Emeryville corporations, our ten largest and most preeminent businesses, gave no money at all to Emeryville schools last year:
  1. Disney/Pixar, 1200 Park Avenue:   Zip to Emeryville Schools
  2. Berkeley Research, 2200 Powell Street:   Nil to Emeryville Schools
  3. Ikea, 4400 Shellmound Street:    Nada to Emeryville Schools
  4. Tubemogul, 1250 53rd Street:    Zilch to Emeryville Schools
  5. Home Depot, 3838 Hollis Street:   Scratch to Emeryville Schools
  6.  Plum Inc, 1485 Park Avenue:    Naught to Emeryville Schools
  7.  Griffols Diagnostics, 4510 Horton Street:  Nix to Emeryville Schools
  8. Gracenote Inc,  2000 Powell Street,   Shutout to Emeryville Schools
  9. Fantasy Junction, 1145 Park Avenue,  Nothing to Emeryville Schools
  10. Novartis Institute,  5300 Chiron Way,  Ought to Emeryville Schools
Don't Listen to the Hype
Look at the Hill

Here's how much Emeryville's business community 

cares about the children in our community.


  1. Wareham has a long history of supporting the schools and that should have been more prominent in the story. As for Pixar, they send an equally important resource to Emery Schools, people. Pixar employees have worked in classrooms and as mentors all last year. In August, I worked with about a dozen Pixar employees who volunteered to help set up the garden at the ECCL.
    I would like to thank Pixar and Wareham for what they do. I appreciate what they have done for Emery students and families.

    1. It's true that Wareham does give more to the schools than other businesses (we like that) but it's also true that Wareham is also more frequently needing to burnish their image owing to the near constant building of projects they keep needing approval for. The story makes that nexus clear I believe.
      And Pixar employees? Sounds like Pixar hires some very civically minded people. Good for them! But that's not what the story is about. It's about corporate philanthropy to the schools (or the lack of it rather), not employees that they have no control over. The area they DO have control over reveals a deep parsimoniousness to our schools with an overlay of BS claims to the contrary.

  2. Maybe the business community reads the Tattler:

    School District Fights Back: Superintendent They Say, Only Wasted About $79,000

    Emery School District Pays $1.1 Million Dollars for $481,000 of Services

    School Board President Defends Himself, Says Board Member Acted With 'Criminal Intent', President Affeldt Calls Colleague Board Member Patz a "Criminal"

    $5 Million Spent By School District To Inform But Ignorance Prevails: The Worst $5 Million Spent In Emeryville History

    Emery School District Botches 'Measure K' Parcel Tax Rollout, School District Plays it Fast and Loose With Measure K

    Secrecy Reigns at Emeryville's Dysfunctional School Board/District

    Disgraceful One Year Anniversary at School District

    Emery To Join Ranks Of "Worst Offender" Districts?

    Schools Superintendent Rubio Unilaterally Hands Over Sensitive Information on District Children

    Emery School District: 'We're Going to Cut Our Way to Excellence'

    School Board Member Alleges Possible Malfeasance at ECCL Donn Merriam Cries Foul on Turner Construction

    Alameda County Grand Jury Finds Emery Unified School District in Violation of Transparency Laws

    1. If you mean to say the business community views Emery Unified as a lost cause, you may have a point but that's hard to quantify. I like to think instead the business sector would wish to help out a struggling school district.

  3. You act as if charity is required. It is not. That's why it's called charity. The whole idea is that it's voluntary. Jeez talk about a tempest in a teapot. You're smearing a lot of fine people who give a lot to Emeryville. Funny thing; if you stop with so much over regulation from a government that can only take more, businesses will step up to the plate and help out. The idea of getting pleasure from giving goes out when the government is breathing down your neck.

    1. Thanks for revealing your political persuasion to the readers. The Tattler seems adept at drawing readers from a wide range of the political spectrum, certainly those of your ilk.

  4. Businesses do volunteer to EUSD. Pixar sent employees over to my child's class and they were wonderful. My company, Amyris, also has provided volunteers to schools. Cliff Bar has donated CLiff Bars and employee volunteers. When the teachers go out on their own and solicit help, the businesses respond. Herein lies the problem: The Emery Ed Fund destroyed a lot of the relationships between EUSD and the local businesses. (Where is the Ed Fund monies? How rich did all those administrators, Gooding, Simon, Dice et. al. get off of EEF? There's your story Brian. How nobody has ever looked into this is a mystery to me). I know for fact that the relationship between Amyris and EUSD was destroyed by EEF and has never really been mended since.
    There certainly is an opportunity here for our Superintendent to step in and be a hero. Currently there is no administration or organization that goes out and solicits the local businesses. Now that the ECCL is done maybe John Rubio can turn his focus onto rebuilding those relationships. He could really do a lot there and it would totally benefit our schools. Now that EEF is gone there needs to be an effective organization to liaison those relationships. I see a lot of positive changes at EUSD. The PTO is rocking again, there is some really cool things going on there. It's time to work hard on soliciting the businesses. It's really an untapped resource and a huge opportunity.

    1. Thanks for your comments. As to where the Emery Ed Fund (EEF) monies went, the Tattler IS looking into that. One problem with the investigation is Mr Rubio who, to use an expression that is if anything charitable to him, hasn't been helpful. Any solution to get the business community to start donating money to the schools in my opinion should of course not rely on John Gooding who ran EEF into the ground, or John Rubio, or indeed any single individual. The temptation for graft (has been and) would be great (presuming Emeryville businesses actually did start donating). I would really like to talk with you on this subject, please email me.

  5. I read that around 75% of the students in the Emery School District are actually residents from Oakland. Maybe you should list all of the Oakland businesses that don't contribute? I'm guessing the number that do is a big fat zero as well.

    1. You are correct: the Oakland business donations to Emery schools last year amounted to zero.