- $US9 billion payments company Stripe has made a $US1 million donation to California YIMBY, a pro-housing development advocacy group.
- Stripe says it’s because it’s fed up with the San Francisco housing crisis, in which the city is becoming extremely unaffordable for all but the most wealthy.
- Now, Stripe is actively pushing for housing policy reform.
Stripe, the $US9 billion payments startup, is fed up with the housing crisis in its hometown of San Francisco.So the company is putting its money where its mouth is, as Stripe announces on Thursday a $US1 million one-time donation to California YIMBY: A local political advocacy group that’s pushing to overturn decades of policy and bring high-density housing to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stripe is taking a slightly different tack here than many of its peers in the tech industry. While companies like Cisco have tackled the housing crisis by working with local nonprofits and other organisations,Stripe’s donation to a pro-housing advocacy group indicates that it’s willing to take a stronger political stance on the housing crisis.
“The dearth of available and affordable housing is a significant barrier to the Bay Area’s economic progress,” said Stripe CEO Patrick Collison in a press release. “We’re making this contribution to California YIMBY because we think broad policy change will make the most meaningful, widespread, and long-term difference in the state’s housing crisis, by allowing developers to build more housing – specifically lower-cost, higher-density housing.”
Indeed, YIMBY stands for “Yes In My Backyard” – a pro-development rallying cry, and a rebuke to what critics have long seen as a “not in my backyard,” or NIMBY, attitude taken by many city officials and its more powerful residents. However, some San Francisco civic leaders regard California YIMBY as naive, or as advocates for unchecked gentrification.
Stripe’s move comes as the San Francisco Bay Area housing crisis only intensifies. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, if you want a median-priced home in San Francisco, you need to make at least $US173,783 a year.
That’s unattainable for many, and it’s led to extraordinary circumstances as living in the city becomes increasingly unaffordable. Some San Francisco city teachers, for example, are opting to live in shared dorms; many more people are simply opting to leave.
As of the end of 2017, Stripe employed about 1,000 people, most of whom are based in San Francisco. Stripe cofounders Patrick Collison and his brother John – the CEO and president of Stripe, respectively – moved to California in 2010 to grow the company.
In the press release, Patrick Collison says that donating to increase housing development in the Bay Area is in tune both with Stripe’s mission, which is to help people start internet businesses, as well as his own story as an immigrant.
“Closer to home, we want California to remain a land of opportunity: a place where hardworking people of all backgrounds can come to pursue new jobs, start new businesses, and create better lives for their families.”
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