Craigslist founder Craig Newmark committed himself to support the underprivileged of San Francisco when he arrived in the city 23 years ago, and now he's asking more companies to give back.
"I moved here in the middle of '93 — a good time to move here because it was just prior to the dotcom industry," Newmark said in an interview. "Now a lot of people can't afford to live here anymore. Restaurants and food [is] getting more expensive, housing is getting more expensive, and that concerns me. ... And that's why I'm inviting other people in tech to help out."
One of Newmark's earliest contributions was to St. Anthony's Foundation, which serves 2,400 hot meals daily to those in need, in addition to providing San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood with a medical clinic, free clothing and a technology lab.
Newmark played an "instrumental role" in creating the Tenderloin Tech Lab in 2008, spokesperson Anthony Singer said, and the Craigslist founder has been involved with the program ever since, even volunteering himself from time to time.
More than 100 people use the Tech Lab every day, Singer said, where they gain access to a variety of computer classes, one-on-one technology training, computer repair sessions, and other resources provided by tech companies, which include Twitter, Zendesk and Dolby.
"The resource that people seem to need the most is sometimes coaching in terms of creating a good resume, sometimes coaching when it comes to interviews. But in a way a lot of people just need the right nudge to see that on the internet, there's a lot of tools to help them get a job," Newmark said.
The tech industry can be especially discriminatory toward men and women over 40 who don't have work but who are looking for a job, Newmark said. He sees the Tech Lab as a resource for them to gain more skills and to build relationships with entrepreneurs and engineers who have succeeded in tech-based careers.