More than 100 Veritas Investments staff members swarmed San Francisco’s Mission District on August 22 for the company’s annual volunteer day, picking up dozens of bags of trash, not counting what they dumped in trash cans.
“We come together today as a company to work together for the common good of this beautiful neighborhood,” said Veritas founder and CEO Yat-Pang Au in a pep talk to start the day in sun-dappled Dolores Park. Au reminisced about when he bought his first building just blocks away, noting that the park was a family destination.
Au also announced the creation of Veritas Spark to formalize the company’s charitable efforts. “We chose the word ‘spark’ because it represents change. One small spark can ignite a wave of positive change,” he said.
Armed with trash pickers, orange bags and blue gloves to match their teal “Veritas Spark” T-shirts, the group broke into 10 teams to spiff up the area bounded by 15th and 24th streets and Dolores Street and Potrero Avenue.
The Veritas team was the largest of its kind to date, said Jeff Winkle, an organizer of The Clean Mission, which organizes such clean-ups around the City. Everything — except dangerous items — was fair game for the clean-up, and everything else was out there. One group found the leg for a mattress frame; another scored big: an entire mattress.
In the end, Winkle reported that 3,587 gallons of trash vanished from the streets of the Mission, thanks to Veritas Spark.
“It’s awesome,” said Diana Sonn, who lives on 15th, as she watched the Veritas staff at work. “You don’t want to live in filth.”
Giving back to the community has been a core value for Veritas, Au mused as he scooped up a pair of pants discarded in the middle of Dolores, about three blocks from where he acquired a building in 2007. The firm is now one of the largest apartment companies in the city.
“This means giving back to the unique and diverse neighborhoods where we live and work. It also means supporting the people who make the city so unique and diverse,” he said. This year alone, the company’s Spark campaign has:
- Supported the American Red Cross’s Home Fire Safety campaign with our time and donation to the “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” program.
- Embraced LGBTQ diversity and history with the reinstatement of 324 Larkin Street as the Rainbow Flag Apartments.
- Supported important cancer research of the City of Hope.
- Purchased and packaged hygiene kits for at risk-youth at the Larkin Street Youth Foundation.
- Made Clothing donations to Casa de las Madres and Larkin Street.
- Dished up monthly lunches at St Vincent’s.
“This is what a caring-company does,” Au said. “And this company really cares.”