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Indybay Feature
Zendesk and Organizations from Mid-Market & Tenderloin Join in Community Benefits Agreemen
by Denise Lamott Public Relations
Wednesday Feb 8th, 2012 2:34 PM
The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) is pleased to announce that Zendesk and the City and County of San Francisco, under the guidance of the Tenderloin and Central Market Street Citizens Advisory Committee have reached an important agreement that will help local businesses thrive in San Francisco while, at the same time, provide the mid-Market neighborhood with tangible opportunities and resources.
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The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) is pleased to announce that Zendesk and the City and County of San Francisco, under the guidance of the Tenderloin and Central Market Street Citizens Advisory Committee have reached an important agreement that will help local businesses thrive in San Francisco while, at the same time, provide the mid-Market neighborhood with tangible opportunities and resources. The Community Benefit Agreement offers a payroll expense tax exclusion to Zendesk in exchange for a commitment to help revitalization efforts in the mid-Market neighborhood.



“We appreciate Zendesk’s proactive efforts to be a great neighbor,” said Don Falk, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing and one of the organizations represented on the Citizens Advisory Committee, which helped facilitate the agreement between the City and Zendesk. “With their commitment to return 30% of the payroll tax benefit to the community, they have set a high bar for future CBA’s. Their spirit and commitment to being a real part of this community will strengthen us as we work together to move our community forward. This culminates nearly a year of effort under the leadership of Supervisor Kim and Mayor Lee, and represents tangible benefits that will impact Tenderloin and Central Market residents.” 



Launched in 2007, San Francisco-based Zendesk, a technology company providing cloud-based help desk software with more than 100 employees, recently relocated its headquarters to 6th and Market streets. The move will allow the company to add another 96 jobs in 2012. Zendesk is the first company to draft its community benefits agreement, a required piece of the payroll tax exemption application process. The agreement must be fulfilled within a year of its signing. 



The Community Benefit Agreement concept was conceived by Supervisor Jane Kim’s office with TNDC to encourage homegrown San Francisco companies to remain in the city while they expand. Under the agreement with the City, companies that choose to relocate offices and headquarters to the Central Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods can receive payroll expense tax breaks in exchange for committing to actively engage in improving the neighborhood. 



Under Zendesk’s agreement, the company proactively chose to invest its 30 percent tax reduction back into the community through a variety of programs and policies that are aimed at helping the neighborhood become healthier and economically viable. Zendesk is particularly focused on food justice issues – and will help to develop new food businesses and policies in the neighborhood. This will include working with the Episcopal Community Services’ C.H.E.F.S. program to develop workshops and demonstrations for students; contributing volunteer hours and money to the local community garden; hosting business functions at local restaurants and bars; and hiring local businesses to provide various services, including catering, for the company.



In addition, Zendesk will utilize its own expertise to create an online help resource center for residents of mid-Market. The online help center will publicize events in the mid-Market area, offer a continually updated list of resources for residents, and allow for residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses to quickly and effectively distribute information to clients, customers and employees. 



ABOUT Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC)

Founded in 1981, TNDC’s mission is to provide safe, affordable housing with support services for low-income people in the Tenderloin community and be a leader in making the neighborhood a better place to live. TNDC owns and manages 30 buildings that provide homes for over 3,000 extremely low-income seniors, families, people with disabilities, emancipated youth from the foster care system, and formerly homeless individuals recovering from substance abuse or mental illness. In addition, TNDC provides support services to help residents stabilize their lives and develop a sense of community, including a team of 25 on-site social workers, the free TNDC Tenderloin After-School Program for neighborhood children, and a Community Organizing program to encourage residents to get involved in making positive change in the Tenderloin. More information about TNDC and its programs can be found at http://www.tndc.org.