In an effort dubbed as “helping a city recover” SF Giants CEO Larry Baer and local area business leaders have joined forces to improve working and living conditions in San Francisco.
Larry Baer, CEO and president of the San Francisco Giants, is now co-chair of Advance SF, a new coalition of local businesses that plans to focus on recruiting businesses, arts organizations and non-profits to the area while simultaneously pushing for lower taxes and more business-friendly regulations.
Advance SF replaces the Committee for Jobs, which had a similar intent when it started but generally evolved into more of a traditional networking organization. In comparison, Advance SF is an entity that’s serious about encouraging the city to make improvements by strengthening its business community.
Joining Larry Baer in leadership roles in Advance SF include Lloyd Dean, CEO of CommonSpirit Health. Other members include executives from Pacific Gas and Electric, Uber, Gap Inc., Walgreens, Target, and Bank of America.
Representation from Target and Walgreens are especially welcome – both store chains have experienced large-scale thefts at many of their Bay Area locations, partly because of recent law enforcement policy changes that have resulted in less enforcement of smaller-level offenses and property crimes.
As part of the public announcement about Advance SF, Larry Baer said the group hopes to come up with a variety of policy initiatives and then encourage elected officials to vote for them. Initiative items include safety, downtown improvements, and general affordability. He and others think the city should place a larger focus on more affordable housing.
Adding more non-profits to the city could encourage more people with limited resources to come, and more arts organizations will make the city more attractive to people considering relocating and who already live here. Businesses considering moving to the area could also be influenced by affordable places to live, as well as quality jobs.
Certainly, some of these items have been on civic wish lists for years, but the last few years have made conditions even more challenging for businesses and residents.
COVID shut down many companies, and some never opened their doors, leading to high unemployment. Others that stayed open switched to a work-from-home format, leading to many empty or less populated buildings, especially in the downtown area.
This created a ripple effect, with many businesses who depend on these workers having to shut down as well. Public transit is also seeing fewer riders since many commuters are staying at home due to unemployment or telecommuting.
These dire situations also have created less interest in government and a decrease in general civic support and volunteerism. Fewer city workers have also led to a decline in overall maintenance.
Larry Baer has been a supporter of San Francisco even longer than he’s been part of the Giants organization. He attended Lowell High School and University of California, Berkeley. He became marketing director of the Giants in 1980, left to study at Harvard Business School and work at Westinghouse Broadcasting.
When past team owners considered moving the team to Florida, Larry Baer put together a new ownership group that was able to keep the team in town. He later worked as chief assistant to Giants CEO Peter Magowan and had a role in developing a new park for the team in the mid-1990s.
He was chosen as club present in 2008 and became CEO in 2012. He’s also a board member of the San Jose Giants, the team’s minor league affiliate.
Along with his baseball and civic duties, Larry Baer is considered a philanthropist and has been recognized for his role in supporting community projects, including the Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League and a Civic Leadership Award from the American Jewish Committee San Francisco.
He’s also a member of the board of trustees of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Pacific Region.