The future of Bird scooters in Santa Monica may be uncertain but the scooter company recently made a move to ensure local students’ futures are anything but by donating a matching grant of $50,000 to a local organization.
On Monday, August 20, the Santa Monica Education Foundation announced that Bird launched a matching grant program with the Ed Foundation. The program stipulates that Bird will match all donations to the organization for up to $50,000 until September 4.
“What an incredible way to start the school year,” Linda Greenberg, Executive Director of the Ed Foundation said. “We are grateful for [Bird’s] philanthropic leadership and inspiring dedication to our Santa Monica students.”
Funds from the grant as well as monies that the organization raises go towards many programs throughout the Santa Monica school district ranging from elementary school arts programs, ballroom dance classes, instructional aide, and creative grants that schools spend as they wish.
“Santa Monica is Bird’s hometown, which means we care deeply for its well-being both now and into the future,” Carl Hansen, Director of Government Affairs said in a press release. “We are proud to offer this match so that the thousands of students impacted by the Ed Foundation can have access to critical education programs. Bird hopes this investment will encourage fellow community members to join us in ensuring all students in Santa Monica experience an enriching education.”
Earlier this month, a key committee did not endorse Bird as one of the four companies to operate shared electric scooters as part of an official pilot. The committee recommended giving contracts to ridesharing giants Lyft and Uber instead. Planning Director David Martin is expected to announce whether Bird will be allowed to stay by the end of the month.
While some might see the matching grant donation as a cynical PR move to save face with the City, Bird’s philanthropic efforts with the Ed Foundation predate the committee pilot endorsement and last week’s Save the Birds rally.
Additionally, Bird has previously supported local groups such as Safe Place for Youth (SPY) and surrounding community events, including LA Pride and Venice Pride.
Ann Conkle, Communications and Events Manager for the Ed Foundation told the Daily Press that Bird donated $11,500 to the organization last year, calling Bird “very agreeable” and “happy to help”.
“I always make the assumption that people want to give and support people in the community,” Conkle said. “They’re the new company in town and they’re someone willing to donate. We don’t take political stands; we’re just appreciative that they want to support education and support our kids.”
Bird will be matching donations to the Ed foundation until September 4th. For more information, visit https://www.smedfoundation.org/