This blog provides me with an opportunity to share my thoughts directly with you about timely matters that are absolutely critical to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s mission. Often times I focus on a piece of pending legislation that can impact San Francisco’s business climate, other times I may tout Bay Area attributes that make it such an enviable place to do business, while other times I highlight important events, programs and initiatives that boost business and economic success. In this edition, I’m not getting away from that format; however, if you sense today’s How We See It is both business and personal, that’s because it is.
As some of you may know, Jennifer Matz – our friend whose name is synonymous with San Francisco economic development, was diagnosed last November with pancreatic cancer. Jennifer, of course, is the omnipresent figure associated with a countless number of our city’s most far-reaching programs — initiatives that would not have become reality without her dedication, energy and commitment to working with communities to promote investment, innovation and business growth.
Even though this is my blog, they tell me I am limited on my number of words. Nonetheless, a snapshot of her accomplishments to-date include: negotiating the Pier 70 development agreement with Forest City, gaining passage of the City’s job generating tax credit ordinance, working with the Chamber on our successful ChinaSF program, creating and implementing the ten-part local economic development stimulus plan and managing the creation of the citywide Tourism Improvement District. But, as they say, the best is yet to come.
After taking six months away from her post as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to focus on treatments aiding her fight against this disease, Jennifer returned to work earlier this year to focus her energy on helping the Warriors build an arena in Mission Bay – a state-of-the-art arena and entertainment venue that builds off the city’s efforts to revitalize the waterfront. We can’t think of anyone more suited for that crucial role.
Jennifer’s fight for a cure for pancreatic cancer endures, as well. In fact, she is the inspiration for a September 7 fundraising event – the “Giant Race” – benefitting the UCSF Pancreas Center, which includes runs, a bay swim and a bike ride to Mount Tamalpais. According to the San Francisco Business Times, more than 260 people have already signed on for the event raising about $140,000 of the fundraising goal of $250,000. (By the way, take a look at the August 15th Business Times cover story on Jennifer.)
As mentioned above, this issue is one that touches home with the women and men of the Chamber. As many of you know, John Legnitto – the Chamber’s former Chairman of the Board and someone who truly was part of the fabric of the San Francisco community – passed away earlier this year of pancreatic cancer. We know John would have been among the first to support this cause – and he and his family would undoubtedly encourage your support and/or participation in the September 7 event.
Jennifer has beaten the odds time and again in her career. We need Jennifer to win her fight against cancer and, on September 7, Jennifer needs us. To learn how you can sign up or donate to this important cause, please go to www.racewithjennifer.org.