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Calif. billionaire creates San Francisco PD charity, donates $1M for officer wellness initiatives

Each of the SFPD’s 10 districts will receive $100,000 from Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen to spend on equipment or programs to aid in officer wellness and community outreach

San Francisco Police

AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

By Joanna Putman

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Police Department is set to receive a substantial donation of $1 million from a California-based billionaire through the newly established San Francisco Police Community Foundation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

This funding, provided by Chris Larsen, a co-founder of the crypto company Ripple, is earmarked to enhance police officer wellness and support community engagement initiatives, according to the report. Each of the department’s 10 district stations will receive $100,000 to spend on equipment or programs that foster these goals.

The funds are not intended for weapons and must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and the Police Commission for any expenditure exceeding $10,000, according to the report. The foundation’s board, comprising leaders from local nonprofits and businesses, will oversee the distribution and use of the funds.

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Larsen, who has been a significant donor to police and public safety projects, aims to streamline the process of acquiring resources that improve the relationship between the police and the community, according to the report.

“The city has a big budget, but just getting a small amount of that budget for something that will bring the police together with the community can just be incredibly bureaucratic and hard,” Larsen told the Chronicle. “This can shorten that process to get things going. And that’s good for everybody.”

Ideas for utilizing the funds vary widely, from supporting the annual Christmas toy drive and therapeutic ice bath sessions, to purchasing a large barbecue pit trailer for community events, according to the report. Each station is encouraged to submit an itemized wish list by the end of July, with the flexibility to reserve some funds for future use.

San Francisco Police Commissioner Max Carter-Oberstone emphasized that any donations would be carefully scrutinized for potential conflicts of interest and overall legitimacy before approval, according to the report.

“The hope here is this starts looking successful, improving public safety and community outreach, and then other philanthropists start contributing to it, as well as other companies that have a stake,” Larsen said. “Because that’s good for everybody. That’s ultimately how this has to work.”