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Zendesk Sponsors Next ImproveSF Challenge Aimed at Food Justice

June 18, 2012

Help desk company teams up with the online brainstorming platform to tackle the issue of storage and prep of fresh foods facing mid-Market residents

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – June 18, 2012 – Zendesk, the proven cloud-based help desk software provider, today announced that it will sponsor the June 14th challenge hosted by ImproveSF, an online social media platform that engages community problem solvers to help solve civic challenges. Zendesk’s participation in ImproveSF’s next challenge underscores the company’s commitment to revitalizing the mid-Market neighborhood where its headquarters are located.

The challenge sponsored by Zendesk poses the question: How can Central Market/Tenderloin residents store and prepare healthy food when their access to kitchen facilities is limited?

Many residents in the Central Market/Tenderloin neighborhood have limited access to kitchen facilities, preventing them from easily storing, preparing, or cooking fresh produce or meat. The limited access to a kitchen often reduces eating options to fast food outlets or processed food from a corner store. This has a real impact on the livelihood of Central Market residents:

    • An average life expectancy of 20 years lower than that of other San Francisco neighborhoods The highest rate of preventable emergency room visits in San Francisco
    • The highest rate of hospitalization due to congestive heart failure
    • Five times the citywide average for hospitalization due to uncontrolled diabetes
    • The second-highest ratio of fast food/convenience stores per produce outlet

(Reference: Community Health Assessment Reports 2006-2008)

ImproveSF invites users to submit problem-solving solutions to this challenge question between June 18th and July 20th. Participants will compete for two great prizes. Zendesk will offer one winner from the mid-Market community their “Dream Day in SF,” giving winners a full day of San Francisco-based activities of their choosing. Meanwhile, Hub Bay Area, which offers shared office space to social entrepreneurs, has included a Hub Mission membership, mentorship and other opportunities to transform a concept into a sustainable solution. Additionally, Zendesk has added rewards to the ImproveSF Civic Store, where participants can redeem participation points for voting and commenting on submissions.

“The ImproveSF challenge further cements our long-term commitment to help revitalize the mid-Market neighborhood,” said Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane. “We are big supporters of the ImproveSF platform and love that technology can play such an innovative role in how civic leaders and residents can solve city issues together.”
“Access to fresh, healthy food is a tremendous challenge in some of our neighborhoods, particularly for those most vulnerable in areas like Central Market and the Tenderloin,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “This ImproveSF challenge allows us to use innovation to focus resources and develop real solutions that we can use throughout the City.Zendesk has taken a leadership role in the Central Market neighborhood they now call home and co-sponsoring this new ImproveSF challenge.”

To learn more about the ImproveSF challnege, please visit:

Zendesk was one of the first technology companies to take advantage of a new tax incentive created to revitalize San Francisco’s mid-Market neighborhood. The company moved to the mid-Market area in August 2011, and since then has undertaken a number of initiatives to help invigorate the surrounding neighborhood that has suffered for decades from high vacancy rates, blight, and disinvestment.

About Zendesk

Zendesk is the leading provider of proven, cloud-based help desk software. For growing organizations, Zendesk is the fastest way to enable great customer service. More than 25,000 Zendesk customers, including Adobe, Sony, OpenTable and Groupon, trust Zendesk with their most valuable assets: their customers, partners, and employees. Founded in 2007, Zendesk is funded by Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners.

About ImproveSF

Launched in April 2012, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee launched ImproveSF, a civic engagement platform that asks residents to submit their solutions for San Francisco problems.

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