There's a rumor going around that Prince may have donated $34 million in July 2015 to The San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country that is dedicated to improving racial and economic equity in the Bay Area. Granted, we don't know this for sure, but Tamara Palmer, writing for SF Sounds, made a pretty convincing argument.
First of all, anyone willing and able to donate that large of a sum, definitely had to have a lot of money — which Prince did. We also know that Prince loved the Bay, especially Oakland. Not only did he play numerous shows here, as well as surprise performances, but some of his favorite people — namely Sheila E. and Steph Curry — are from Oakland, as well.
[jump] Prince's friend, CNN political commentator Van Jones, also made comments on the weekend of his passing hinting that the former pop icon had made charitable donations in some form to the city.
“He did not want it to be known publicly, but I’m going to say it because the world needs to know that it wasn’t just the music,” he said. “The music was one way he tried to help the world. But he was helping every day of his life. There are people who have solar panels on their houses right now in Oakland, California that they don’t know Prince paid for them.”
Though The San Francisco Foundation's press release stated that the anonymous donor is from the East Bay, Prince could have easily used that as a guise to hide his identity. Palmer also did some “obsessive scouring of Setlist.FM” and discovered that the singer was not on tour when the donation was made, making it more likely that he would have taken the time to make the call to the organization.
The San Francisco Foundation was founded in 1948 and gives about $90 million annually in grants to nonprofits across the Bay Area. The $34 million donation, the organization said, will be used to help Oakland create 731 new jobs and 2,502 new affordable housing units. Six million dollars will go specifically to Oakland public schools' early childhood education programs and to supporting African-American student achievement and adding community coordinators.
So is Mr. Nelson to thank for this hefty donation? Who knows? But, you know what? It doesn't hurt to think he did.