Last week I attended a homeless walk in Los Angeles. The idea of the walk was to raise funds for organizations that provide homeless services and to raise awareness about homelessness. During the walk I saw groups of people from all sorts of corporations such as Wells Fargo, KPMG, and AT&T. What I didn’t see were any homeless people.
I get that corporate donations are really just marketing opportunities. I’m not naive to the quid pro quo, nor do I fault any non-profit organizations raising funds for playing ball to get the funds they need. But I couldn’t help but be struck, in a bad way, by a group of AT&T employees marching in front of me with big, bright orange company t-shirts.
I don’t watch TV, I don’t even have cable. All the shows I watch are on Hulu. Before any show begins a message comes up stating “This show is sponsored by” such and such a company. In America, we’re good at commodifying anything and everything. Indeed last weekend, homelessness was sponsored by AT&T.