article by Katie Dowd via sfgate.com
In the days since the death of music legend Prince, stories of his secret, wide-ranging philanthropy efforts are finally being told. Two of Prince’s major charitable endeavors were centered in the Bay Area: bringing solar panels to Oakland and helping young people of color learn how to code.
In an interview with CNN, political activist Van Jones revealed that, while he was the face of environmental group Green For All, Prince was the driving force and checkbook.
“There are people who have solar panels right now on their houses in Oakland, California that don’t know Prince paid for them,” Jones said.
But that wasn’t all. Prince also helped found #YesWeCode, an initiative to help young people from “low opportunity backgrounds” learn the necessary skills for jobs in the tech sector. “He insisted we create ‘Yes We Code,'” Jones told USA Today, “so that kids in hoodies could be mistaken for kids in Silicon Valley.”
In fact, Jones says that concerts in Oakland (and other cities) were a “cover” so he could visit and check in on charitable organizations and local community groups.
“He did not want it be known publicly, and he did not want us to say it. But I’m gonna say it because the world needs to know that it wasn’t just the music,” Jones said. “The music was just one way he tried to help the world, but he was helping every day of his life.”