• Posted on: May 13, 2011

The Clorox Company

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In May of 1913, five entrepreneurs from Oakland, CA. agreed to pay $100.00 apiece to set up America’s first commercial-scale liquid factory. Their plan was to convert brine that was abundant in the near by salt pond of San Francisco into sodium hypochlorite bleach. By August of that same year the company acquired a plant site in Oakland that cost them $3,000. An engineer for an equipment supplier, Abel M. Hamblet, suggested the name for the new product; a combination of the words “chlorine” and “sodium hydroxide” which was the bleach’s active ingredients. Hamblet also sketched the design that became the Company’s logo from then on.

Effective advertising and a dozen new plants over the course of 23 years enabled the Clorox chemical company to garner the largest share of the U.S. household bleach market in the mid 1950’s. The Clorox success attracted a buyer, the well-known Proctor & Gamble Company. The sale was completed in August of 1957. Within three months, the federal trade commission challenged the acquisition threatened by the monopoly of household liquid bleach sales. The litigation lasted for 10 years and ended with the Supreme Court ruling Proctor & Gamble must release the Clorox Company.

Since opening its offices in East Oakland, The Clorox Company has served as an important business ally to the community and has played an integral role in the financing of community-based organizations in Oakland and neighboring cities.

In 1971, Clorox formerly crystallized its relationship with the ethnically diverse community of East Oakland by forming the of Social Action.  Designed to meet the challenges that youth face living in an urban society, the of Social Action was the Clorox Company’s “call to action” for the improvement of opportunities for residents of East Oakland.

Working together with a broad spectrum of community members, Clorox management, under the direction of former CEO, Robert B. Shetterly, designed the concept of a youth center. The proposed center would provide coordinated programs in employment and training, , recreation and cultural and social awareness.  As a result of  their collaborative efforts, the East Oakland Youth Development Center was founded in 1973.  The creation of the East Oakland Youth Development Center was in response to the lack of facilities and agencies serving youth from the Oakland area in the face of an increasingly hostile economic and social environment.

For nearly three decades, EOYDC has been regarded as the jewel of Clorox’s Program of Social Action and now is one of the busiest youth centers in the Bay Area.  In 2003, EOYDC culminates 25 years of service in the City of Oakland.  Since opening its doors in the Elmhurst District of East Oakland, the EOYDC has served over 25,000 community residents.

The Clorox Company was recognized by President Reagan in 1986 for its creation of the EOYDC.  Clorox was presented with the President’s Private Sector Award.  Ten years later, EOYDC was selected as the 1996 Outstanding Community Service Organization by the San Francisco Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.  Similarly, the International Diplomacy Council and several other organizations have recognized the EOYDC as a national model for youth organizations.  EOYDC is an enduring symbol of the benefits of collaboration between communities and their corporate neighbors.

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