I was inspired to write this blog post about the charitable acts of some of the companies we will be visiting in Silicon Valley for two main reasons. First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I interned at a startup last summer that focused on nonprofit marketing. There, I saw the effect that charitable giving has on our society. More recently, however, I received an email from DoorDash Founder and CEO, Tony Xu, that motivated me to explore how other West Coast tech companies are doing their part to give back to the communities they serve.
In his email to customers, Xu announced the launch of the “Delivering Good” movement. As part of this initiative, DoorDash pledged to donate one meal to Feeding America for every meal purchased through their platform. Feeding America is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to fighting hunger. Additionally, the company addressed the problem of food waste by introducing Project DASH, a new effort focused on tackling this massive U.S problem by working with partner restaurants. As a customer reading this email, I was happy to see DoorDash is focused on more than just generating revenue.
After conducting some research, I found four key cases of “Giving Back” that will give you all a good sense as to how Silicon Valley tech companies take on philanthropy. The examples include #GivingTuesday on Facebook, Google’s donations to STEM education, Twitch’s Cheers for Kids Program, and LinkedIn For Good.
#GivingTuesday on Facebook
As some of you may know, over the last few years, the Tuesday after Cyber Monday has been dubbed “Giving Tuesday” by the nonprofit world. It provides a great contrast to the spending on material goods and falls right when people are considering their tax write-offs. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, over $274 million was raised in 2017. To help reach that exorbitant number, Facebook teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match $2 million in donations made through Facebook. Additionally, Facebook waved fees on all donations made to nonprofits on #GivingTuesday. With such influence in making this day a success, it was great to see Facebook helped as much as they could.
Google’s donations to STEM education
In recent years, Google has made it a priority to invest in America’s future. By providing money and resources, Google hopes that students are motivated to pursue a career in the STEM fields. In October 2017, Google made a pledge to donate 1 billion dollars to help people land technical jobs. Furthermore, the company created “Grow with Google”, a program designed to give people in the United States access to free technical job training.
Following this same theme, a partnership with Chance the Rapper (seen above) recently went viral. The duo donated over $1.5 million to the Chicago Public Schools System. The money was used to buy computers as well as develop computer science and arts curricula. I think the best part of this charitable act was its lasting impact. The computers can be used for many years to come and the lesson plans will hopefully inspire a large group of students to take an interest in STEM.
Twitch’s Cheers for Kids Program
This past September, Twitch formed a partnership with Extra Life and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to acknowledge Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Cheers for Kids program asked users to use #charity when posting on players’ streams. When used 1000 times, Twitch agreed to donate $2 to these charities, with a maximum donation $200,000. Although this amount of money may seem low compared to other examples, I admire the company’s strategy. Instead of making a lump sum donation and writing a press release, Twitch encouraged users to be a part of the giving and fostered a better sense of community in the process.
LinkedIn For Good
As a powerful job search tool, LinkedIn created a separate department of their business dedicated to giving back. LinkedIn For Good provides resources for refugees and veterans looking to enter the workforce. Blogs such as “How Veterans Can Make the Most of LinkedIn” and custom-tailored tutorials can make a major impact in people’s lives.
For nonprofit organizations, LinkedIn has created content on topics ranging from social fundraising to finding skilled volunteers and board members. As the Operations Manager of The Heights, a nonprofit on BC’s campus, I appreciate the assets LinkedIn provides. While LinkedIn For Good doesn’t involve monetary support, I believe it provides something greater: the opportunity for people to learn and achieve success in their endeavors.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a principle we all learned very early in our CSOM careers. The topic came up time and time again in my Portico class, which allowed me to think deeply about the issue. That said, some of the practices common in the business world concern me. For example, it is bothersome when companies overuse their charitable efforts as marketing material. I think it is important to advertise good deeds and create awareness for a cause. Nevertheless, as with anything in life, it shouldn’t be overdone.
From looking at the examples I have highlighted, we can see how CSR should be achieved. The leaders of these companies understand that their expertise and funds should be combined to help make the world a better place. They also know that charity doesn’t solely consist of writing a meaningless check and moving onto the next task. By making relevant donations and creating innovative programs that engage customers and people around the world, all parties can benefit from giving back!
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Know of any other cool, interesting, or feel-good programs sponsored by any of the companies we are visiting? Share below in the comments!